wild horses

Kamila Kudelska

The sun was just rising as a group of people struggled out of their cars and start getting their things put together. We are about 35 miles northwest of Worland in the badlands.

Reducing the number of wild horses and burros on Western public lands could take 15 years and cost $5 billion, the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management told reporters during a news conference this week. 

Bureau of Land Management via Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

On August 23, the Friends of a Legacy will be celebrating the official completion of a wild horse educational kiosk and highway designation.

TOOELE – From behind the wheel of a gray Jeep Wrangler, Rob Hammer scans a high-desert landscape in search of an elusive American icon.

The Bureau of Land Management is offering people $1,000 if they’ll adopt a wild horse. 

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management announced this week it plans to drop proposed sterilization experiments on wild horses in Oregon. The decision comes in the midst of a lawsuit and public outcry over the controversial pilot project.

Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Department of the Interior

A federal judge stopped a planned roundup of Pryor Mountain wild horses on the Wyoming-Montana border, arguing it could harm the genetic viability of the wild horses.

When outsiders think of the American West, they probably think of mustangs.

The horses’ ancestors were brought to the New World by conquistadors more than five centuries ago and nowadays, thousands of wild horses roam the Mountain West – especially in Utah, Wyoming, Colorado and Nevada.

The Bureau of Land Management has presented Congress with a controversial new plan to manage wild horses.

Craigh Okraska - Wild Horses

The citizen board for the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse and Burro Program will not meet this month as planned. The board gives advice to the BLM about how to manage the species on federal lands. The cancellation is frustrating for members who said the agency has given no response to its recommendations for two years.

Maggie Mullen

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public input on a proposed wild horse gather in southwest Wyoming — they want to hear what people think about a recent environmental assessment. 

A wild horse gather is a herd management technique meant to remove the animal from the land, before entering them into the agencies wild horse and burro program, where they can be adopted.

Dan Hayward

The BLM is asking for input on the proposed removal of wild horses near Rock Springs. What are your thoughts?

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By contributing your comment, you consent to the possibility of having it read on the air.

Public Domain

The Bureau of Land Management is asking for public comment on a proposed removal of wild horses in the Checkerboard area near Rock Springs.

In a press release, the Bureau of Land Management said they expect wild horses in the three herd management areas of the Checkerboard to become overpopulated in 2017, and a removal of more than 1,000 horses may be needed to reach the appropriate population levels.

Maggie Mullen

 

It’s an unseasonably warm November day in Wyoming, and a small group of Bureau of Land Management employees is out in the Checkerboard, just east of Rock Springs. Like a lot of Wyoming, it’s arid with wide open spaces. They’re looking for wild horses. Leading the way is Jay D’Ewart, who works with wild horses for the Rock Springs field office.

“Besides the paperwork,” says D’Ewart. “I’m the eyes and ears for the wild horses out here on the range.”

Public Domain

The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled on Friday that the Bureau of Land Management broke the law during a wild horse round up in 2014 in an area southeast of Rock Springs known as the Checkerboard. 

The Checkerboard gets its name from its alternating patches of public and private lands. Bill Eubanks, who represented the plaintiff -- mostly wild horse advocacy groups -- explained in a press release that this ruling prevents the BLM from treating public lands as private land in Checkerboard areas, making the wild horse roundup procedure more complicated.

Dan Hayward

A new study will use GPS transmitters to track the movements of wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management area, southwest of Rock Springs. Researchers from the University of Wyoming and the Bureau of Land Management are teaming up to track at least 20 wild horses in a project funded by the Wyoming Department of Agriculture.

There is little currently known about the migration patterns of wild horses. The GPS collars are the latest in wildlife tracking technology and will allow the researchers to get real time information on the animals via a satellite.

Wikimedia Commons

The Bureau of Land Management announced it will not accept the recommendation from their National Advisory Board to euthanize the upwards of 46,000 wild horses. The recommendation was followed by a major public outrage, but the BLM says they will continue to seek out other management options.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Kristen Lenhardt said those alternatives include the BLM’s already established wild horse and burro adoption program, as well as using birth control to reduce overpopulation.

Public Domain

On Monday, arguments were presented against the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's removal of wild horses from a herd of management area in what's known as the Checkerboard area near Rock Springs.

