Spot two-year old mare Alma out on the beach? Leave her at bay.

[Corolla Wild Horse Fund photo]

We’ve been getting a ton of calls about two year old mare Alma. Hopefully this post will help answer some questions and spread the word about what everyone can do to help us ensure she stays safe, healthy, and wild.

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Of particular note, as you can see from the photo Alma has wounds on both sides of her face, probably from being bit. Our vet has been consulted and has advised that they are clean and healing well, and not anything to be too worried about. We will continue to remain in close contact with our vet but there is no reason at this point to be concerned for Alma’s physical well-being.

Earlier this spring, Alma was pushed out of the harem she born into. The stallion (who is most likely her father, but DNA will confirm) became aggressive towards her and would not let her get close to the rest of the mares. Alma is often alone on the beach and to human observers seems lost, which is understandably concerning. It may be difficult to see, but we have to remember that these are wild horses behaving naturally. It’s what eventually happens to each and every young horse, though Alma’s situation is a little unique.

Alma’s family lives in an area with a low population of horses—it’s just them for over a mile. Normally, a mare that’s pushed out of her harem would quickly be scooped up by another stallion but there just aren’t any other harems close by for Alma to assimilate into. The good news is she finally seems to be migrating north, towards more densely populated areas. We are keeping our fingers crossed that she comes across a welcoming group soon.

What we are most concerned about is the fact that Alma seems to be getting increasingly habituated. She’s been approaching and following people, and is getting very close to vehicles. We are asking that all visitors please do everything possible to discourage this behavior if you happen to encounter Alma. Get into your vehicle, wave your arms around to scare her away from you, and definitely do not pet her or give her any positive attention at all. We want Alma to be completely disinterested in humans—afraid of them, even. She is in a very vulnerable position right now, where she is young, impressionable, and unfortunately alone. We want her to be seeking out the company of other horses, not people.

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As we head into another busy turnover weekend, please do us a favor if you are coming to the 4×4 and help us keep Alma wild. Her genes are invaluable to the herd and her removal due to habituation would be a devastating blow. We can’t afford to lose another young horse from the wild. Alma is healthy and in excellent physical shape, she just needs some time to mature and figure out how to be a grownup horse. If we’re going to share space with these horses and expect them to remain wild, we all have to be active participants in their management.

Please give her plenty of space and help us ensure she stays wild and free for the rest of her life.

This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.