35 horses rescued from Orange River flooding

Some of the wild horses stranded by rising floodwaters on an island in the Orange River mouth on February 2 2022.
Image: National Sea Rescue Institute

Horses trapped on islands in the flooded Orange River near Alexander Bay were rescued on Wednesday in an “intense” mission.

Hugo Foot‚ NSRI Port Nolloth station commander‚ said they assisted the organisations Have a Heart and Network for Animals to save the horses. Four Namibians launched their two private boats to help from their side of the river.

“The wild horses had been trapped on small islands in rising waters and some of the horses were reported to be tethered‚” he said.

“The horses were scattered in groups across a number of smaller islands that they had sought shelter on. As the islands were flooded‚ the horses were forced to swim to the next island‚ causing them to be scattered over a large area.

“In an intense operation the horses were corralled and walked through chest-deep water and at places swum through water to reach larger islands.

“We went from island to island until all of the horses were safe.”

In total 35 horses‚ including three foals‚ were helped to safety.

On January 27‚ the NSRI Port Nolloth duty crew also helped an owner of tethered horses trapped on an island in the same area after the river swelled from heavy rainfall. The team waded the horses through the fast-flowing water‚ between 1 metre and 1.5 metres deep.

In this week’s rescue‚ Network for Animals said the horses were wild‚ after escaping suspected abuse by humans‚ which compounded the difficulty of the rescue.

“Heartbreakingly‚ the horses are so petrified of humans that they kept trying to get away. It took a huge and exhausting effort‚ but we finally managed to get them to a safe island with enough grazing and fresh water to wait out the flood‚” the group said in a statement.

The animals will require special food and supplements to regain their strength‚ it added.

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Source: ARENA Holdings.

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