Friday, January 29, 2021

A few pretty horses: BLM, critics butt heads over Idaho mustang management - Full Article

By Colin Tiernan (Twin Falls) Times-News
January 27, 2021 06:00 AM

This is some of the most desolate country in America.

It’s a land of brown-yellow grass, buttes and little else. This is a place where the few roads are gravel at best and often rugged two-tracks. There aren’t even any significant natural water sources out here.

But this unforgiving Idaho desert is home to one of the state’s six wild horse herds.

Last summer, the Bureau of Land Management gathered up most of the small Saylor Creek herd, and removed the horses from the range to trim down the population. On a cold, gray day in November, the BLM took 11 of the Saylor Creek mustangs out of Boise corrals and drove them back home.

The animals stood quiet and calm in their trailers right before their release onto the range. When the gates opened, they leaped out and huddled up. Then, almost in unison, they started running. They cut across the rolling desert in a short line of browns, grays and tans, shrinking into the distance.

Mustangs might inspire more passion and controversy than any other American animal. Many rural westerners, especially those connected to the livestock industry, want to see their numbers dramatically reduced and say they’re causing both ecological and economic harm. Wild horse advocates criticize the BLM’s management policies and argue any negative impacts caused by mustangs pale in comparison to those caused by cattle.

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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Wild Horses, Part of Romantic West, Are Causing Havoc in Northeast California - Full Article

by KQED Science
Jan 19 2021

In the northeast corner of California, feral horses roam in an area of the Modoc National Forest known as Devil's Garden. The high desert plateau in the northeastern corner of the state is filled with juniper trees, sage brush, and not quite enough grass for all the grazing animals that live there. A fight over how to manage the horses shifted recently when Congress funded a plan to reduce herds on federal lands. KQED's Brian Watt recently spoke with Sacramento Bee reporter Ryan Sabalow, who covered the Devil's Garden horses in his series, "Nothing Wild."

The following has been edited for length and clarity.

How did these horses come to be living in the wild?

Ryan Sabalow: Some of these horses in the West can trace their ancestry back to the Spanish settlers in the 16th and 17th centuries. The difference with the Devil's Garden herd is these horses are much more newcomers. They've been around since about the Modoc War, which was in the 1800s.

The Devil's Garden herd is unique in that it's managed by the U.S. Forest Service instead of the Bureau of Land Management. The BLM manages about 100,000 wild horses on millions of acres.

The issue is that wild horses are not a native species. The federal government is trying to figure out a way to reduce their numbers to try to benefit all these other animals that are out there, while still allowing cattle ranchers to make a living...

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Legislator Says Horse Slaughter ‘Worked Well’ Before, Could Be Answer To Wyoming’s Wild Horse Problem - Full Article Published on February 6, 2023 By Mark Heinz, Outdoors Reporter Reopening ...