T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Horses (Feral) .

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Perissodactyla
Family: Equidae
Genus: Equus
Species: E. ferus
Subspecies: E. f. caballus
Trinomial name: Equus ferus caballus
Common name: Kaimanawas, Kaimanawa horses.

A Kaimanawa horse is a free-roaming (feral) horse of domesticated ancestry. There are two wild populations in New Zealand, one is in the Kaimanawa area in the centre of the North Island and on the Aupouri Peninsula at the northern tip of the North Island
Feral horses were first reported in the Kaimanawa Range in 1876. They were horses that had escaped or were released from sheep stations and cavalry units at Waiouru. In the past members of this herd use to be recaptured by locals for use as riding horses, as well as being caught for their meat, hair and hides. The herd declined as large-scale farming and forestry operations encroached on their ranges, and only around 174 horses were known to exist by 1979. The Kaimanawa herd was protected by the New Zealand government in 1981, and there were 1,576 horses in the herd by 1994. The Department of Conservation has since 1993 carried out annual culls and muster of Kaimanawas to keep the herd population around a target level of 300 horses. These horses are either taken directly to slaughter or are placed at holding farms for later slaughter or adoption by private homes. A main reason for the strict population control is to protect the habitat in which they live. This habitat includes 16 plant species listed as endangered, which the Kaimanawa may endanger further through trampling and overgrazing. These plants include herbs, grasses, sedges, flowers and mistletoes; among these are Deschampsia caespitosa (a very rare tussock grass), Peraxilla tetrapetala (a vulnerable mistletoe) and Libertia peregrinans (a possibly locally extinct sand iris).

There is also a small population of about 300 wild horses on the Aupouri Peninsula at the northern tip of the North Island, which is mostly unmanaged by the New Zealand government. They live in the Aupouri Forest, officially named Te Hiku Forest which is a 29,000-hectare pine plantation. They are often seen wandering up and down the 90 Mile Beach. These horses originally escaped from farms and have since bred amongst themselves to form their own individual breed. They are mostly unmanaged by the New Zealand government.

Wild horses at Spirits Bay, North, NewZealand.

Distribution map of the feral horses. (Red area)

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/