Idaho’s wild horse population is going to get a bit smaller this week. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is in the process of rounding up 365 wild horses and removing 244 “excess wild horses” from the Challis Herd Management Area (HMA). Why? To “reduce overpopulation of wild horses within the HMA,” East Idaho News reports.
The agency will use the helicopter method to round up the wild horses and will release the mares after treating them with fertility control. The plan is to have only 185 wild horses within the HMA once the roundup is complete. If unmanaged, wild horse populations can grow exponentially, straining habitat shared with sage grouse, antelope, mule deer and elk. In and around the targeted HMA, the current wild horse population is estimated at 429 animals. According to the East Idaho News, the 168,700-acre HMA has an Appropriate Management Level of 185 to 253 wild horses, which makes the current number way over objective.
BLM maintains safe and humane capture of the animals and welcomes the public “to view the gather operations” as long as it doesn’t interfere with the roundup or cause the animals stress. All horses gathered for removal will be transported to the Bureau Wild Horse Off-Range Corral facility where a veterinarian will check each animal before it is transferred to the wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program. Wild horses that receive fertility control vaccines will be held temporarily in the Challis Off-Range Corral Facility. Then, they will be returned to the HMA.
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