• Wild Horses of Canada

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    It is an interesting question. Should the wild horses be declared a heritage specie as opposed to an invasive specie?  It was originally thought that perhaps they were brought by settlers or armies.  But if they are reintroduced native then they can be considered to be heritage species and should not be slaughtered.  This is the premise of the Canadian Wild Horse Foundation which is urging the government of Canada to declare them a species worth preserving.

    In Western Canada, settlement occurred later so horse populations once numbered in the millions. Also, there is clear evidence of horses until 12,000 years ago with isolated finds indicating there may have been horses closer to 3000-1000 years ago.

    Anecdotal evidence shows that in 1776, herds of mustangs were kept by Assiniboines in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. By 1790, Alberta tribes had acquired mustangs from Shoshoni and under two decades later, there were extensive herds in the Kootenays, estimated at two million in total! Wild herds served as stock for Natives, and escapees often replenished them.

    There are four main herds of horses in Canada today: Sable Island in Nova Scotia, two herds in B.C.’s Brittany Triangle (Chilcotin), and one in the Siffleur Wilderness Area in Alberta. Herds in both B.C. and Alberta have shown evidence of Spanish blood, possibly from the “Spanish mustang trail” that came from Mexico up to the Canadian prairies.

    natural historyModern Horses (Equus caballus) belong to the Perissodactyls, an order that includes tapirs and rhinos. They are “odd-toed” hoofed mammals that walk on modified third toes. The family Equidae (Equids) includes modern horses, zebras, asses and many extinct cousins.


    The ancestor of all equids,Eohippus (aka Hyracotherium), lived in the early Eocene epoch: 54 – 55 million years ago

    • Horse evolution continued through series of genera in N. America, throughout the Eocene epoch:
    One would conclude that yes, the Wild horses of Canada should be considered a heritage specie with some cross breeding from Spanish blood that came from Mexico.
    Thanks to the Canadian Wild Horse Foundation for the idea for this blog.
    Images are available on the internet under Canadian Wild Horses.
    Additional information and tree found on the Canadian Geographic web site.