BLM to gather wild horses next month in Northwest Colorado | CraigDailyPress.com

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BLM to gather wild horses next month in Northwest Colorado

At a Glance …

• A wild horse gather is scheduled to begin Sept. 20 southwest of Meeker.

• The gather will remove an estimated 250 wild horses from Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area.

• The Bureau of Land Management reports that removing horses helps sustain the range in the management area.

• Most of the horses removed will be available for adoption.

The Bureau of Land Management will remove about 250 wild horses next month from an area southwest of Meeker in an effort to reduce the herd's population and sustain range in a herd management area, the agency reported Friday in a news release.

"We are committed to maintaining a thriving natural ecological balance, which includes managing for a healthy wild horse herd in the White River Field Office that's in balance with other uses," said Kent Walter, BLM White River field manager, in the release.

"Wild horses are not native wildlife and have no effective natural predators, so these gathers are needed periodically to keep the wild horse herd at a level that the range can sustain."

The BLM will gather horses in the 190,000-acre Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area beginning Sept. 20, and the gather will be completed by Sept. 30, the BLM reported.

The planned gather follows a decision BLM officials signed Friday to reduce the estimated population in the herd management area from 382 to 135 wild horses, the release stated.

"Since 1980, we have gathered wild horses within this area more than a dozen times, which has kept this wild horse herd and the range healthy."

The BLM also will remove an estimated 78 wild horses that have migrated outside the herd management area and are east of Colorado Highway 139, according to the release.

Wild horses west of the highway are located in the West Douglas Herd Area and will not be gathered.

If left unchecked, wild horse populations usually double in four years, the BLM reported.

However, BLM officials plan to take steps to curb the herd's growth and reduce the frequency of wild horse gathers.

Mares released to the range will receive treatment to delay fertility, and BLM officials will ensure the herd is composed of 60-percent studs and 40-percent mares, the release stated.

Horses that have been removed will be taken to the BLM's wild horse facility in Canon City, and the majority will be available for adoption, according to the release. Horses that aren't adopted will be put in long-term pastures.

For more information, visit http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/wrfo/wrfo_wild_horse_and.html, or call the White River Field Office at (970) 878-3800.

For information about wild horse and burro sales, visit http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html.

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