Namibia: Artwork to Raise Plight of Desert Horses

AN artistic drawing of a galloping horse has been engraved on stone on the plains of Klein-Aus Vista Lodge near the Aus settlement in the //Kharas region in honour of Namibia's century-old population of wild horses.

The future of the wild horses hangs in the balance, as predators continue to prey on their foals.

Gondwana Collection Namibia said in a media statement issued on Monday that the stone art is a team effort by siblings Anni Snyman and PC Janse van Rensburg.

Snyman is an artist who designs original geoglyph drawings, and brings them to life in collaboration with her brother, Van Rensburg, an architect and visual artist.

They created the artwork with a group of volunteers as part of the Site Specific Collective - a land project that brings nature and art together on a large scale.

The duo previously had set in stone earth drawings located in the Karoo of South Africa. The drawings were of a snake eagle at Matjiesfontein, and a riverine rabbit at Loxdon.

The snake eagle was created to bring attention to the proposed fracking in the Karoo, and the riverine rabbit to focus on the plight of the critically endangered rabbit.

The wild horse is the siblings' third earth drawing.

Gondwana said it began as an idea three years ago by Snyman and Van Rensburg.

"It now gallops in stone, a grateful image of rewilding, freedom and, more importantly, hope for Namibia's wild horses which are teetering on the brink," the statement reads.

Since 2012, when a pack of spotted hyenas moved into the area and began preying on the horses, the population has plummeted from 286 to a mere 79 horses.

In 2013 alone, the hyenas killed 100 horses, 50 of them foals. Not one foal has survived over the last five years, making the youngest horse seven years old.

Gondwana said the siblings used old fence droppers to mark out the wild horses, which were replaced with 4 244 rocks from old fence lines to make the image visible from above.

Co-founder of Klein Aus Vista Lodge Piet Swiegers on Tuesday said the earth drawing, duped the stone horses, symbolises the freedom of the wild horses.

He further revealed that the environment and tourism ministry has come up with a management plan aimed at saving the feral horses from extinction. Environment minister Pohamba Shifeta is expected to endorse the plan before the end of this month.

- luqman@namibian.com.na

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