Back in 1920’s the famous Carnegie family, then-wintering on Cumberland Island off of Georgia’s southeastern coast, brought over a train car full of wild mustangs to live on the island around their towering, 59-room mansion Dungeness.  Just a decade later, coinciding with the Great Depression, the train-baron family left the island for good and Dugeness eventually burned to the ground, leaving only ruins behind.

But the horses remained, scratching and clawing (hoofing?) a living to this day on the 56 square mile island, the herd of 140-170 animals a popular sight for tourists.  But horses are not native to Georgia’s barrier islands, (nor North America at all for that matter) and Cumberland’s salt marshes and scrub forests are not an ideal habitat for them.  Conservationists say they damage the island and hurt its native species by foraging in the marshes and sand dunes, while animal rights activists say they are malnourished and living in inhumane conditions, without sufficient food or water.   

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