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January 5, 2007
Contact: Rey Adame

BLM Prepares for Wild Horse Gathers in Adobe Town, Salt Wells Areas

The Wyoming Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will begin gathering wild horses Friday, Jan. 5, in the Salt Wells and Adobe Town Herd Management Areas (HMA) in southwest Wyoming.

This gather is part of an on-going effort by the BLM to achieve herd management area objectives to maintain the health of public rangelands, and to maintain wild horse populations at levels that ensure the health and viability of the horses and prevent unwanted damage to federal, state and privately owned land.

The Adobe Town/Salt Wells Creek action will gather 1,760 wild horses and remove 1,339 excess animals based on the population estimate of 2,200 wild horses. Populations are based on statistical models using direct observations of the wild horses. These techniques are similar to those used to estimate wildlife populations, and are more accurate than direct counts, which often miss horses.

Approximately 200 mares will be treated with a fertility control vaccine and released back to the HMAs in an attempt to reduce population growth in 2008 and 2009. The BLM anticipates that using fertility control will reduce the potential 2009 population growth by 200-300 horses.

The Adobe Town HMA has an appropriate management level (AML) of 700 wild horses with a management range of 610 to 800 adult horses. The Salt Wells Creek AML is 300 with a range of 251 to 365.

The 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act requires the BLM to monitor and control the wild horse herds to protect the habitat. There are 16 HMAs in Wyoming, with a strong concentration of wild horses in southwest Wyoming. Wild horses have no natural predators and reproduce at a rate of 15-20 percent annually.

The identified AMLs and management actions conform to the August 2003 Consent Decree upheld by the United States District Court of Wyoming. This agreement specifies that when information is gathered that indicates that an HMA within Wyoming is determined to be over the established AML, the BLM has one year from discovery to remove wild horses to the low range of AML.

Last updated: 01-11-2011