The Bureau of Land Management has approved an update to the Fifteenmile Herd Management Area, increasing its “Appropriate Management Level,” as well as plans to capture and remove about 600 wild horses from the HMA in Wyoming.
The AML for Fifteenmile is now set at 100-230 wild horses. Previously, the agency had set its population target at 70-160 horses for the HMA, located about 35 miles northwest of Worland, Wyo., in Washakie, Big Horn and Park counties.
The agency estimates the current population at about 700 wild horses.
The Herd Management Area is made up of 81,000 acres of mostly BLM land mixed with state and private lands. Varying from rugged canyons and badlands to rolling hills, the HMA has limited water resources. It averages about 8 inches of rain per year.
The BLM plans to remove horses down to the low population figure of 100, or as low as one horse per one horse for every 810 acres, including wild horses that have moved onto state and private lands outside the HMA boundary, according to a press release.
By comparison, BLM has allocated 3,370 Animal Unit Months toward privately owned livestock on the HMA or the equivalent of 280 cow-calf pairs (one AUM = monthly forage for one cow/calf pair, five sheep or one horse).
The roundup has not yet been added to BLM’s national calendar. If the roundup is conducted this year, it could come as soon as September or October, according to BLM’s Worland Field Office.
The Environmental Assessment included no clear plans to implement safe, proven fertility control vaccines to curb population growth and reduce the need for future roundups.