Bureau of Land Management moves forward with wild horse capture

Colorado News

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo — A symbolic icon of the American West, Wild Mustangs, could be in jeopardy.

The Sand Wash Basin is home to roughly 800 wild horses, a number far greater than what officials are comfortable with.

Bruce Sillitoe with the Bureau of Land Management says, “when we allow horse numbers to get as high as they are, they eat a tremendous amount of food and there’s only so much food in the kitchen.”

Ideally, the number of horses in the region should be anywhere from 160 to 360.

So, not having enough food to go around, becomes an imminent threat to the animals.

Sillitoe also says, “the animals do not have sufficient food. If we allow horses to go through winter this year, with the numbers that they have, many will starve and it’s not ok.”

The situation is due in large part to extreme drought conditions, causing a significant shortage in food.

Governor Jared Polis submitted a last-minute appeal to pause the operation, out of concern for the long-term welfare of captured animals.

Through the Wild Horse Free-Roaming Act, the Bureau of Land Management is required by law to manage the lands using their best judgment.

Officials say there’s an important consideration tied to maintaining herds.

Sillitoe added, “my biggest concern is that we degrade those food resources such that they don’t come back. My biggest concern is food, healthy horses on healthy public lands.”

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