COROLLA, N.C. - Wild Spanish Mustangs were brought to the New World by Spanish Explorers in the 1500s. They have called the Northern Outer Banks near Corolla and Carova home for 500 years.
"There is nowhere else like it in the world to see these horses," said Meg Puckett, Herd Manager with the Corolla Wild Horse Fund. "It is an incredibly special amazing experience, and we want people to come and see it."
The wild Spanish mustangs are nothing short of breathtaking.
"There are a little less than 100 in the herd, and they have 7,500 acres to roam," said Puckett.
Puckett says the free-range horses, although beautiful, are threatened.
"It is really important people don't feed the horses. They have a very specialized diet, and they are sensitive to what they eat and cannot vomit to feel better," explained Puckett.
A picture captured about a week ago when the Outer Banks reopened for visitors showed a beachgoer feeding two wild horses.
"An apple, a carrot, a treat can absolutely kill them and it also habituates them to people, so it makes them not afraid of people. It encourages them to seek people out for food," Puckett said.
She says it's also illegal to feed them or come within 50 feet of the animals. Puckett say it can result in a $500 fine from the Currituck County Sheriff's Office.
"The deputies have a 'no-tolerance' policy," said Puckett. "Same reason why you wouldn't pet a bear in your backyard is why you should not pet a horse."
She asks visitors to be respectful and mindful of these North Carolina treasures when they visit this summer.
"If people aren't respectful and don't follow the rules, it's not going to last," Puckett said.