ASSATEAGUE ISLAND, Md. (AP) - The Maryland portion of Assateague Island will not administer birth control for its ponies in 2017.
The Daily Times of Salisbury reports that the purpose behind the decision is to keep the herd balance in a target range of 80 to 100.
Education coordinator for Assateague Island Liz Davis says the goal is to increase the number of foals by minimizing contraception. She says Assateague Island will also monitor and adjust over the years to stay within the 80 to 100 range.
Since 1988, Assateague Island has controlled the population of ponies through dart gun vaccinations that block fertilization. The method seeks to preserve the horses as wild animals.
Assateague coast keeper Kathy Phillips says keeping the pony population balanced is crucial for the area's ecosystem.