Delft Island horses WE

Species: Equus caballus

Subspecies/Breed/Type/Common names: Delft type

Country: Sri Lanka

Region/Province/Range: Delft Island

Population type: Feral

Estimated Population size: about 450 horses (2014)

Management Authority:  

Management Practices: Drinking water is often provided to the horses in the drier months

Details of Population

The roughly oval-shaped Delft Island is approximately 49,5 km² with close to 4034 hectares.(8kms long by about 6km wide at the widest point.) The island is characteristic of semi-arid tropical island landscape, dominated by palm trees, grasses and shrubs. The mean annual rainfall lies between 500-700mm, with seasonal peaks in April and November.

Structure and demographics

No in depth studies are known to this date

Issues worth noting and needed actions

The Delft ponies are threatened due to overgrazing by the large population of cattle.

In the drier months horses are noted to starve and lack water. Talks of a Wild horse Sanctuary were under-way in 2013 which would protect the horses in an area of approximately 530 hectares,  but no advances have been made to date.

Bibliography and Further reading

Sustainable Development of Delft Island: An ecological, socio-economic and archaeological assessment Occasional Papers of IUCN Sri Lanka No. 1. (2013


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