South of the border, the battle to protect the wild horse herds that roam freely across the state of Wyoming has heated up. This month several wild horse groups, advocates and activists have filed a lawsuit against the federal government agency that oversees the horses, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The plaintiffs in the case include the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), Western Watersheds Project, author and Casper College instructor Dr. Chad Hanson, and wildlife photographers Kimerlee Curyl and Carol Walker, who allege that a Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plan to decimate some of the state’s most popular and iconic wild horse herds violates federal law.
A recent decision in the federal law would eliminate 2.1 million acres of wild horse habitat in Wyoming and slash by one-third the allowed population of wild horses in the state. Some specifics include changing the status of the Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas (HMA) to Herd Areas with an authorized population of zero wild horses. In places that are popular destinations for wild horse tourism, every single wild horse would be removed. Another part of the new plan includes slashing the size of the Adobe Town HMA by approximately half and reducing the wild horse population to well below the 1,338 wild horses that the BLM previously determined to be at a “thriving natural ecological balance” with other uses of the land.
Once more, as has been the case for decades, this comes down to battle for the wild horses against the cattle ranchers who want the grazing land all to themselves. Stay tuned for follow-ups in the new lawsuit. You can read the full lawsuit here.