The Bureau of Land Management has a big task ahead of them, and moving a herd of 1,000 wild horses is just the first step.
The Bureau of Land Management has been tasked with caring for the country's wild horses since the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. But the wild horse population is slowly growing out of control and the resources to sustain herds are diminishing.
In June this year, the BLM proposed to round up wild horses and sterilize them to halt overpopulation. The Cloud Foundation and the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign have since sued Neil Kornze, the director of the BLM, over cruel spay and neuter practices.
Now, the BLM has come up with another short-term solution, since adoption rates are not keeping up with herd reproduction.
The management bureau has since acquired 41,000 acres of private land to pasture 1,022 horses from a herd that currently resides at Triple U Ranch near Fort Pierre; a ranch made famous from the movie "Dances with Wolves."
The herd is compiled of horses that were not adopted, which are then placed into long-term management on land they have deemed as "off-range pastures."
The BLM will now transport 1,022 horses from northern South Dakota to be managed on the 41,000 acres known as the Elm Butte Off Range Pasture. The herd will be managed by Spur Livestock which will cover feed and range management needs until the lease is up in 160 days.
"Assuming it goes according to plan, relocation of the horses will begin next month," said Chip Kimball, BLM field manager. "Everything is still on track."
The land is shared by a nearby ranch owned by Sharon Herron, who fears her Quarter Horses coming in contact with the new wild herd. The BLM is now in the process of fencing off the eastern side of the pasture for the relocated herd.
There are currently an estimated 46,000 horses and burros in off-range pastures managed by the Bureau of Land Management.