For centuries, wild horses have roamed the Danube delta of Romania. Circumstances that range as far back as seven centuries ago have led to the growth of equine numbers on the delta, particularly within the Letea forest, Romania’s oldest natural preserve. In 2011, authorities declared the horses a danger to the protected forest and deemed shooting them or shipping them off to slaughterhouses the only solution.
Catching wind of the ensuing brutality, FOUR PAWS International came to defend and rescue these wild horses. Working with the Romanian government, the animal advocacy group implemented a birth control program for the horses that provided a long-term solution for population control.
A decade later, the program remains successful, and FOUR PAWS still patrols the delta, saving horses from the hunters that would see them slaughtered for cash. And one tale of rescue reveals these horses are grateful for the help.
Captured in Chains
During one of their runs in Letea, a FOUR PAWS crew encountered a wild horse with her front legs captured in chains and struggling to run. Sadly, it’s not something unusual for them to find.
As FOUR PAWS explained, “It’s a common practice in many parts of Romania to join the front or hind legs of horses with chains. This hinders them from running away.”
When FOUR PAWS’ veterinarian Dr. Ovidiu Rosu saw the horse, he “had to release it from its misery.”
After tranquilizing the horse for its safety and that of the crew, Dr. Rosu covered the horse’s eyes as this is one way to keep horses calm, whether domestic or wild. And with the horse resting easily, Dr. Rosu took pliers to the chains and released the horse’s trapped legs. Already the chain had cut into the horse’s ankles, but now she was free again, and the sores would heal.
As Dr. Rosu worked, some of the chained horse’s herd remained close, watching the doctor work. They were concerned for their herd mate, but they knew these people were here to help, not hurt.
When Rosu finished, those grateful friends came forward to say thanks, with one even bestowing the vet with a horsey kiss.
Once the sedative began to wear away, the crew helped the horse onto her feet and watched as she took her first steps back into freedom.
Watch the whole touching scene below.
Feature Image: FOUR PAWS International/YouTube