Coalition Sues Forest Service Over Salt River Horses

Hunters have joined forces with the Center for Biological Diversity, the group that forced the removal of the “Jumping Mouse” horses last year, alleging that the agency failed to protect the Lower Salt River Recreation Area from hundreds of horses that threaten endangered species habitat, according to a news release dated April 27.

The complaint, filed yesterday in Phoenix, asks the court to vacate and set aside a 2017 Intergovernmental Agreement between the Arizona Department of Agriculture and the Tonto National Forest and a 2023 Salt River Horse Management Plan, an outgrowth of the Intergovernmental Agreement.

The Salt River Wild Horse Darting Group, an affiliate of the Campaign Against America’s Wild Horses charged with thinning the herd, was not named in the case.

The plaintiffs claim there are 600 horses in an area that can only support 28 to 44 and that the current strategy for herd reduction requires too much time.

Horses moved into area from adjoining lands in the late 1970s after the Forest Service terminated livestock grazing in the Goldfield Allotment, according to the complaint.

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