eye on the storm

Wild horse herd on NC island survives Hurricane Florence, officials finally confirm

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The last group of wild horses that had not been checked on the North Carolina barrier islands has made it through Hurricane Florence, officials said this weekend.

The Cape Hatteras National Seashore said two weeks ago that all of the ponies in a herd on Ocracoke Island were safe. Even their pony pen stood undamaged.

A similar sight was seen at the same time about 100 miles north of Ocracoke in the towns of Carova and Corolla.

But, the Cape Lookout National Seashore said that it would provide an update on a herd of horses at a southern location – Shackleford Banks – just as soon as staff could return to do assessments.

The Shackleford Banks — just across from Beaufort and Harkers Island — are much closer to where Hurricane Florence made landfall and many people were worried about the horses.

However, Saturday, the National Park Service said “initial reports are very positive — the herd survived the hurricane.”

Park officials said that the exact count was not complete and would take some time at Shackleford Banks.

Further north, the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, a group devoted to protecting and managing the herd of wild Colonial Spanish Mustangs, posted a message on its Facebook page saying the horses were “doing their normal thing – grazing, socializing, and wondering what us crazy humans are all worked up over.”

Early Florence forecasts showed the storm potentially making a more direct hit on the northern Outer Banks, which had many people worried about how the horses would fare.

But wildlife experts had said there was no need to worry.

— WAVY-TV and The Associated Press contributed to this report

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