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NPS warns public not to approach wildlife after Shackleford Banks foal is taken from island

The newborn foal that now resides with the Foundation for Shackleford Horses.
National Park Service
NPS Photo
The newborn foal that now resides with the Foundation for Shackleford Horses.

Cape Lookout National Seashore says a young horse most likely won't return to the wild after visitors separated the foal from its natural habitat and herd. PRE's Meredith Radford has more.

At the end of March, a group, visiting Shackleford Banks, were followed by a newborn foal for hours before moving toward their boat to leave the island. When the foal continued to follow them into the water, they lifted it into their boat and departed, thinking this was the right thing to do to prevent the animal from drowning.

Foals follow their mothers instinctively early in their life, and when separated from them, the young horse may follow other horses or even people.

According to a news release, now that the foal has been removed from the seashore, it cannot be returned and will live as a domesticated animal, rather than a wild stallion. The foal is now in the care of the Foundation for Shackleford Horses, and the visitors who removed the animal from Shackleford Banks have been cited.

March was the beginning of foaling season on Shackleford Banks, which is federally protected as part of the Cape Lookout National Seashore. Visitors should not approach closer than 50 feet to any wildlife at the park.

For Public Radio East, I’m Meredith Radford.

Meredith Radford is a News Reporter for Public Radio East. She studied at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving a degree in Journalism and Political Science. Born and raised in Eastern North Carolina, Meredith is excited to cover the area and contribute to the community. When not out reporting, she enjoys hiking, camping and kayaking as well as baking.