COROLLA, N.C. – A county along North Carolina’s Outer Banks is considering limits on the increasingly popular tours to see wild horses galloping along the beach.

Currituck County commissioners told The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., they are considering a moratorium on new horse tours to protect the animals and respond to complaints from residents.

The Outer Banks are one of the few places where wild horses roam along the beach.

Currently, eight companies with 45 vehicles have county permits to take tourists to see the 100 or so horses that usually travel in small groups.

This is the first year Currituck County has required permits for the companies.

Wild Horse Adventure Tours owner Richard Brown says bookings in 2010 are already at the same level where they peaked last July.