Science proved the BLM-managed Carter Reservoir Mustangs are Spanish-Iberian horses requiring conservation. CRMI urges support “Stand With The Carters” Petition
PRESS RELEASE: RICHLAND, OREGON, UNITED STATES, January 13, 2022 /EINPresswire.com/ -- The unique Carter Reservoir Mustangs’ home on the range is located in Modoc County in northeast California and northwest Nevada within Washoe County on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land. The herd is managed by California BLM.
Knowing the herd was special and had observable Spanish physical characteristics and coloring (phenotype), the volunteer-driven non-profit, Carter Reservoir Mustangs, Inc. (‘CRMI’) was founded by Darice Massey in 2015 in order to intensively document, photograph, and obtain hair samples to scientifically prove the herd’s ancestral heritage through genotyping. This research forms the basis of CRMI’s mission: to protect and conserve the genetic, cultural, and historic significance of America’s endangered Carter Reservoir Mustang Herd, one of the rarest and most unique mustang herds still living in the wild today. They either directly trace back 500+ years to those horses brought to North America by the early Spanish explorers or their ancestors that escaped the extinction event in N. America about 10,000 years ago and survived as an isolated distinct population segment (a possibility revealed by a brand new study noted later).
Incredibly, 31 out of 31 Carter hair samples that were sequenced using mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) and analyzed by Certagen Labs in Germany conclusively prove the herd is of Spanish-Iberian ancestry based on the maternal side. Certagen stated: "Our finding clearly indicates a Spanish origin of the ancestors of the mustangs living in the Carter Reservoir." 
All of the 31 Carter samples provided to Certagen fall into one of two clusters: 29 samples match Cluster D1, dominated by Iberian and North African horses; and two samples match Cluster D3, most characteristic for Dulmener from Mid and Southern Europe, American Mustang, and Andalusian. Those horses matching either the D1 or D3 clusters trace back to the D Supercluster representing the Iberian Horse population and are verifiably of Iberian descent. Because of these test results, the majority of the Carter Herd may well have the highest percentage of individuals with ancient Spanish-Iberian DNA of any U.S. wild herd tested to date, identifying the Carters as an irreplaceable Heritage Herd and Genetic Resource. Importantly, the D genotype is the oldest of known wild types dating back an estimated 500,000 years ago. [2,3]
The reason for the herd's rarity is that it is quite isolated from intermixing with other wild herds or with domestic stock. The downside of this isolation is the possibility of inbreeding and genetic bottlenecking, which needs close monitoring. The majority of the herd exhibits stunning primitive “super dun factor” phenotype markings: large shoulder capes, bars, and smudges; dorsal stripes; herringbone stripes; ventral stripes; zebra stripes on the hocks and knees; armbands; outlined, dipped, and striped ears; multicolored manes and tails; cobwebbing on the forehead; and face masks on dun body colors that range from light cream to dark honey with black points, light to dark solid reds, together with some grullos (mouse grays). The remaining herd colors are bay, palomino, and chestnut. These solid colors increase the expression of the dominant super dun factor coloration.
Because Darice and the team know the Carter Mustangs probably better than anyone else from hundreds of hours of documentation and over 100,000 photos captured, CRMI can help with planning, protection, and conservation of the herd both on and off the range. A large roundup of the herd is inevitable in the near future by California BLM. In fact, BLM recently announced a bait and trap removal of up to 25 Carters deemed “nuisance” horses by a couple of private property owners and because of road safety concerns.
With seven years worth of detailed records, CRMI can support California BLM with scientific data on which bands and individuals should be removed, which should remain in the wild, and which are good candidates for sanctuary to conserve the ancestral genetic lineage. This knowledge will benefit the continued genetic health and integrity of the herd both on and off the range and will help avoid any of them indirectly going to brutal slaughter in Canada and Mexico.
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Rare Wild Horses in N. California Confirmed To Have Spanish-Iberian Bloodlines
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Wild Horse Ranch Productions
January 13, 2022, 07:12 GMT
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Carter Reservoir Mustangs, Inc.