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Release Date: 12/04/12
Contacts: Steven Hall, Colorado Communications Director, 303-239-3672    
  Deanna Masterson, Public Affairs Specialist, 303-239-3671    

BLM Colorado Investigating Wild Horse Deaths (12-04-12)

Cañon City, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management is investigating the deaths of 19 wild horses at its Cañon City Wild Horse Inmate Program facility.  The BLM discovered dead horses in a pen on Dec. 3.  Several other wild horses in the same pen exhibited signs of illness. The BLM is working with veterinarians including state and federal animal health authorities to investigate the cause of the illness. 

Veterinarians have euthanized those horses in the most severe condition with a poor prognosis for recovery. Autopsies were performed on three of the dead horses at the facility, with additional horses and samples sent to the Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory at Colorado State University in Fort Collins.   

“As a precaution, we have quarantined the facility and will not ship animals out this week,” said Fran Ackley, BLM Colorado Wild Horse and Bureau Program Lead. “We are working with a veterinarian to determine the cause of the illness and prevent any potential spread to other wild horses at the facility.”

There is no estimate of when the lab analysis will be completed. In addition to the autopsies, the BLM sent water and hay samples to a lab for testing.  The horses and burros are currently being fed hay from a different source as a precaution.

The BLM will release additional information as it becomes available.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

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Last updated: 12-04-2012