The herds of wild horses that roam the North Carolina Outer Banks have managed to escape Hurricane Florence unscathed after the storm wreaked havoc on the Carolinas and surrounding areas.
As the storm - responsible for multiple deaths and record levels of flooding throughout parts of North and South Carolina - slowly made its way inland, many feared for the safety of the hundreds of wild horses that call North Carolina's barrier islands home. There was nothing but relief in the area when Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Corolla Wild Horse Fund both confirmed on social media that their equine populations were safe and sound.
Corolla Wild Horse Fund, dedicated to protecting the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs, posted several pictures on Facebook, showing the horses grazing peacefully in a water-soaked field.
The fund's herd manager, Meg Puckett, told The Charlotte Observer that the wild herd found higher ground and grouped together against the wind and rain. People on the island also kept an eye on them.
“So far it’s been business as usual for them, out grazing in all the normal spots,” Puckett said. “The horses are back out at all their usual haunts.”
According to Jo Langone, the chief operating officer of Corolla Wild Horse Fund, wild horses instinctively run for shelter when they sense strong winds or approaching storms and Florence did produce some high winds and rain. Langone told ABC News that the horses took cover in a forested area to protect themselves. She added that once the high winds and rains calmed down, the horses came out from the trees safe and sound.
“Once it alleviated, the horses started coming out and grazing where they normally would,” she said. “They weren’t affected for that long!”
Further South, Cape Hatteras National Seashore also confirmed that their herd of ponies on Ocracoke Island fared well in the storm.
Prior to Hurricane Florence's lashing, Sue Stuska, a wildlife biologist based at Cape Lookout National Seashore, had explained to the Associated Press that the horses could sense weather changes and instinctively knew what to do in a storm. She had added that they were meant to be outside and had thick places to hide out, reassuring people that the animals would be "just fine", and that there was no need to worry about them. She was right!