There are fears the record muster of wild horses from the Kaimanawa Ranges this year could mean some have to be killed if homes can't be found.
The Department of Conservation (DoC) announced it'll muster 300 next month to protect the fragile ecosystems around the Desert Road and maintain the health of the heritage horses. It's the largest number to be killed or adopted since 1997.
However, the horses can be adopted up until April 1.
Kaimanawa Heritage Horses co-founder Marilyn Jenks told Wendyl Nissen that available horses range from young foals to stallions.
“The horses are wild, yes – but they’re only scared,” she said.
The not-for-profit helps find homes for the Kaimanawa horses, which includes ensuring the horses go to suitable homes.
Ms Jenks explained that the good conditions in the Kaimanawa Ranges have allowed the horses to breed well, which inevitably has to a larger population than previous years.
But if the horses don’t find homes by April 1, they will be put to slaughter.
“And that’s absolutely tragic – not only for the horses but I think for New Zealand too,” she told RadioLIVE.
The muster is held every two years by DoC as part of an agreement to manage the herd within the Waiouru Military Training area.
Listen to the full interview with Marilyn Jenks above.
The Long Lunch with Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.