MURCHISON, Texas—The wild Assateague Island horse who was removed from the Maryland tourist attraction by the National Park Service last month, is settling in seamlessly at Black Beauty Ranch, part of the Humane Society of the United States. The 13-year-old horse named Delegate’s Pride—also known as Chip—is currently acclimating to his own four-acre pasture. Once he clears the mandatory quarantine for new sanctuary residents, he will move to a 1,000-acre pasture and join hundreds of other equines living their happily-ever-after at Black Beauty.
Noelle Almrud, senior director of Black Beauty Ranch, said: “When Chip arrived, he calmly walked off the trailer with the ease of an experienced world traveler. He dropped his head and started grazing to his heart’s content. He meanders around and when his caregivers check on him or when he sees other horses in surrounding pastures—like Dino and Durango—he takes a quick look and then goes right back to tasting every blade of grass. He appears lean and fit and we are carefully examining him to make sure he is healthy, including that he has no damage from eating inappropriate human snacks constantly available from Assateague visitors. Chip seems happy, alert and very responsive, and we are honored to provide for him everything he needs for the rest of his life.”
Chip is not the first resident at Black Beauty who came from Assateague. In 2011, Fabio—now a sanctuary senior at 29 years old—arrived under similar circumstances. Fabio had also learned to associate people with food rewards. The result is dangerous to the animal and the public.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “Chip had to be removed from his home in the wild, through no fault of his own. He had become conditioned by tourists to come too close to people for food, which created a dangerous situation. This should have never happened. When people entice wild animals, like Chip, with treats, they are endangering their well-being and disrespecting their wild nature. That’s why it’s so important to properly store garbage and always keep your distance from wild animals. We are so glad to be able to offer Chip a safe home at our sanctuary, and yet it is a bittersweet arrival, since he never should have had to leave his wild home in the first place. People need to respect and appreciate wild animals so that we can safely co-exist with them and ensure that they thrive.”
There are nearly 800 animals living at the 1,400-acre sanctuary. In addition to the 400 equine residents, there are 40 other species including tigers, bears, primates, bison, kangaroos, exotic hoof stock, farm animals and more. These animals were rescued from testing laboratories, the exotic pet trade, roadside zoos and other circumstances of neglect and cruelty.
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- Rodi Rosensweig