The BLM is planning a new study of wild horses which will involve placing collars with GPS tracking on wild mares.
In an effort to better understand the habits of wild horses, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is launching a research project on wild horses in southwest Wyoming. During the study, the BLM will trap and collar between 20 and 30 mares, then will track the collars to monitor herd movement.
In order to trap the horses, a bait-trap method will be used. Corrals will be set up and once the horses have entered the pens, they will be contained. United States Geological Survey staff will then collar mares ages five and older, and the horses will be released. There will be no use of helicopters during the gathering.
The study plans to use between three and five trap sites to round up the small numbers of horses. Once the horses are collared, they will be immediately released on or near the trap sites.
The collars used will be equipped with GPS monitoring units, and will allow researchers to track the mares and their herds. Researchers from the University of Wyoming will gather data from the collars over an 18-month period.
This study will allow researchers to gather information about how the wild horses live and move across the land. Data on the horses' social movements, habitat selection, and movement between the Adobe Town Herd Management Area and the Colorado border will be compiled. This information can provide the BLM with additional insight on how to best care for and manage the wild horse populations.
Overpopulation in American wild horses has been an ongoing issue. The BLM has instituted practices to help manage the herds, including rounding up and adopting out the horses. Events like the Extreme Mustang Makeover have also helped to raise awareness of the mustang's versatility. Wild horses are protected in America, but their growing numbers are actually endangering the horses themselves. With too many horses on the land available, grazing is limited and horses can be exposed to disease spread caused by overpopulation.
If you'd like to learn more about this upcoming study, and public viewing opportunities, please visit the BLM's website or contact BLM Public Affairs Officer Tony Brown at (307) 352-0215. The gather is planned to take place in mid-February.
What do you think about the plight of the American wild horse? Tell us in the comments below.
WATCH NOW: Wide Open Pets Goes to the BEHS Horse Expo