The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM’s) plan for the McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA) would significantly reduce the wild horse population, destroy tightly bonded family bands, and threaten the genetic viability of the entire herd.
In their Environmental Assessment (EA), the BLM wants to reduce this already small herd down to just 140 horses. That amount is well below the genetic viability standard of horses necessary to maintain diversity. Currently, 59 of the 181 wild horses are over the age of 15 with 22 horses over the age of 20. Many of these senior horses no longer reproduce; many could even die naturally in the wild over another winter.
If this proposed action goes forward, long-time family bands will be decimated leaving the remaining horses in serious jeopardy.
The BLM’s proposed action includes bait trapping these iconic mustangs until only 140 remain. According to the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Handbook, a minimum population of about 150-200 horses is recommended to maintain an acceptable level of genetic diversity.
There has been a humane PZP fertility control program successfully managing the McCullough Peaks wild horses since 2011. It is a waste of resources to roundup and warehouse these horses, and using the controversial vaccine GonaCon on the remaining mares is unacceptable. The BLM should choose the “No Action Alternative” laid out in its EA. This would allow for the continuation of the PZP fertility control program and no unnecessary roundup(s).
The BLM is now accepting public comments on the newly released Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed removal of the wild horses from the 109,000-acre McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA) just outside of Cody, Wyoming.