Research Uncovers Many Problems
A third research trip to Abaco, in the Bahamas has been completed (Dec. 1996 to July 1997). Some grim statistics resulted: the herd is down to 21 horses.
Based on numbers from the 1992 and 1994-5 trips, the herd should have been over 35 horses by now.
As many as 15 and possibly more horses have been lost since 1992, four horses died from July of 1996 to July of 1997. Completion of a detailed ID program and comparisons with photos from past trips provided this data.
There are probably only three breeding mares left, there is one gelding, four fillies just coming into their first seasons, one mare probably too old t o breed, and 12 stallions.
During the recent trip a stallion died under strange circumstances: no vultures were ever seen on the corpse. The body eventually was burned because it was not being consumed by the usual predators. The horse, not seen alive by Rehor but photographed by John Dam, has been named ELTANIN. The condition of his teeth indicated that he was over 20 years.
One of the mares, SHAULA, died after giving birth. The apparent cause of death was a prolapsed uterus. It has been suggested that she should never have been permitted to become pregnant. Had proper vetrinary assessment been available, her death could have been prevented. She was a member of KOCHAB'S herd. Predators responded naturally to the remains. We are assuming that an orphaned colt, discussed below,was her foal.
From June 1996 to June 1997 two other horses died, only their bones were available for inspection. One is assumed to have been a female because a filly, not yet in season, who would have been a foal at the time of the horse' death, switched from one herd to another. This is believed to have been unusual since she probably would have stayed with her dam until she came into season.
An orphaned colt, whom it is believed was born by SHAULA, was being bottle fed and was doing well until he died from what apparently was a viciously inflicted wound.
The Department of Agricultureof the Government of the Bahamas has been provided with a photo album of all 22 horses (now 21) and detailed reports on the status of the herd.
Many meetings were held with the Department of Agriculture's second top ranking officer in order to keep him aware of the deteriorating situation.
Rapid implementation of measures to preserve the remaining horses have been urged, and the Fund has been assured that progress is being made.
Rehor has brought back to the States two skulls, and a section of lumbar vertebrae from ELTANIN, along with hair samples and a section of hide. It is hoped that a local pathology lab will help with analysis. Unfortunately, the Fund is not big enough to support Rehor in the Bahamas and she has had to return to the US. She cannot continue her research and lobbying efforts until she can return to the Bahamas.