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Protect the Horses of the Cumberland Island National Seashore

This petition had 48,429 supporters

Cumberland Island is a National Park and Seashore off the coast of Georgia. Its history is rich, full of mystery and intrigue ever since Spanish explorers first visited in the 1500s. A big part of this history is the renowned “horses of Cumberland Island.” Thought to have first been introduced by the Spanish, then reintroduced by the Carnegie family in the early 1900’s, these horses freely roam the island and are one of the biggest tourist attractions in the region.

The management of these horses has been a source of controversy and passion for almost as long as they’ve been around. Some people think we should have a strict “hands-off” approach, while others believe the horses should be eradicated entirely from the island. Recently, the National Park Service (NPS) Director for Cumberland Island had to rescind statements he’d made about wanting to remove over 160 feral horses to make way for commercial projects. We fear that if some plan is not adopted soon, the horses will be removed permanently.

Nearby islands have adopted public/private collaborative management agreements between local NPS officials and nonprofits. This has enabled them to keep their horses in place, while also limiting the damage they do to wildlife and allowing for commercial growth. We are calling on the National Park Service to agree to allow such a collaborative effort to protect the Cumberland Island horses.

My husband and I know a few things about horses, as we run a nonprofit that utilizes horses for mental health therapy. We understand why the Cumberland Horses are beloved, and we want to make sure they are around for generations to come. But we also understand that there needs to be a realistic management plan. That is why we are calling for a collaborative effort between NPS and non-profits, as similar efforts on other islands have produced such great results.

If we don’t take action, we fear the horses will be eradicated from the island. This would be a loss, not only for their community, but for the nation at large. Please protect these national treasures and support the development of a collaborative management plan for the feral horse herd on the Cumberland Island National Seashore.

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