The Atlantis Paradise Island Nassau Community Service Award was granted on Feb. 13 to the Wild Horses of Abaco (W.H.O.A.) Preservation Society for their community service on the island. On March 12, W.H.O.A. board members Milanne Rehor (also known as Mimi), Wynsome Ferguson of the Abaco Tourist Office, and David Knowles of the Bahamas National Trust (BNT) met at the BNT office for the presentation of the cheque received from Atlantis.
Rehor expressed that they were happy to receive the award, which came at a very important time. She commended the preservation society’s board members for their tremendous support in assisting with the horse project.
According to the Arkwild.org Web site, the project began in 1992, and although the horses were first called Spanish barbs, they were more appropriately named “Abaco Spanish Colonial Horses.”
The site goes on to say that: “The horses are now down to five. For over seven years, we have been working to bring in an equine reproduction expert. The horses are still fighting for survival, but with no reproduction since Hurricane Floyd, the vet’s opinion is that the remaining horses must be transported to a University in the [United States]fully equipped to aid reproduction. We are so grateful that there can be a long-term solution. But without a local (Bahamas) and international effort to save them, these animals will be lost to us forever.”
Rehor said that that through the community service award, they did receive a grant to fund upgrades and to take on upcoming projects. In order to increase the numbers among the horses, one of the projects will deal with bringing in similar blood, but different DNA to help with in-breeding.
“That’s one of our big projects, and we’re really working hard on it, but it’s not something that happens overnight,” Rehor explained. “It takes a great deal of preparation, but that’s where we’re headed.”
She also mentioned that the W.H.O.A. Preservation Society has a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous, and who is willing to match anything the government gives them.
“You know we are a charity, but we’re closely connected to [Ministry of] Tourism and the Bahamas National Trust,” Rehor said. “This is a community thing that’s why we got a community service award, and we have someone who is willing to back that effort as soon as the government comes on board.”