Assateague Island Installs New Picnic Tables To Help Keep Human - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Assateague Island Installs New Picnic Tables To Help Keep Human Food Away from Horses

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ASSATEAGUE, Md.- Assateague Island is switching picnic tables to keep the horses safer. The park is in the process of building 222 customized tables with storage, to prevent horses from eating human food.

"This is a multipurpose project," says Nancy Gaither, with the MD Assateague Island Alliance. The organization obtained a matching $50,000 grant from The Maryland Heritage Area Authority to build the tables that were designed by one of the park's staff members.

Gaither explains that, even though some visitors might not think horses eating human food is a problem, it could have deadly consequences.

"As soon as you introduce something in their diet that's not normal, it can cause colic, sometimes colic can twist their intestines and that can be fatal," she says. "Two years ago we had a horse that died because she ate dog food. That's why keeping the food away from the horses is so important."

The tables have a secure space under them to store food and other objects. The doors are flat to prevent horses from opening them. Liz Davis, the chief of interpretation and education at Assateague Island National Seashore, says the new tables will replace all current picnic tables in the park.

"We really hope it'll be a serious behavior change for both human and horses," says Davis.


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