Officials in Cedar Island NC say that 28 of the 49 wild horses living on the island were lost after storm surge from Hurricane Dorian 2019.
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As we learn more about Hurricane Dorian’s impact on the Southern Outer Banks, it appears that this storm’s center of circulation passed very close to the island producing a very fast moving storm surge of up to 6-8 feet that overpowered 28 horses that were either very young or elderly.
While these horses are no strangers to storms and tropical systems, and they have learned to adapt to approaching storms by moving to higher ground, this storm unfortunately unleashed a wall of very fast moving water that proved deadly.
Residents of Cedar Island NC say that this particular herd living in the area is like family to them, and if you have ever taken the ferry to Ocracoke Island then it is likely that you encountered this herd grazing on the beach or marshland that is common in the area.
Managers of this herd tell us that this group is not a part of the Corolla or Shackleford Banks herds.
Thankfully, local managers and residents say that they are already working to rebuild the local herd.
Manager Woody Hancock tells us that he has a stallion that is a part of this group and he has plans to reintroduce the stallion back in to the local population, and another man has two stallions that are closely related to this wild herd that has offered to reintroduce back in to the population if needed.
Of the remaining 21 horses, there are now 13 mares and eight geldings.
In years past, Mr. Hancock said that one stallion put back in to this group produced 12 foals so he expects to replenish the herd very quickly.
Outer Banks officials do not believe that any of the Shackleford Banks or Corolla herds were lost during Hurricane Dorian. Additionally, no member of this population was lost during Hurricane Florence in 2018.
Officials with the National Weather Service say that on the morning of Dorian, the wind switched very fast near the island during a rising high tide and that these conditions simply caught less experienced and weaker herd members off-guard.
Hurricane Dorian was a Category 1 storm producing winds of around 90 mph when the center of circulation, or eye wall, passed very close to Cedar Island on the morning of September 6, 2019.
If you are a resident of the local community, we encourage you to use the comment section below to tell us about the local culture and heritage as it relates to the banker ponies that inhabit the barrier islands of the Outer Banks.
Moreover, this article will be updated as we learn more about efforts to rebuild this herd.