sábado, 10 de octubre de 2015

Namibia. Wild herds of horses in the Namib Desert.

Wild herds of horses in the Namib Desert.
During the next few years, the population growth is anticipated to be slow at 5 -10 horses per years, primanly due to the current small number of breeding mares and the high mortality of foals ( approximately 40% ). This high mortality rate is due to foals geeting  left behind or lost; if long distances are covered on a regular basis. They can get over tired and weak, in which case they become a relatively easy pray for leopard, cheetah and hyena. Increased traffic has also resulted in motor vehicle accidents involving feral horse. Other mortality factors are fatal injuries, malnutrition during  excessively dry periods, and complications at foaling.

The Garup feral horse population is divided into breeding and bachelor group. A breeding group consists of one or more stallion/s  with one or more mare/s  and their offspring.
Stallions not associated with mares are referrend to as a bachelor stallions and live on their own or in temporary groups. The groups often change as stallions get injured, old or weak and  are no longer able to defend their places in a group.

The horses do not follow a specific routine in their daily activities; They eat and sleep in bouts during the day  and night, and visit the water trough at a frequency that depends primarily on the temperatura and the availability of food.

The horses main diet consists of Eragrostis nindensis, a perennial grass that grown average height of 2-5 cm in dry periods, as well as Stipagrostis species and a few shrubs. In hot weather ( above 30 degrees celsius) they drink on average every 30 hours, but in  cold temperaturas (below 22 degree celsius) they only drink on average every 72 hours. This would explain the frequent absence of horses from the trough.

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