By Jillian McCarthy
Saving Wild Horses
Utah’s Sulphur wild horse population has reached an all-time high, a condition that is causing trouble along Highway 21.
On the last weekend of February, 100 Sulphur wild horses were gathered and removed near Highway 21 between Milford and Garrison, Utah.
“A couple horses had gotten hit by cars which caused safety concerns,” said Thane Marshall, a Beaver, Utah brand inspector. “When there is nothing left to eat, they come near highways. Grass is best right off the highway because of snow removal.”
Wild horses in Utah have over-populated management herd areas and there is not enough room in holding facilities for all of the extras. The horses will need to branch out in order to find food, water and space. Many of them have been found on private property and near Highway 21.
“The horses have a herd management area that is big enough for 250 horses and right now they are sitting at over 830,” said Lisa Reid, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management in Utah. “That is like trying to stuff 830 marbles in a jar that only holds 250.”
The BLM’s rules and regulations come from Congress. There are two ways the BLM are allowed to manage wild horses: removal and birth control. When the wild horses are removed they are taken to holding facilities where they will stay until adopted. Both long term and short term holding facilities have reached their limits nationwide.
“The impacts of the economy have caused the horse market to fail and people can’t afford to adopt these wild horses anymore,” Reid said. “In years past we were able to remove 8,000 to 12,000 wild horses nationwide. Now we are only able to remove 1,200.”
The 100 horses removed were relocated to BLM’s Delta holding facility.
More information on Utah’s BLM wild horse and burro program can be found at http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html.
More information on the Sulphur roundup is available at http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro/Sulphur2015.html.