Helicopters would be used to gather all wild horses on Beatys Butte HMA, followed by the return of 100 studs and mares to the range, according to a news release issued yesterday by the Lakeview office. Mares would be treated with a contraceptive (such as PZP). Public comments must be received by 09/28/18.
The HMA is in southern Oregon on the Nevada border. It contains 437,120 acres and will have a population density of 0.23 animals per thousand acres at the end of the process, almost nothing.
The announcement did not indicate if the goal was to have the area horse-free within ten years, but it sure sounds like it. Also omitted from the remarks was the innovative Beatys Butte Wild Horse Training Facility.
The proposed gather marks the next phase of a long-term strategy developed by ranchers, wild horse advocates, environmental groups, elected officials, and state and federal fish and wildlife agencies, according to the announcement.
How many advocates want to see horses removed from western rangelands, families broken up, breeding patterns determined by government? Who benefits from this arrangement?
The wild horse population on Beatys Butte was over 1000 in 2015. Today it’s around 250. The number of livestock in and around the HMA was not provided.