Utah BLM to hold hearing on helicopter use in wild horse management

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A contractor’s helicopter pursues wild horses during a July 2016 roundup at the Frisco Herd Management Area in Utah. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

The Bureau of Land Management’s Utah state office will hold its annual public meeting on the use of helicopters and other motorized vehicles in the management of wild horses and burros on Nov. 14.

The hearing will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at 176 East D.L. Sargent Drive in Cedar City, the location of BLM’s Cedar City Field Office.

Utah is home to more than 5,300 wild horses and burros, according to BLM estimates. Its statewide “Appropriate Management Level” is 992-1,796 wild horses and burros on Herd Areas and Herd Management Areas totalling about 3.1 million acres.

In addition to their controversial use in roundups, BLM also uses helicopters and other vehicles to conducte population surveys, monitor herd distribution, and transport captured wild horses and burros.

Since 1976, BLM has captured more than 16,000 wild horses and burros in Utah. Of those, more 8,500 have been adopted out or sold within Utah, according to a press release.The balance were shipped to other facilities as part of BLM’s adoption and sale program or to holding on leased pastures.