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National Park Service mules, horses die from lack of water

Seven mules and two horses owned by Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks that were left without water because of a faulty supply system have died, park officials said Friday.

The animals were among 17 pack mules and stock horses owned by the National Park Service that had been kept at a 300-acre fenced winter pasture in the Pixley National Wildlife Refuge, about 45 miles north of Bakersfield in the San Joaquin Valley.

According to park spokeswoman Dana M. Dierkes, the animals died of kidney failure after a water supply system apparently failed. Two other animals, a horse and a mule, have been under the care of a veterinarian and six others appeared to be fine, she said. The animals were discovered Monday.

“This is a tragic loss for us. These animals were part of our team and a vital part of park operations,” Supt. Karen Taylor-Goodrich said in a statement. “We are heartbroken about what happened and will be investigating this incident thoroughly.”


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