Please understand the utter despair after 23 years of the work with Abaco’s Wild Horses: starting with 35 beautiful, healthy horses, they all are gone. Fighting her way back from near death when a prescribed antibiotic wiped out all her gut flora. After after a six and a half month battle, Nunki did not make it. A vet said that if Nunki was in the US she would have been in intensive care. We are out in the middle of a forest.
Nunki was the last horse on the entire planet with her particularly pure genetic lineage.
Dr Gus Cothran of Teas A & M University, who was among the people who analysed our horses’ DNA a few years back, emphasizes jut how important the Abaco genes are, way beyond their value as simply beautiful animals.
” (They were, Nunki is) Old Spanish and this is important because there are not many of (this) type left in the New World or even in Spain. Old Spanish horses from different Caribbean islands would provide the best opportunity to understand the genetic profile of the horses brought to the New World by the Spanish in the 1500s. This horse no longer exists except in remnants in the Americas.
It is important that Old Spanish horse lineages be preserved because they represent a significant element of horse genetic diversity. The Caribbean was the center for this diversity in the New World so horses from this region are the most important.”
Dr. Phillip Sponenberg, DVM, PhD. Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, said “The color of these is unusual. It appears that a single gene for spotting is segregating, and this is a gene distinct from most other horses or breeds. It resembles “splashed white” most closely, which is a rare gene.”
Mare Nunki was the last remaining representative of this genetic diversity.
In a dramatic effort, her living tissue was flown to Texas where her cells have replicated and she awaits cloning. We have government approval, we have enormous pro bono offers. The hold up now is funding bring the `preserve back up to standard so the returning horses will have a clean, safe environment.