The Corolla Wild Horse Fund (CWHF) has enhanced its patrols of North Carolina’s Outer Banks beaches and expanded tourist education outreach after a foal died as a result of consuming human food items.

More than 100 wild horses in the Corolla herd reside on a 7,500-acre sanctuary in the Currituck National Wildlife Refuge. The nonprofit CWHF manages the horses. During the summer months the Outer Banks and the wild horses draw between 50,000 and 60,000 visitors each week, said CWHF Executive Director Karen McCalpin. Local laws protect the animals from harassment and prohibit visitors from feeding the animals.

McCalpin and another volunteer routinely patrol beaches and other areas frequented by tourists to prevent visitors from interacting with the ponies inappropriately. But after the consumption of human food was blamed for the recent death of a wild foal, McCalpin hired four local residents–including three off-duty police officers–to help carry out patrols.

"They do not issue tickets, but do call the sheriff’s department for assistance when it is warranted," McCalpin said.

McCalpin is also requesting that all vacation rental property owners, home owner associations, and rental agents place a poster describing local herd protection regulations in every rental home.