Officials to Take Measures in Controlling Wild Horse Population
KREX News Room
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.- Some refer to wild horses as one of the West's icons, but BLM officials are afraid these staples are in trouble.
The Bureau of Land Management plans to gather some of these wild horses up on the Book Cliffs to maintain a proper population and secure their well-being.
“We need to preserve the wildlife and nature,” said Georgia Manus, member of the Friends of the Mustangs. “We have to take care of our lands and these neat, magnificent animals that are there.”
For over 30 years, Friends of the Mustangs have been using fertility treatment and working with the BLM to help with wild horse population control on the little Book Cliffs.
But Chris Joyner of the BLM says unfortunately, these actions aren't enough.
“There are no wild animals up there that are able to successfully keep our heard numbers in check,” said Joyner. “There's no hunting of wild horses and burros, where other animals there are.”
The BLM has an appropriate management level of 90 to 150 horses on this range but this area is expected to see a 15 percent increase in population, forcing officials to conduct a "wild horse gather. "
“What we would see is a boom and bust situation, where we would have a large number of horses and then disease, or range conditions couldn't sustain them anymore and then we would see a bust,” said Joyner.
To ensure the safety of these animals and maintain healthy range lands, these officials are proposing the removal of no more than 50 wild horses, which will then be put up for adoption.
This is something Manus supports, and is familiar with, since she has adopted five.
“There is just not enough forage for the wildlife for the horses to sustain,” said Manus. “You don’t want to wait until they're skin and bones to do something to fix it.”
The horse gathering is expecting to start this Fall.