A wildlife advisory put into place by DriveBC on New Year’s Eve still applies to motorists on Highway 97 between Summerland and Penticton as of Jan. 8.
An update delivered by DriveBC on Friday afternoon (Jan. 7) asked people to watch out for wild horses between Riverside Dr. and Wharf St. for nine kilometres.
The Jan. 7 update is consistent with the update on Dec. 31.
On Friday, the Penticton Indian Band released a statement responding to the ongoing wildlife warnings reported on the highway.
“The Penticton Indian Band has once again been referenced in recent media releases as the owners of the free-roaming horses which have been reported to be along the highway corridors north and south of Penticton,” the statement reads. “To be clear, the Penticton Band are not owners of the horses.”
“The horses are owned by members of the Penticton Band and are the responsibility of the horse owners.”
Free-roaming horses in Penticton have been seen periodically for many years. It’s an issue the Penticton Indian Band acknowledged on Friday as a “contentious and frustrating topic.”
DriveBC’s next update regarding the wild horses on Highway 97 is set to be delivered on Jan. 14 at 4 p.m.
Cattleguards packed with snow have made it difficult to contain animals, said the Penticton Band. Other possible reasons as to why horses have been set loose include fences being cut illegally by people looking to drive off-road vehicles on Band land, the statement added.
“The Penticton Band’s interest remains with keeping everyone (including the horses) safe, however, we can not be held responsible for animals owned by community members.”