Final Report for 1998

This is the whole report, containing all the activities of the AWHF through July of ‘98.

The Problem / Project

In 1992 the wild horse herd of Spanish Barbs on Abaco Island in the Bahamas had grown to 30 head (approx) after a low of three in the 60’s.

By February, 1998, the herd was down to 17. (Fifteen + horses lost since 1992). In spring of 1998 one foal lost (never seen, mare simply was no longer pregnant), one foal carried to term, now four and a half months old (filly)has brought the herd up to 18. A third mare was reported by eyewitnesses (not seen by me) to have had a foal July 3. The foal disappeared shortly thereafter, though it was seen up and on its feet.

Abnormal mortality appears to be caused by:

•Dog predation by both feral and nominally domestic dogs 2 foals lost in ‘98, presumably to dogs.
•Inappropriate human activities:
•One set of horse bones over a pig trap
•Bad fences
-barbed wire
-sharp stakes and branches, wire, etc.
•No veterinary care available (this is being solved)
•In June of ‘97 an orphan foal was killed by person(s) unknown in the pen where he was being sheltered.
•Refusal of local farm population to spay/neuter, register or control local dogs
Conjectured activities:
•Poison (one corpse was never approached by either dogs or vultures)

Meetings held / attended

-Central Abaco Council (Local Government) - introduction to issues
•Dog Problems
•Horse problems
•Site visit, see Ministry of Tourism, below

-North Abaco Council
•Dog Problems
•Horse problems
•Need for Preserve (met in March, they sent letter to Nassau in April, no reply yet)

-AARK (Abaco Animals Require Kindness)
•Attended general meetings
•Will do pro bono web site when get computers working again

-Farm management - periodic
•Explaining problems (got approval for paddock)
•Offering solutions
•Explaining needs (getting approval to work for dog solution)
•Updates on my activities

-Jerry Roberts (1), Bruce Barth(3), Treasure Cay, cooperation with TC regarding dogs, loaned one dog trap, site visit by Mr. Barth and friends

-Have spoken on phone with Simeon Pinder, in Ministry of Agriculture, and Eric Carey, head of Dept. of Conservation, to provide updates on how critical the situation has become. Also sent faxes to same. No replies to date.

-HSUS & Pegasus Foundation
•organized and implemented meeting with HSUS, Pegasus Foundation, AARK, Ministry of Tourism and others to make all aware of dog problems in general and horse problems specifically. Results: HSUS is working to continue grants for AWHF and AARK

-Site visit by Marc Paulhus, HSUS, horses 99% certain Spanish Barbs

-Ministry of Tourism
•Field trip to see site, problems, first hand. Five abandoned puppies rescued, died of worm infestation, no vet available over weekend. (These are noted under DOGS on page 3)

-Met with two US entomologists here on vacation to discuss possible pesticide problems. Their conclusion was that this is probably negligible at this time.

-Met with local Boy / Girl Scout commissioners to discuss joint venture on preserve efforts

-Met with Nassau Boy / Girl Scout commissioner to discuss joint venture on preserve efforts

-Met with “Father Stan,” local Catholic priest who works with the Haitian community on the farm, to urge his support of horse / dog efforts. Also told him I was available as a resource and to help with building fences, etc. He was sympathetic and supportive and these issues were included in his following ser mon. He said he does mention responsible concern for animals often as lack of this is a fairly wide spread problem.

-Met with Nick Miaoulis, owner of Bahama Neem plantation, who has agreed to donate seedlings for paddock at appropriate time.

-Several meetings with local woman who will be willing to check the horses on a weekly basis while I am back in the US.

-Have met with a veterinarianwho plans to come to Marsh Harbour full time in Sept. He is willing to help with weekly farm checks (gratis) and will also be available in case of medical emergency.

-Met with Robert Sweeting, Member of Parliament for South Abaco. He will hand deliver letter and informa tion to The Hon. Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Bahamas, and Member of Parliament for North Abaco. Delivered 7/20/98, reply pending.

Public Addresses

-Two eighth grade classes @ Forest Heights Academy
-All Abaco Church Council
-Ministers and Reverends invited by Ministry of Tourism
-One Boy Scout pack
-One preschool group
-Rotary Club

Horses - Farm

-Two to three trips to the farm per week; “Bed check”
-Located and trained volunteer to continue this while I am gone. She will report to me monthly.
-Continued collection of skulls and lumbar vertebrae, inspection of remains from last summer
-Investigated four more sets of remains, three from period Aug. ‘97-Jan. ‘98.
-Continuing video taping of activities of horses, seven hours of video so far, see projects below for intended uses
-Voice taping of notes and observations, need to transcribe and put in data base
-Still trying to find out to what ‘treat’ horses will respond for Paddock Project. So far only ripe bananas have elicited any response.
-Had two vets come up to observe the remaining pregnant mare.
-Have marked 60-75% of the horses’ forest trails
-Have marked and noted location of over 12 water holes so far
-Have noted types of chemicals in use on farm
-Did aerial survey in search of “mystery herd,” which doesn’t appear to exist.
-DOGS: On going campaign has resulted in:
•Spaying 2 out of 12 semi-feral farm dogs
•Twenty puppies collected, five died of exposure, nine were adopted, six euthanized because in bad condition.

-Do DNA testing, start stud book, genealogies
-Get satellite-radio beeper on each horse, aid in tracking and improved safety
-Continue to publicize need to stop random burning of forest
-Begin work to improve, strengthen and enforce legislation to protect the horses and their habitat
-Edit video tape into a salable tape to raise funds, pull stills for ID’s, postcards, illustrations for website and book, video clips for website, etc.
-Work on material for a commercial CD to be produced by AWHF
-Upgrade and reprint book on horses
-Have at least one large fund raising event next winter, to involve the entire community
-Create flyers, handouts, and curriculum materials
-Address more schools on a regular basis - teachers are ready for a regular program
-Continue to pursue 501 (c) (3) status, have located a pro bono CPA who will work with me and a pro bono attorney to prepare this.

The horses remain in a terribly tenuous position. The herd remains in danger of being obliterated, literally overnight, without continued strong efforts to protect them and to educate the public about why and how they should be preserved. The horses are parasite free and live in the midst of an equine paradise. The only, repeat only, threat to their survival comes from inappropriate human intervention.


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