ROCK SPRINGS – Wild horse populations in herd management areas, including Adobe Town, surpass target management levels by thousands of animals, according to numbers released by the Bureau of Land Management.
When you combine the population estimates of the Adobe Town, White Mountain, Great Divide, Salt Wells Creek and Little Colorado HMAs and subtract the low management range, the BLM believes there are 1,995 excess animals currently and will be 2,702 excess horses in 2020. The latter number is about double the maximum appropriate management level (AML).
The public has until Dec. 20 to submit feedback on an environmental assessment regarding a multiyear roundup plan and tools to suppress population growth, such as fertility control.
The BLM said that aerial surveys found that horse populations in all of the HMAs have exceeded their AML in 2019. The issue is expected to continue, as the 2020 population estimate is calculated by adding the estimated foal crop, or 20%, to the 2019 survey count.
The BLM has prepared multiple options for the next roundup, which is expected to take place in the summer or fall of 2020:
-- Gather and remove excess wild horses and apply fertility control to a group of mares that will be returned to the HMAs. The goal is to establish a 60% to 40% male-to-female ratio.
-- Gather and remove excess wild horses, spay a group of mares and neuter a group of studs to be released back into the HMAs. Apply fertility control to the remaining mares released into the HMAs.
-- Gather and remove excess wild horses without taking additional steps to suppress population growth.
-- Take no action or do not conduct roundups or apply fertility control.
Written comments may be submitted through https://go.usa.gov/xpaEN or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on this project, contact BLM Wild Horse Specialist Jay D’Ewart at 307-352-0331.