Colorado Offers Hope for Wild Mustangs

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Colorado is showing the rest of the country how to effectively manage wild horse herds in a more humane fashion. By using birth control medication, the numbers of these elusive, hardy American mustangs are being controlled. The Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, along with community advocacy groups, is using less stressful bait-trapping methods to round up the horses and administer PZP fertility control injections to the mares. This reduces, or in some cases eliminates, the need to remove horses from the wild.At the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range, giving the mares the PZP has kept the horse population in check but hasn’t changed their behavior. No wild horses have been removed since 2011, and there are no future plans to do so. The BLM in Colorado is also considering banning the use of motorized vehicles to manage the mustangs. A round-up using cowboys on horseback is less stressful for the animals.

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The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burrows Act gives the BLM sole authority over managing the herds; Its job is to protect both the animals and the landscape. Ranchers sometimes complain about the horses overgrazing the land they use for their cattle. At one time, the horses were gathered up, usually using helicopters to herd them, and sold. The lucky ones went to people wanting to adopt mustangs as pets or working ranch animals, if they could be tamed. Thanks to BLM’s management, the number of complaints has gone down.

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According to Mustangs 4 Us, horses originating in North America roamed the continent for more than 57 million years. Somewhere between 8,000 and 10,000 years ago, they disappeared. The only survivors were those in Asia, Europe and South Africa. The wild horses found today are descendants of horses brought over by the Spanish.For more information on the mustangs and on the Wild Horse Rescue Center, visit The Animal Rescue Site. You can help by making a contribution toward the care and adoption of America’s wild horses.

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