The wild horses in the central North Island, near the Kaimanawa Mountains, were first noticed in 1876. They are probably descended from horses that escaped or were released from farms or the army. Since 1993 the Department of Conservation has run annual surveys and culls so the herd is kept at no more than 500, to ensure endangered plants in the area are not killed by overgrazing. The cull horses may be bought or are sent to slaughter. The United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization lists Kaimanawa horses as a herd of special genetic value that can be compared with other groups of feral horses elsewhere in the world.
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New Zealand Herald
Photograph by Sarah Ivey
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