The Bureau of Land Management captured nine wild horses on Friday, the 19th and final day of an “emergency” helicopter roundup on the West Douglas Herd Area, 20 miles south of Rangely, Colo. One mare with “mare with chronic pre-existing lower back spine fracture” was euthanized.
A total of 457 wild horses were captured. Ten horses were killed: nine euthanized for what the agency says were pre-existing conditions and a 10th that suffered a broken leg.
The lack of transparency about the deaths of federally protected wild horses is unacceptable.
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BLM set out to remove 450 wild horses from their home range over 19-25 days.
The agency said that the roundup was necessary because of limited forage and water, deteriorating condition of the horses, and because the nearby Oil Springs Fire has burned summer habitat and limited access to water sources. The fire burned 12,613 acres starting June 18.
A Herd Area in which wild horses and burros were found in 1971, at the time that the Free-Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act became law. These are the ranges upon which the BLM may manage horses. A Herd Management Area is an area within each HA found by BLM to have adequate food, water, cover and space to sustain healthy and diverse wild horse and burro populations.
The West Douglas Herd Area has not been managed for wild horses since 1975, according to BLM.
Captured horses are being shipped to the Canon City Wild Horse and Burro Facility to be readied for adoption or sale.
Members of the public interested in viewing the roundup should call (970) 673-7768 for the next day’s meeting times and locations.