What does Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) hold for America’s iconic wild horse and burro herds?
Per the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) plan, a ramped up, ongoing nightmare scenario!
Tax dollars will be used to pay for contracted helicopters in Nevada for an outrageous number (12) roundups with bait traps used three times. The BLM plans to capture over 11,600 of Nevada’s wild equines with a permanent removal of just over 11,000 of them.
A horrific blow is scheduled to Wyoming’s North Lander complex where a staggering number of over 2,760 wild horses are slated for removal.
Adding insult to injury, the BLM’s Decision Record for the North Lander complex roundup allows for the castration of up to 95% of captured stallions which will be designated to return to the range. Castration of wild stallions is not a safe (nor humane) method of population control. Many can suffer negative effects and even die from the procedure. It is also unclear how the horses’ social interactions can be impacted once survivors are returned to the wild.
A large-scale roundup is also scheduled for Wyoming’s White Mountain wild horse population near Rock Springs, WY.
Additionally, the BLM is targeting wild horses in five more states– California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah. Most of these removals will also use helicopters.
Helicopters will return to California’s Twin Peaks during August, only two years after a brutal summer roundup where sweltering temperatures took a devastating toll on newborn foals. Several of these foals died from exhaustion and shock; others literally had their hooves run off while chased relentlessly by the helicopter.
To add around 19,000 more wild horses to the over 58,000 already warehoused in holding facilities means that the number of wild horses and burros will reach close to 80,000 in confinement.
In other words, 2024 could become the time when captured wild horses and burros will equal or even exceed the number of wild horses remaining free on taxpayer funded lands allocated to them by law.