July 14, 2021
Chincoteague Ponies

By Linda Cicoira

A three-month old orphaned foal from Maryland herd of wild ponies was relocated Monday to the Virginia portion of Assateague after her mother died.

The deceased mare, Moonshadow, was found by a National Park Service employee in the Oceanside Campground, at Assateague Island National Seashore, on July 6. It is believed that her injuries were due to a low-speed hit-and-run automobile accident along Bayberry Drive.

The foal was also likely involved in the same accident, a park official said. Although the foal was left slightly lame from the accident, she has been observed grazing and is apparently in good health. Given her young age, the foal is at a significant disadvantage with the death of the mare.

Foals generally nurse more than three months, and are still learning to graze as well as how to integrate socially into herd, a park official stated. The vets and wildlife experts suggested the foal be moved to Virginia to improve her chances of survival.

The Virginia herd is managed by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company. The foal will receive immediate supplemental care if needed before being introduced into the herd at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. The Virginia site is the ideal for relocation since the environmental conditions and grazing habitats are nearly identical between the two sites.

Visitors are reminded to slow down and always drive with caution along Assateague’s roadways. Be on the lookout for pedestrians, bicycles, horses, and other wildlife when visiting the National Seashore. Any road accident within the park, especially those involving other visitors or wildlife, should be reported to law enforcement rangers at the Ranger Station.


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