Future of Wyoming Wild Horses

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will remove up to 1,400 excess wild horses from six herd management areas in the southwest and south-central Wyoming rangelands, according to The Casper Star Tribune. The BLM's appropriate management level, set forth by the state, is about 3,263 horses. In recent years, the wild horse population in Wyoming has reached up to 7,000 horses, which is more than double the management level. The BLM and the state of Wyoming announced in August that they had reached an agreement to cut the state's wild horse population in half. 

The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, passed by Congress in 1971, requires the protection, management, and control of both wild horses and burros on public lands. This act was founded on the belief that human intervention is essential in controlling the wild horse population, since these wild horses were and are overpopulating the confinement regions. The BLM is the federal organization responsible for enforcing the act, and it holds roundups nationwide from Assateague Island to Southern California, helping keep the wild horse population under control so there is enough land to sustain the lives of the horses and other wildlife in those protected areas.

Last year, the BLM agreed to take action in controlling the wild horse birth rate after the state of Wyoming threatened to sue the bureau on the grounds that the agency had mismanaged the wild horse population, as the overgrazed land had also begun to negatively affect the elk and deer populations, according to the article. The BLM has made several steps to avoid an expensive lawsuit, which included a roundup earlier this year and the agreement reached in August. By the end of this year, approximately 3,100 horses will have been gathered throughout the state of Wyoming and will either have been to BLM sanctuaries or adopted by private parties through the Wild Horse Adoption program.

About the Author

Rachael C. Turner

Rachael Turner is the former Photo and Newsletter Editor for The Horse. She is an avid event rider. Rachael's main focus is dressage and on training young horses with the proper foundation for success. She is also a member of the United States Dressage Federation and the United States Equestrian Federation. Her website is avonleaequestrian.com.

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