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Public running out of room, money to handle wild horses

PUBLIC LANDS — It's well past time to override the emotional argument that wild horses are above proven wildlife management methods that protect the landscape and habitat for that species as well as other wildlife.

U.S. is running out of options for wild horse management

With 50,000 wild horses corralled in holding facilities in the United States and an estimated 11,000 more roaming the range beyond what those wild lands are capable of supporting, the U.S. policy on wild horses has reached a tipping point. — New York Times

Wild horse foal first in a century at Flathead Lake

WILDLIFE — The first wild horse born on Montana's Wildhorse Island in more than a century stands next to her mother last week in the photo above.

The unexpected birth pushes the population past the maximum called for in the management plan for the state park, but Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials say the foal will live out her life on the Flathead Lake island.

The horses often are visible to boaters on the lake.

BLM to rein in wild horse management

PUBLIC LANDS — The U.S. Bureau of Land Management plans to scale back costly roundups of wild horses.

In a news release issued Thursday, BLM officials said they will reduce the number of wild horses removed from the range by about one-quarter — to 7,600 per year. The agency also will expand the use of fertility controls and increase the number of animals adopted by individuals or groups. The bureau continues to oppose horse slaughter, which some in the West have advocated as a way to thin herds.

Other groups have called the past roundups inhumane.

The BLM can't win on this issue. But it's clear the land and wildlife habitat is losing the battle where wild horse herds have grown too large.

The new approach comes a week after the House approved an amendment to cut the agency’s budget by $2 million to protest the roundups. The program’s annual cost has tripled over the past decade to $66 million. Annual costs are expected to reach at least $85 million by 2012.

More than 38,000 wild horses and burros roam in Nevada, California, Wyoming and other Western states. An additional 40,000 animals are cared for in corrals and pastures in Kansas, Oklahoma and South Dakota.

An analysis of the public’s comments and a detailed proposed implementation strategy will be posted at www.blm.gov  on Feb. 28.  Public comments will be accepted through March 30 by e-mail to wildhorse@blm.gov with “Comments on Strategy” in the subject line.

34 wild horses die during BLM roundup

This  2006 photo shows  wild horses grazing near Carson River in Carson City, Nev.

RENO, Nev. – Federal officials confirmed Wednesday that 34 wild horses died or were euthanized during a roundup of animals from parched rangeland in Nevada, sparking fresh criticism from horse protection advocates pressing the Obama administration to suspend such operations.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said 1,224 wild horses were collected in pens during the Tuscarora wild horse gather that concluded Monday outside the Rock Creek Herd Management Area, or HMA, in northeastern Nevada’s Elko County.

In addition to the 34 horses that died, two more were put down after they were found injured by a contractor herding more than two dozen wild horses away from a steep cliff, Worley said Wednesday. AP Read More.