COROLLA, N.C. (WAVY) — A group that advocates and cares for the wild horses on the Outer Banks is urging the public to stay away from them while visiting the area.

“Well, it’s that time of year again when we start begging visitors to the beach to please, please leave the horses alone,” the Corolla Wild Horse Fund (CWHF) says.

Corolla Wild Horse Fund is a nonprofit organization that protects and preserves the refuge and wild horses roaming freely on the northernmost Currituck Outer Banks.

The group says people should stay at least 50 feet away from the horses and do not entice them to their vehicles, basically, “don’t bother them in any way.”

“There’s no need to get out of your truck and trespass across private property to get close to them. Bring a camera with a zoom lens and enjoy them from a distance,” the group continued.

It is illegal to get within 50 feet of the horses, the organization says, and those who do will get a citation if they’re caught.

Getting close to the horses is also dangerous for both the person and the horses. 

“There are so many reasons why it’s important to stay away from them. Last year we lost a yearling colt that was fed a whole apple and choked on it, aspirated, suffered for days, and then died. All because someone thought their one apple wouldn’t hurt.

“Right now we are trying to perform medical treatment in the field to a horse that has a non-critical condition — for now. We are trying to prevent his removal and it takes a lot of time, work, and worry on the part of our staff and vet team.

“We are making progress but this morning he’s been constantly annoyed by people trying to get a closer look at him. How devastating would it be to have to remove him due to habituation after working so hard to keep him wild?

“Please stop and think before you get closer for a picture. You may not think you are doing anything harmful but you are. Give the horses the space and respect they deserve so that they can stay here on the beach, wild and free, for many generations to come.”

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