(CNN)When Ralph Turner arrived at his usual swimming spot, Deep Hole, about 12 miles from the remote Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) community in Australia's Northern Territory, he couldn't believe his eyes.
Dozens of wild horses die of thirst in Australia's heat wave
The 330-foot waterhole was dried up and the bodies of dozens of wild horses were strewn along its bed.
"I just couldn't believe it. I'd never seen anything like it. I didn't stop to count but there were lots and lots of them. It was devastating," Turner told CNN. "I just can't stop thinking of how they died, desperate for water in this heat wave. The horses used to be good and strong a couple of years ago."
Rohan Smyth, a media spokesperson for the local Aboriginal community, said the thirsty animals went looking for the water and, having found none, had nowhere to go.
"People in the local community take care of the feral horses. They are very concerned about the local wild animals' welfare," he told CNN.
The Central Land Council (CLC), a body that advocates for Aboriginal people in Central Australia, said in a statement Thursday that it had to euthanize more than 50 more horses near the waterhole because they were close to death.
"Horses and other feral animals are dying of thirst and hunger because many reliable water sources, such as Apwerte Uyerreme, have dried up in the current heatwave and areas overpopulated by feral animals suffer erosion and vegetation loss," the council said in the statement.
The CLC said it was planning to euthanize a further 120 camels, horses and donkeys dying from thirst in another remote community.
Since some residents are opposed to the cull, the council said, it is holding a community meeting with animal welfare officers to address the issue.
"Before a cull it is important to get the informed consent of the traditional owners of the Aboriginal land trusts we support," CLC director David Ross said. <