BLM to Revise Wyoming Mustang Gather Plan

BLM to Revise Wyoming Mustang Gather Plan

BLM horses in round-up

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has withdrawn a controversial mustang gather plan that would have created minimally producing wild horse herds on two Wyoming ranges.

In June, some wild horse advocates criticized the BLM when the agency announced that it would gather animals from the White Mountain and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas in Wyoming, and spay mares and castrate stallions to reach designated appropriate management levels (205-300 for the former and 69-100 for the latter). Sterile herds would reside on both ranges.

The BLM later revised its plan to exclude the spaying of mares. Under a revised plan the BLM would begin gathering approximately 873 animals from the ranges on Aug. 16. Following the gather, approximately 177 geldings would be returned to the ranges. No mares would be returned to the range. BLM Spokesperson Tom Gorey said the gather's goal is to create a minimally reproducing herd containing 177 geldings and 97 breeding horses.

On July 25 the Western Watersheds Project and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, along with Donna and Greg Duckworth and Carol Walker, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the District of Columbia asking the court to prevent the BLM from gathering horses from the White Mountain and Little Colorado Herd Management areas and returning only geldings to the range.

Three days later, Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva and colleagues issued a letter asking Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and BLM Director Bob Abbey not to sterilize any wild horses under BLM jurisdiction.

On Aug. 2 BLM Spokesman Tom Gorey announced the agency would withdraw the contested gather plan: "The BLM has informed the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia that the Bureau plans to withdraw its modified White Mountain/Little Colorado gather-and-treatment decision of June 22, 2011. Our goal is to issue a new modified decision by Friday, Aug. 5, 2011."

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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