Wandering wild horses causing concerns for drivers in South Okanagan | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source
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Penticton News

Wandering wild horses causing concerns for drivers in South Okanagan

A motorist was concerned to find a couple of wild horses licking the salt off Highway 97 last week. The photo was taken north of Oliver near the District Wine Village.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED

Wild horses spotted on Highway 97 in the South Okanagan this winter are making many motorists feel uneasy, but the animals have not proven to be a significant factor in collisions.

Collisions with feral horse only account for about one in 5,500 wildlife accidents reported each year to the province, the Ministry of Transportation said an emailed statement.

“While vehicle collisions with feral horses are a concern because they are large animals, those collision numbers are low,” the ministry said.

The ministry is working with First Nations in the South Okanagan to build wildlife exclusion fencing along Highway 97, which have one-way wildlife gates.

This horse was seen grazing beside Bathville Road west of Summerland. While there were no barriers between the snowy pasture and the road, there was a cattleguard nearby to prevent any large animals from wandering into town.
This horse was seen grazing beside Bathville Road west of Summerland. While there were no barriers between the snowy pasture and the road, there was a cattleguard nearby to prevent any large animals from wandering into town.

However, Clarence Louie, Chief of the Osoyoos Indian Band, said he hasn’t heard anything about the province building wildlife fencing.

“But I do see some being built by private orchardists and vineyards,” Chief Louie said.

READ MORE: Future uncertain for wild horses scattered by wildfire near Logan Lake

He hasn’t noticed the horses making their way to Highway 97 more than any other year, although last week some came onto his property for the first time in years, as a cattle guard was so heavily packed with snow that it couldn’t prevent the animals from crossing.

The Penticton Indian Band has also had challenges containing feral horses because of snow-packed cattle guards, according to a media release from the band

Off-road motorists who cut through fences have been making it more difficult to manage horses, the band said.

Some horses, although feral, are owned by members of the band, and band administrators contacts the horses’ owners when complaints are made. However, other wild horses have been turned loose onto the land by non-members.

READ MORE: iN VIDEO: Herd of horses enjoy a gallop through Osoyoos

The band said it is in the process of drafting a bylaw for animal control and range use.

B.C.’s Livestock Act, which includes horses in its the definition of livestock, states that owners must not allow their animals to be at large.


To contact a reporter for this story, email Dan Walton or call 250-488-3065 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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