Wild HorseWatching in the Aveto Natural Park

Once upon a time there was a small group of domestic horses who suddenly were left orphans and their generations adapted themselves to live in the wild..

The Aveto Natural Regional Park is a natural park in the Province of Genoa situated in the inland territory of Tigullio.

In this protected area lives a group of around forty horses borne from descendants of domestic animals who learned to survive in the wild without any human intervention or contact.

Unfortunately their lives are threatened by the intolerance of the rural communities nearby that led to painful episodes of killing and imprisonment. This is the reason why  the conservation project Wild Horse Watching – I Cavalli Selvaggi dell’Aveto was founded in 2012 by two brave and determined women, Paola Marinari and Evelina Isola.

These wild horses are one of a kind in Italy!

A couple of wild horses and Giacopiane lake

I had the chance to meet Paola during an extremely educational guided horse watching excursion she organised across Aveto Park. After an interesting explanation of the origin of the species, the ongoing research and the census carried out of the packs in the park to observe and monitor them, we started walking along the path to reach the lake where it was more probable to see some of the horses.

Our first lucky encounter was a couple of young horses now living separately from their original pack. The behavior of those horses alone or in packs is now of great interest to better understand the equine ethology; many similarity have already been established between the American Mustang and the Mongolian Przewalski.

Walking in the park was amazing and I appreciated its incredible biodiversity: high-mountain landscapes of the ligurian Appennines, grazing lands and large beech tree woods being the wild habitat of a variegated flora, and many animals spices, including the wolf and its natural pray, the roe deer.

During the day an unexpected call suddenly clouded Paola’s enthusiasm and she sadly explained to us that a very cruel episode shocked the peace of the horses the day before: during the night some unidentified individual captured around ten horses and locked them into a crumbling, unsuitable paddock.

It was probably the ignorant act of some of the local people who were bothered by them: during the winter season the horses climb down the hills looking for food, sometimes causing damages to private property.

A few days after I read in the newspapers  that their conditions in captivity had become significantly worse and they looked profoundly depressed and thinner. Only after the intervention of the italian ex -Ministry of Turism was the liberation of the horses allowed by the mayor of Borzonasca.

The founders of this conservation project are now attempting to obtain the official identification of these wild horses as a natural heritage to be preserved and to find the resources to build the fences along the margin of the park to prevent the horses from getting close to the road and the houses.

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12 thoughts on “Wild HorseWatching in the Aveto Natural Park

  1. Wonderful photos! Unfortunately the very same thing has happened here in Australia, we have our Brumby’s who are the decendants of horses that were once domesticated but found their way to freedom. Much the same has happened to them as have happened to these horses, yet again man hasn’t taken responsibility for his mistakes, and the horses are of course the ones who suffer. At least now there are efforts to save them, keep them in special parks, but unfortunately they destroy a lot in their paths, and take food away from our native animals.. Another thing being done is to round up the yearlings to break them in and train them to be used for riding like any other horse. I don’t think either solution is acceptable, I would much prefer them to stay wild, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ciao Emiliy, thank you very much for passing by and leave this comment! It is sad to hear about this situation also in Australia.. This a very difficult project indeed: at the moment here in italy they can stay wild inside the Aveto park but untill they are not recognize as an heritage of the area it will be very difficult to keep them safe. They would die in captivity or if used for riding!

      Liked by 1 person

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