BLM Plan for Sterilization Puts Wild Mares at Risk

“It is a dangerous procedure.  They’re doing it sort of the cheapest way.  Therefore, there’s a potential for basically fatal complications.”

Agree.  See the report posted today by Oregon Public Broadcasting.  Both sides of the debate are presented.  The story did not indicate if a reduction in livestock AUMs was under consideration to alleviate damage attributable to overgrazing.

RELATED: Sterilization Research Proposed for Wild Horses.

Readers Debate Wild Horse Sterilization

Two opinion pieces in the East Oregonian:

How many elements of the wild horse narrative can you find in the response?

AMLs tell you how many animals can inhabit a parcel of land.  They don’t tell you anything about the available resources and how they’re allocated across that land.

The total AML of 26,690, cited in the response, corresponds to HMAs covering 26.7 million acres, for an average population density of one animal per thousand acres on lands managed by the BLM.  (The population density of the Virginia Range, not managed by the BLM, is ten animals per thousand acres.)

The estimated population of 81,951 animals probably corresponds to HMAs and lands outside HMAs, wherever WHB are found, for an unknown number of acres.  You can’t compare 81,951 to 26,690 because the figures don’t have the same land-basis.


Instead of looking at AMLs, we should be looking at pie charts that show how the available resources are allocated among the various consumers (horses, burros, cattle, sheep, antelope, deer, etc).  A chart may indicate that, although the wild horse population of a given area is three times larger than AML, the horses only account for half the available resources.  The situation isn’t as serious as originally portrayed.

UPDATE: Added graphic.

RELATED: Sterilization Research Proposed for Wild Horses.

Wild Horse Narrative

Trailcam image of free-roaming bucks on the Virginia Range.  Probably the last ones, thanks to those damn horses.

  • They’re a non-native species
  • They’re overpopulated
  • They have no natural predators
  • They’re not special (mostly escaped ranch stock)
  • They damage rangelands
  • They’re a threat to wildlife

Livestock are blameless, always.  That’s the wild horse narrative in a nutshell.  You’re supposed to conclude that wild horses are bad for the environment and should be removed.  Removal was the answer all along, but it had to be justified.


Wild Horse Gather Set for Muddy Creek

BLM announced today that 149 horses would be removed from the Muddy Creek HMA in central Utah, beginning in August.  Overpopulation and dry conditions were cited as the reasons for removal.  Fertility control will be applied to the remaining horses to slow population growth.


The news release did not indicate if helicopters would be used for the roundup and if it will be open to public observation.  The presence of livestock on the HMA was not discussed nor the destination of captured animals.

A link for the gather reports and daily stats was not provided.

The Muddy Creek HMA covers 283,400 acres and has an AML of 125, for a target population density of 0.44 animals per thousand acres.  It’s managed for wild horses and burros.