ILPH launches appeal to buy reflective collars for New Forest ponies in bid to cut down road deaths

In 1998, the International League For the Protection of Horses I (ILPH) raised £15,000 in a similar appeal for the collars which it believes will help save ponies lives.

Field officer for the ILPH, Dave Guy, said: ” The reason the number of ponies killed in the forest fell from 100 in 1999 to 78 last year must be down to the fact that a lot of them have now been fitted with reflective collars.”

But he said: “The sad news is that more than 50% of the vehicles involved in the reported road traffic accidents with ponies last year were driven by local motorists, so we are asking everybody to please slow down.”

The aim of the appeal is to fit collars, each costing £7, to around 700 of the forest’s 3,800 ponies. Those are the ones which are most vulnerable because they live near the roads.The collars, which are designed to break under strain, have to be refitted each year, although some of the owners still do not like to use them.

Clerk to the Verderers, the body representing the owners, Sue Westwood said: ” The owners rely on donations from the public because, over the past few years, the value of their animals has gone down so much that they feel they can’t pay out any more”.

She said Esso, which has a pipeline across part of the forest, had done a “fair bit” to help the forest.

Send donations to : ILPH, Anne Colvin House, Snetterton, Norfolk, NR16 2LT, mentioning “Buy a Pony a Collar” campaign or visit www.ilph.org