London, Oct 14: Around 3,000 wild hill ponies in Britain may have to be culled as equine sanctuaries say they are too full already, and after the ponies failed to find owners even at auction prices as low as 10 pounds.
The annual Chagford horse market on Dartmoor last week saw some foals failing to sell for even 10 pounds, the Daily Express reported.
Experts believe that the lack of buyers meant the 3,000-year history of keeping native ponies on the Devon moor is “close to the end”.
With hay prices going up following a wet summer, it is feared farmers no longer have any incentive to run the herds.
An expert said the total Dartmoor hill pony population had dropped from 1,500 to about 850 since 2007.
“I don’t know whether there will be another market. I honestly fear that we are close to the end. This is it,” she was quoted as saying.
A senior official at the Mare and Foal Sanctuary in Devon, said: “Most of the colts will have to be slaughtered. We bought a couple of mares with foals but our sanctuary is now caring for an all-time high of 120 animals. We can’t take any more.”