Whitehorse Daily Star

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Environment Minister Nils Clarke

Residents demand that YG protect wild horses

Environment Minister Nils Clarke might have had a busy morning on email today.

By T.S. Giilck on November 14, 2023

Environment Minister Nils Clarke might have had a busy morning on email today.

The situation with the wild horses near the Takhini River Bridge escalated over the long weekend with fans of the animals committing to flood Clarke with emails asking for the horses to be protected.

That came after Aud Fischer, who operates a Facebook page devoted to the horses, speculated that she has photographic and visual proof of at least two of the horses having been shot.

Two mature horses, the parents of a yearling and a four-month-old colt, were found dead.

On social media, Fischer posted a photo of the shoulder blade of the dead mare with a round hole punched through it.

She said also also has visual proof that the yearling had suffered a bullet wound as well.

The Star has been unable to contact Fischer directly in recent days.

That yearling, named Bolt, will likely need to be euthanized, she said on Facebook.

The two youngsters have now been adopted by a young stallion and mare.

Under Yukon legislation, the wild horses are not considered wildlife, and have none of the protections normally offered by the government.

Instead, they are considered feral and invasive, despite having a history of living in the Yukon for approximately 100 years.

That puts them under the purview of the government’s animal protection branch, which is in the throes of a transition implementing new legislation.

That leaves the horses largely unprotected.

Fischer’s speculations on the horses being shot predictably sparked outrage amongst the page’s followers.

Donna Vogel wrote, “I am shocked to hear these horses have been shot. I can’t comprehend why someone would do that to such a beautiful animal.

“My heart aches. I pray that the Pippin and Bolt survive. I hope and pray the other missing horses are found safe.”

That led to a form letter being posted with people being encouraged to write Clarke demanding something be done.

The Facebook page has approximately 8,800 followers, so Clarke could well be inundated by the letters.

The letter begins as follows:

Dear Nils Clarke,

“I am writing to implore you to declare Yukon wild (feral) horses a Yukon heritage animal, an animal with special wildlife designation, and finally give them legal protection from harm, harassment, capture, and death.

“I am aware that the government currently considers them feral, that removing them lethally from the land is legal and that at the moment they have no protections at all.

“Recently, wild horses have been going missing in the Ibex Valley and in the last week, two adult horses were found deceased. The five- year-old mare and seven-year-old stallion had been shot, their yearling injured (also shot) and their four-month-old foal orphaned.

“Both young horses are suffering intensely and will most likely not survive the winter. It is hard to believe that such cruelty is allowed in the Yukon, especially to these much loved, sentient creatures.”

The letter concludes, “When finalizing the new Animal Protection and Control Act, please include our wildies and finally give them the protections they need.”

See more on this issue in Wednesday’s Star.

Comments (3)

Up 2 Down 2

Dave on Dec 14, 2023 at 3:16 pm

There is nothing special about these horses. Sure they are pretty, but so are most horses. They have 0 historical significance unless you think people abandoning useless horses once their owner died in th 90's contributed to society. People get ounished for that now. They are a different animal that lived here historically and the historic horses went extinct so there clearly was a problem. They compete with or harass animals that contribute to society, both domestic and wild, and the government needs to get rid of them before these niave people get them protected.

Up 5 Down 8

Lynn Farkas on Nov 14, 2023 at 7:41 pm

It would be a real shame to erase the history of these beautiful animals in the Yukon. Please protect them !

Up 4 Down 6

Moose101 on Nov 14, 2023 at 7:00 pm

I’ll try and post again find out who shot them and post there name or something on Facebook so we can figure out who did it.

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