MEEKER, Colo. (KREX) — The Bureau of Land Management is rounding up wild horses in the Piceance Basin with the goal of cutting their numbers down by over 1,000.
“The impact of 1300 horses in an arid environment is quite severe,” said Steven Hall, the communications director for the Bureau of Land Management Colorado.
Hall said the overgrazing by wild horses makes it difficult for other wildlife in the area to live off the Piceance Basin land. Besides wild horses, the basin supports elk, deer, and greater sage grouse—not to mention livestock animals such as sheep and cows.
“The wild horses are out there 365 days of the year,” said Hall, “cows, and sheep are only in those areas for short amounts of time, usually only a couple of months.”
BLM said that 286 is the ideal amount of horses for the Piceance Basin ecosystem to thrive.
The American Wild Horse Campaign blames cattle and other livestock for overgrazing.
The over 1,000 horses BLM will capture will be sent to Axtell Wild Horse Corrals in Utah because their holding facility in BLM’s Cañon City had an outbreak of equestrian influenza virus that killed 144 horses.
The official report of the Cañon City outbreak said that the horses were at their facility for 8 months before they were vaccinated. The report also said that incoming horses are normally vaccinated within 30 days of their arrival.