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The Assateague Ponies by Ronald R. Keiper

The Assateague Ponies by Ronald R. Keiper

Model Number: 9780870333309

£4.00 GBP

Ponies have lived on Assateague Island for hundreds of years, but only since 1975 have they been studied scientifically.  In 1965 twenty-one ponies were released into the northern portion of Assateague on land within the Assateague Island National Seashore.  There their numbers have risen gradually, and no w the population numbers over one hundred animals.  It is these feral horses, free to roam as they please, to forage for their own food and water, and to live and reproduce as they choose, that Dr. Ronald Keiper, an animal behaviour specialist, has extensively studied.  In this book he presents the fascinating results of his investigations, enhanced by a generous selection of photographs from the vast collection he has assembled over a ten-year period of study.

There is no aspect of the behaviour of these animals, singularly or in bands, that is overlooked, be it the way and the kind of food they eat or how they wander off to die. Particularly unusual are the ways in which the stallion maintains dominance over lesser males in the band. Behaviour patterns described include an array of rituals carried out by the mares having to do with both sexual behaviour and the care and nurturing of the newborn young foal.

Dr. Keiper’s research on the animals and on their feeding habits happily leads to a positive prognosis for these tough little animals.  Furthermore, the ecological balance between the ponies and the island also appears sound, thanks to the careful management practices of the National Park Service.