Wild horse advocate groups argue that the removal of horses is conducted inhumanely and is expensive for tax payers, and that wild horses have the right to roam on public land. American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign Director Suzanne Roy says she hopes the court appeal will stop the roundup, and soon.

As part of the Wyoming State Fair in Douglas this weekend, the Bureau of Land Management will host a horse show with all wild horses. The seventh annual Mustang Days aims to show the benefits of adopting wild horses.

The Bureau of Land Management has 16 wild horse herd management areas in Wyoming, and tries to keep the number of wild horses in the state to around 3500. When herds become overpopulated, some animals are put up for adoption.

For the second time in two years, the Bureau of Land Management will round up all the wild horses that roam a controversial area in southwest Wyoming. Known as “the Checkerboard,” it’s an area where wild horses live on federal and private land, but a court decision ruled that the BLM must manage the area's horses as if on private land. The horses collected in this round up will eventually be put up for adoption. 

At a House Energy and Natural Resources Committee meeting in Washington last week, Republican lawmakers criticized the Bureau of Land Management for its plans to research new sterilization methods for wild horses. Texas Congressman Louie Gohmert said there has been enough research and that it's time to start acting. 

“We don’t have time for a lot more studies. This has been an issue for years. It seems like we need a bill to end the studies and start the implementation.”

Wild horses cost American taxpayers $77 million a year. But a man who helps shrink wild horse herds with birth control vaccine hopes to reduce those costs.

A wild horse herd lives on BLM land in the McCullough peaks, just east of Cody. BLM officials used to do gathers here, to reduce the herd size… but it’s not growing anymore, thanks to a contraceptive called PZP 

Senior Scientist of the Science and Conservation Center Jay F. Kirkpatrick said, “They reached zero population growth in three years flat. They’re balancing foal production with mortality.”

For years, wild horse advocates have called for the prosecution of a Colorado rancher who bought more than 1700 wild horses in 2012 and sold them to slaughterhouses in Mexico. Last week, the U.S. Inspector General released a report confirming the allegations.

Wild horse advocate Ginger Kathrens with the Cloud Foundation says the Bureau of Land Management policy that let people buy 35 horses at a time made it easy for rancher Tom Davis to take advantage.

The Modern West 5: Wild Horses—A Western Icon In Trouble?

Oct 19, 2015
Dan Hayward

There's no cowboy without his trusty steed, so this month, we explore the role of horses in the Modern West.

Groups Worry About BLM Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Plan

Jun 19, 2015
Willow Belden

  

Protestors say the BLM office in Montana is trying to wipe out the state’s last herd of wild horses. That herd lives in the Pryor Mountains in Montana and Wyoming. The group marched into the Billings Field office recently, demanding the agency abandon plans to round up horses and use birth control on the mares.

The Bureau of Land Management will reopen the wild horse facility in Rock Springs at the end of this month with an adoption event.

The agency is looking for people able to give wild horses a good home. The horses range from weanlings to geldings and mares.

The agency manages wild horses and burros on public lands. The animals don’t have any natural predators and are illegal to hunt. So if the number of horses and burros for a grazing area becomes too high, the BLM rounds them up for holding facilities or adoption.

A U.S. District Court granted wild horse advocates the right to intervene in a case involving the management of horses on Wyoming land. The State of Wyoming brought the case against the Bureau of Land Management in order to seek management of the state’s wild horses.

This week, the state of Wyoming filed suit against the Bureau of Land Management and the Department of the Interior in hopes of further reducing the size of the wild horse herds in the state. The lawsuit contends that wild horse populations are growing and exceeding their management levels.

The U.S. tenth circuit court of appeals has overruled wild horse advocates and will allow the roundup of nearly 800 wild horses in southwest Wyoming. The Bureau of Land Management will round up the horses in an area where private, state, and federal lands intermingle. 

The Rock Springs grazing association had demanded the roundup because they say the horses are depleting resources from other wildlife and livestock in the area. 

Wild horse advocates continue fighting a planned roundup near the Red Desert.

The Bureau of Land Management plans to gather wild horses in a patchwork of public and private lands near Rock Springs called the Checkerboard. Nearby landowners who graze livestock have requested the horses’ removal.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and others are suing the BLM to block the roundup. Last week, the BLM agreed to voluntarily delay the roundup until at least September 12th , as the Tenth Circuit Court considers an appeal to keep the horses where they are.

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