Poachers are thought to have caused the death of a pony shot dead in the New Forest last week (12 December).
The four-year-old filly was found at the junction of Tethering Drove and Hale Road at Hale near Fordingbridge in the early hours of the morning.
Hampshire Police said the pony had wounds “likely to have been caused by shotgun pellets.”
A member of the public found the pony and reported it to the agister.
The mare was discovered lying dead in a gorse bush with a number of wounds.
In a statement the National Trust, which owns the land where the mare was found, said: “We are saddened to confirm that, on Wednesday 12 December, a New Forest pony was reported dead by the New Forest verderers. As this is now a police matter we are unable to comment further.”
Councillor Edward Heron, who is the deputy chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, reportedly said such incidents are “incredibly rare.”
A spokesman for the Verderers described the shooting as a “distressing incident”.
Tony Hockley from the New Forest Commoners also expressed his shock. “Poaching can be a problem in open access areas but this is an unusual incident to happen here,” he said.
Mr Hockley said this was a one off incident and horses and ponies are safe in the New Forest which is why the death is even more shocking.
Several local businesses in the New Forest have pledged to give a reward for information about the shooting.
The 11-year-old gelding was found dead in his field
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A spokesman from Hampshire Police said: “Anyone with information about this incident should call 101 quoting 44180462950.
The New Forest pony was classed as a minority breed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in 2014 after numbers of breeding females dropped to below 3,000.
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