Exmoor stallion traced using DNA testing

  • Nine “unexpected” Exmoor foals have been traced back to stallion, Wilsham Darcy, with the help of DNA testing

    If it wasn’t for the wonders of modern forensic science, Exmoor stallion, Wilsham Darcy’s “day and or night of passion” probably would have gone undetected.

    Stallions and mares had been fenced off on the moor last year as no more new foals had been wanted.

    But when the nine unplanned and “illegitimate” foals appeared in the Warren herd on Exmoor this year, the detection work began in earnest.

    Foals are not allowed to be registered with the Exmoor Pony Society unless they are proved to be pure-bred.

    Tufts of main and tail were taken from each mare and foal and sent away to a specialist laboratory for DNA “fingerprinting” – now commonly used at scenes of crime to detect human criminals.

    The method is said to be 100% accurate in proving parentage. All foals proved to be the progeny of Wilsham Darcy.

    National Park Ranger, Alison Kent, said: “Although we had not planned any more foals this year, it was relief to know that the guilty part was a pure-bred so we were able to register all the foals.

    “The mares obviously found WilshamDarcy as irresistible as Pride and Prejudice’s original Mr Darcy”.

    Exmoor National Park believed Darcy had help from and unwitting accomplice – probably a walker who left the gate open

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