Last wild horses in Africa
The Namib wild horses are arguably the only herd of feral horses left in Africa. The history of Namib Desert Feral Horses is quite unique and incredible. It is already a long time that the Animantia professionals disclose a documentary that presents their peculiar story.
One plausible theory relates to the German occupation of South West Africa a large number of horses were needed for the cavalry and an eccentric German nobleman, Baron Hans-Heinrich von Wolf, set up a horse breeding station at his outlandish castle, Duwisib, on the edge of the desert. Once Baron went off to the first world war in Europe nobody looked after the stable of more than 300 horses. Following his death, herds of his horses ran wild, roaming the veldt around Duwisib until 1950. It is possible that some of them wandered the 150 kilometers south- westward to the water at Garub.
It is likely, too, that some of the feral horses originated from the Schutztruppe mounts, as well as from the those belonging to a South African Expeditionary Force that took control of the Lüderitz- Keetmanshoop line during the First World War.
The conservation of the feral horses in the Namib-Naukluft Park has aroused controversy. Some people argue that the horses are of historical and scientific value and that they should not be removed. Many others think the horses, as non-native species, compete with the indigenous wildlife (mainly gemsbok, springbok and ostriches) for the sparse vegetation. In fact, there is little to no evidence of competition between the horses and the game animals, and the horses occasionally graze within a few meters of gemsbok and springbok without any apparent interaction. Gemsbok move away from the waterhole when horses approach and vice versa, but sometimes both species drink at the same time. Being relatively independent of water, the indigenous wildlife range over far greater territories than the horses do, so the presence of the horses has probably no significant bearing on the numbers of game in the park.
The Namib feral horses are unique in the sense that they have been isolated for a number of generations. Their hardiness in the face of extremely harsh climatic conditions is extraordinary, as is the fact that they have been able to circumvent the vital problem of food and water availability by adapting their behavior and their allocation of time. For these reasons, if for no other, they deserve our wonder and admiration!