Wild HorsesThere are estimated to be between 800 and 1,000 wild or free-roaming horses in the Chilcotin. As many as 42% of these can be found within the ?Elegesi Qayus Wild Horse Preserve declared by the Xeni Gwet'in First Nations Government in 2002. The core Brittany Triangle area, lying between the Chilko and Taseko Rivers, contains about 200 truly wild, genetically distinct horses. The latter have experienced dramatic environmental and fire related environmental changes over the past ten years, yet continue to thrive and maintain their numbers, thus demonstrating considerable biological resiliency.
The Brittany and Nemiah Valley horses have achieved iconic status and have become the focus of intense global interest because of speculation as to their genetic and historic origins. They are the subjects of ongoing genetic analysis and cultural and ecological research by FONV, independent researchers, and graduate students. That research will be found on this web-site as it becomes available.
Since the wild horse preserve declaration, they have been protected by a Xeni Gwet'in Wild Horse Ranger funded by FONV. In 2007 the Supreme Court of B.C. found that the Tsilhqot'in people had an aboriginal right to manage them for their own use.
The province of British Columbia still refuses to recognize them as a species with a right to remain on the land, even though historical evidence is clear that they long preceded European settlement. FONV will continue to argue for their recognition as legitimate wildlife.