Two decades ago the herd of mustangs that roam the low mountain ranges outside Calgary, Alberta in Canada numbered more than 1,000. Currently, the scrappy horses thought to be descendants of work and ranch horses from the early 1900s logging industry, has dwindled to a mere 200. Part of the herd’s demise is due to Alberta’s “horse capture regulation” which allows licensed wranglers to track, rope and transport the mustangs throughout the legal season. It’s no secret that most of the captured mustangs go to slaughter, which nets the mustangers about $300 per horse. But now, according to a report from the Edmonton Sun, the herd is facing an unknown enemy.
Sixteen horses have been shot within the last two years, their carcasses left to decay out in the open. Three were found dead on New Year’s Day. In response, the Wild Horses of Alberta Society is offering a $4,500 reward. Local government officials have stated that poaching of the mustangs is illegal and anyone found guilty will be prosecuted. Of course, first the offender must be caught and the quicker, the better. The fear is that the gene pool of the wild horses will become depleted to the point that the herd will be unable to sustain itself.