What's Our Cause?
For more than a century, wild horses have roamed the forests of Great Abaco Island, in The Bahamas. In 1960 there were as many as 200 horses living on the island.
Now, extinction threatens the Abaco Spanish Colonial Horse, which traces its ancestry to Spanish horses that came to the New World with Christopher Columbus. The herd contained the spectacular splash patterns created by the splash white gene, and the horses were bays, roans, pintos. These colours are seen nowhere else in such concentration in the world today.
For more than 20 years, the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society has been fighting to save Abaco's wild horses from extinction.
Despite their best efforts in the race against time, natural disasters, manmade disasters, and bureaucracy have diminished this once thriving wild horse population from 200, to one.
Today, there is only one horse left: a mare named Nunki.
With your help, we can save this unique and historically significant breed from extinction. But time is running out.
• Since we launched our $5,000 fundraising goal in October 2013, the world has rallied to help us! We raised just over $5,800 thanks to the donations of individuals, companies and charitable organizations. THANK YOU! It got us through the process of flying our expert to Abaco t see Nunki, and has covered basic reserve costs since then.
• In February 2014, Brad Ray of Premier Breeding Services in Colorado flew to Abaco. Together, he and our local vet Dr. Derrick Bailey did a sonogram survey of Nunki reproductive system and she has been deemed healthy and a good candidate for egg harvest. Brad Ray will return with additional vet and assistant sometime later this year to collect eggs from Nunki.
• Though not new, we now have permission to mention that Dr. Gus Cothran, a professor in the Department of Integrative Biosciences at Texas A&M University, is working closely with us in identifying potential stallion candidates. He's been studying equine genetics since 1982 and works in the area of parentage testing. He's very involved in the conservation of rare breeds.
• We have one stallion selected already to be a match for Nunki's eggs, to create the next Abaco Spanish Colonial foals. We are searching for up to four more. That brings us to the Plan.
Nunki's eggs will be flown to a lab at Texas A&M, stored, and later fertilized with donor stallion sperm. Those fertilized eggs will be implanted in surrogate mares who will be transported to Abaco to give birth to the next Abaco Spanish Colonial foals, on Abaco soil.
To save the Abaco Spanish Colonial Horse and insure that it will again roam Great Abaco Island in the colourful herds it once did, we need to raise the capital to carry out our plan. The process is expensive and costs many thousands of dollars per embryo—plus, the cost of importing our surrogates so that our foals will be raised in their natural environment, where Abaco Spanish Colonial horses have roamed for hundreds of years. We'll be back with more details about this expense in the near future.
What We Need Right Now
Thanks to you all and your generosity in Oct/Nov 2013, we are 30% on our way to our new $15,000 goal!
The additional $10,000 that we're trying to raise will help us prepare for this massive undertaking:
• Offset costs of returning equine reproduction specialists, as well as their lab equipment, to harvest Nunki's eggs (later this year)
• Offset costs of acquiring a Preserve vehicle. For months now, Milanne Rehor, president/founder of Wild Horses of Abaco, has been transporting 50-lb. bags of feed and other necessities back and forth the 45 minutes to the Preserve on a motor bike! It's a precarious balancing act that sometimes doesn't go well. Milanne just turned 70 and she needs a safe truck or other suitable vehicle to carry shipments of Preserve supplies.
• Offset costs of purchasing new electric fencing materials to replace fencing destroyed by trees and brushfires.
• Pay our two Preserve workers, Avener and Jean, full-time hours once more so that they can work to prepare the Preserve for new horses. For several months they have been only part-time because of our financial situation. They are hard workers supporting families in Bahamas and Haiti with their wages.
Guess what? There is no limit to what YouCaring will receive on behalf of the Wild Horses of Abaco, so even if we hit our goal, don't feel like you should stop giving if you feel moved!
If you feel like you want to be an ongoing support to the Wild Horses of Abaco, consider signing up for a subscription sponsorship. Visit this page on our website to become a subscription donor.
No money? You can still help!
Spread the word. In the worldwide horse-loving community, surely there are some friends or acquaintances who would love to contribute to this cause and say that they helped saved the most endangered breed in the world. Do you have a skill that would be of assistance to our efforts? Are you an artist or artisan who would like to donate a piece of your art? Contact us!
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why didn't you save them sooner?
We tried. Milanne Rehor, founder of the WIld Horses of Abaco Preservation Society, has been at "ground zero" on Great Abaco Island for 20 years, involved daily in the care, protection, and advocacy of the wild horses. Unfortunately, while she has had help by volunteers off and on over the years, the obstacles to success have been many, and the years and disasters have taken their toll on both Milanne and the horses.
Read the entire, tragic history of the horses from 1996 to present, here.
How can you continue the breed without a stallion?
It's true that, tragically, we no longer have an Abaco Spanish Colonial stallion. But we are looking at other Spanish Colonial horse populations in the world, and already have our first stallion candidate selected — his owner is thrilled to be on board with our project! We are searching for up to five stallions to create the genetic diversity we will need to start with. We are working closely with breed experts on choosing the right candidates who will carry complimentary, and comparable, genetics to Nunki.
The procedure you want to do sounds extreme.
It's actually quite a commonplace procedure these days in the world of horse breeding. Fertilizing harvested eggs from a mare with the collected sperm from a stallion, the fertilized egg is placed in a surrogate mare, who then grows, delivers, and raises the foal. In this manner, several offspring can be achieved in a shorter period of time. But, the process is expensive and costs many thousands of dollars per embryo—we'll be back with more details about this plan in the near future.
Why should I give you money?
You don't have to give us money. But if you choose to donate, you will be playing a first-hand role in a heroic attempt at the preservation of an historically significant and unique horse. That's worth something.
Who gets my money?
Your money goes, by means of whichever payment you choose, to our Arkwild, Inc. Paypal account. Arkwild, Inc. is a registered 501 © 3 non-profit organization in the US, registered with the IRS, that allows us to receive funds in the US on behalf of the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society, in the Bahamas. If you are a US citizen, your donations over $50 to Arkwild, Inc. are tax deductible.
From there, 100% of the funds go directly to the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society in The Bahamas to cover our immediate needs and expenses: accommodating reproductive specialists, paying our two staff members to maintain Preserve fence lines and feed and water Nunki daily, and purchasing the feed supplements that Nunki needs to stay healthy while the Preserve is established with suitable grazing areas.
What is Arkwild?
Arkwild, Inc. is a registered 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization in the US, registered with the IRS, that allows us to receive funds in the US on behalf of the Wild Horses of Abaco Preservation Society, in the Bahamas. If you are a US citizen, your donations over $50 to Arkwild, Inc. are tax deductible. Arkwild was founded on April 5, 2004. You can read more about Arkwild and WHOA at www.arkwild.org