The ‘Short End of Stick’ reports have considered 34 areas to date. Some of them are complexes, consisting of several HMAs, so let’s round the number to 40. Approximately 50,000 wild horses have been displaced from those areas by privately owned livestock.
There are roughly 200 HMAs and WHTs not managed principally for wild horses and burros. For simplicity, let’s assume they’re all inhabited by horses.
If 50,000 horses were displaced from 40 of the 200 areas, and the same relationship exists in the other 160 areas, then the total number of horses displaced in all areas would be 250,000.
The True AML would be equal to the current AML plus the total number of horses displaced, i.e., 27,000 + 250,000 = 277,000, ten times higher than the current AML.
The current wild horse population is said to be around 100,000, well within this range.
The new stocking rate would be 277,000 ÷ 27,000,000 × 1,000 = 10.3 horses per thousand acres, in line with the stocking rate on the Virginia Range (before the fertility controllers started their war on the horses).
The miniscule AML of 27,000 reflects current management priorities on western rangelands.
Data from the Short End of Stick reports show 16% of the forage going to the horses, with the balance going to livestock, on lands set aside for the horses.
RELATED: Hypothesis Confirmed.