BLM Reevaluating Wyoming Mustang Plan

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is reconsidering a Record of Decision that called for the spaying of wild mustang mares to be gathered from the White Mountain and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas (HMA) in Wyoming in August. Records of Decision are BLM herd management actions the agency takes based on environmental impact studies to meet Appropriate Management Levels (AML) of animals on ranges where wild mustangs are located.

Currently, nearly 1,000 mustangs reside on the White Mountain and Little Colorado HMAs combined, according to the BLM. The White Mountain HMA's AML is between 205 and 300 animals, and between 69 and 100 animals at the Little Colorado HMA, the agency said.

On June 14 the BLM announced that beginning in August, it would gather animals from the two ranges to reach an AML of 205 in the White Mountain HMA and about 69 in the Little Colorado HMA. Serena Baker, BLM spokeswoman, said that following the gather, approximately 102 geldings and 103 spayed mares would be returned to the White Mountain HMA. Approximately 35 geldings and 35 spayed mares would be returned to the Little Colorado HMA. Sterile herds would reside on both ranges, Baker said.

Some wild horse advocates criticized the plan, particularly the decision to spay mares on grounds that the spay procedure is risky.

On June 17 the BLM issued a written statement announcing its decision to reevaluate portions of the Decision Record.

"After considering public input, the Bureau of Land Management, Wyoming High Desert District, is reevaluating certain aspects of its decision record related to spaying gathered mares during the proposed White Mountain/Little Colorado herd management areas wild horse gather," the statement said. "As part of the reevaluation, BLM may amend or modify its environmental assessment and decision record for the gather."

If modified, a new decision record should be available in the next week, the statement said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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