Future uncertain for wild horses scattered by wildfire near Logan Lake | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Future uncertain for wild horses scattered by wildfire near Logan Lake

Wild stallions near Highland Valley Copper Mine in Logan Lake.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Scott Oliver

Several herds of wild horses live and roam around Logan Lake, and some local residents are concerned about the welfare of the horses following the third worst wildfire season on record in B.C.

Logan Lake resident Scott Oliver has been studying and photographing the horses for years, and has become somewhat of an expert on their herd dynamics, behaviours and roaming patterns.

He said he is looking for a missing herd.

“Every day since we were allowed to return from the evacuation I have been out walking many kilometres looking for them,” he said. “I came across hoof prints that tell a very clear and horrifying tale of terror the large Logan Lake herd suffered as the fire swept through their home. Their tracks led to a gate at the highway.”

READ MORE: Logan Lake residents returning home; evacuation order downgraded to alert

Oliver said he has found the Logan Lake herd but has yet to find a smaller herd he calls The Upper Ski Trail herd.

“I found their hoof prints and stud piles last week so I think they are alright,” he said. “They seem to be establishing a new area that I expected them to end up at even before the fire as it is the only easily accessible water source with good grazing nearby. I won’t give up until I find them and know each one is safe.”

Oliver said he has seen some horses with burnt tails and expects to see other wildfire related injuries.

“Food sources have been affected by fires and there is less water available,” he said. “Predation will be high because there isn’t any cover and the burnt forests are unstable and dangerous.”

Oliver is passionate about protecting the wild horses and wants to raise awareness about them in hopes of finding more protection for the land they roam. He said there are a minimum of ten herds and approximately a couple hundred horses. He has a website where he takes donations to pay for things like veterinary care.

READ MORE: Logan Lake trainer using patience to tame young wild horse rescued after fires

He said he can easily tell one herd from another.

“They are all inbred," he said. "They have been inbred for centuries. Each herd has a very distinctive look. The only time they get some variety is if they happen to steal a mare from a farm or a farmer lets one go."

Oliver said he wants to see the wild horses in the province get protected status.

“No one studies wild horses here and they have no protection,” he said. “In some other provinces wild horses are under government protection and are considered wildlife. Ours are considered livestock. Giving them wildlife status would help remove ignorance and protect their habitat. When we have sensitive creatures to look after it allows us to give bigger protections.”

Oliver said he injured his foot on a burnt tree root but will be back out looking for the horses and checking for injuries as soon as possible.

“These horses are my life,” he said. “I know them and they know me. They have been here for over 200 years and have a huge range. I have heard of hunters and others talking about killing them. I will help however I can.”

He has reached out to some helicopter pilots to see if about getting a view of the horses from the air to help him check on them.

To learn more about what Oliver is doing go to his website here.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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