BLM plans to relocate 25 wild horses

Colors abound in the Sand Wash Basin herd. Pintos, grullas and duns in multiple shades, as well as roans, greys, chestnuts, sorrels, bays and fabulous palominos.
Courtesy Photo

The Bureau of Land Management plans to gather and remove approximately 25 wild horses from private land in Moffat County this month using a bait-trapping technique, according to the government agency.

The wild horses, originating out of the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area, are on private land about six miles east of HMA, having wondered outside of the protection area.

The BLM’s wild horse management responsibilities under the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act include removing wild horses that are impacting private land.

“This is wild horses we’re talking about,” Cindy Wright of Wild Horse Warriors of Sand Wash Basin said. “They’re out of bounds; they’ve left the protected HMA, so they’ve lost the protection of Herd Management Area. They’re on private land now. Any time the wild horses leave the HMA and ends up on private land, if the owner asks BLM to remove the horses, BLM has to by law.”

Next week BLM specialists will begin selecting locations to use hay and water to attract the horses to specific areas. According to the agency, a small corral will be established around each trapping site over several days to eventually contain the horses. Once captured, the wild horses will be taken to a BLM facility in Rock Springs and be made available for adoption or sale.

“A lot of them adapt very well to adoption,” Wright said. “Typically, that includes an inspection and adopters must go through BLM process of adoption. After that, BLM keeps track of the wild horse for a year after adoption, and keeps ownership and the title of that horse for the first year.”

The wild horses likely dispersed from Sand Wash, according to the agency, where the estimated population of 621 wild horses is well above the appropriate management level BLM has set between 163 and 362 wild horses.

“We are committed to maintaining a healthy population of wild horses in northwestern Colorado at the Sand Wash Basin over the long-term,” BLM Little Snake Field Manager Bruce Sillitoe said. “In order to be successful, we need to be able to remove excess wild horses that are outside the established herd management area to reduce conflicts with private land or other resources.”

While the horses are now outside of the protection area for the Sand Wash Basin HMA, Wright said it’s still sad to see the horses rounded up and taken away.

“We hate to see them leave the wild, but we are over the appropriate level for HMA,” Wright said.

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