Horse News

BLM Plans Annihilation of Colorado’s Historic West Douglas Wild Horse Herd


West Douglas Wild Horses

BLM Plans Annihilation of Colorado’s Historic West Douglas Wild Horse Herd

Colorado Springs, CO (August 12, 2015) –  “Mustangs inhabited the West Douglas Herd Area (WDHA) long before Colorado was even a territory, let alone a state,” stated Toni Moore, Board Member of The Cloud Foundation (TCF). In their Sept. 1, 1776 diary entry Spanish Explorer-Priests Dominguez and Escalante wrote about meeting Ute Indians riding horses in these valleys: “We set out from San Ramón toward the north, and having traveled three leagues through small valleys with abundant pasturage and thick groves of dwarf oak, we met about 80 Yutas [Utes] all on good horses, most of them being from the rancheria to which we were going.”

For decades the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has attempted to obliterate this historic herd that has been in the area since long before the arrival of settlers and ranchers, claiming “wild horses that reside in the WDHA are impacting the landscape and the ability to maintain a thriving, natural ecological balance.”

The BLM estimates a population of 291 wild horses within the WDHA and an additional 74 horses outside the WDHA boundaries. In comparison, the BLM Rangeland Administration System indicates as many as 1158 cow/calf pairs inhabit the area from November through June, dwarfing the wild horse population.

“The owners of these cattle pay the government $1.69 per cow/calf pair per month. At the most, the BLM receives $15,656,” Moore states. “The Federal Livestock Grazing Program costs American taxpayers $123 million yearly.” Removing the cattle would actually save taxpayers money. The planned helicopter removal of wild horses will cost nearly 10 times more than the revenues received from livestock grazers. “The continual damage to the land from cattle and sheep grazing and the yearly drain on taxpayers who foot the bill for welfare ranching has to stop,” Moore concludes.

BLM’s Jan. 2015 Environmental Assessment, states “that all wild horses within or adjacent to the WDHA meet the statutory definition of excess animals, and therefore, consistent with the authority provided in 16 USC § 1333 (b) (2), the BLM shall immediately remove excess animals from the range.” This would reduce wild horse herds in Colorado to four, and the number of horses to 1150, compared to the many thousands of mustangs that once roamed the state.

 “We have battled the destruction of this historic herd in the courts for decades,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of TCF, a Colorado based non-profit which advocates for the protection and preservation of wild horses on public lands.  “As recently as 2009 the courts ruled against the BLM when District Court Judge Collyer enjoined the BLM from removing any wild horses from the herd,” she states. “BLM’s historic scapegoating of wild horses is a smoke screen,” continued Kathrens.  “Western rangeland damage is caused by millions of head of privately-owned livestock, not our publically owned and theoretically protected wild horses.”

“Grazing of livestock on public lands is considered a privilege, not a right, and permits can be reduced or revoked per BLM Regulations (43 CFR § 4710.5).” mentions Paula Todd King, Communications Director for TCF. “Until the BLM finds the courage to address the real culprit – an overpopulation of welfare livestock – our historic wild horse herds will continue to be managed to extinction.”


BLM Press Release

West Douglas Herd Area Final EA

Media Contact:

Paula Todd King

The Cloud Foundation


15 replies »

  1. Cant this be publicized like the Salt River Herd? Because it seems if this could be brought out into the general public’s view – possibly something good could happen. The BLM cannot be allowed to continue to eradicate these herds. Certainly proves their lie when a diary entry from 1776 says the horses were already there! Two hundred & 39 years ago!!!!!!!


  2. If this is a legal herd area (I understand it is one half of a larger one the BLM divided in half), how can ALL the horse be considered excess? This means they are intent on eliminating a legal area, with historic records indicating those horses were there long before the BLM was born.

    Rangely is a small college town, please try to get info sent there as courses will begin soon and there will be fresh eyes and ears in town. This article does not mention the time this herd extinction is scheduled — please add this if it is known so people can respond.


  3. I have commented twice since February regarding the West Douglas Herd. I don’t believe they will allow any more comment periods. I could be wrong with regard to the process. The only thing to do now is send letters and phone calls to the Governor, Congressmen/women, Secretary Jewel, & the President. Americans need to truly get involved to save our Wild Horses. The BLM does not consider the comments submitted by advocates or the general public. I spend many hours drafting just one comment letter, with footnotes siting to articles, research, & the law. I even attach enclosures. They turn a deaf ear to us. So, sad. Heartbreaking. This is such a historic herd. I’m beyond words that I can express here.

    I’m still not okay with the removal of our young Pryor Mountain Horses, which is heartbreaking. I wish the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation could be involved with the US Forest Service in opening the two areas that have been taken away from Cloud’s herds normal migration patterns. RMEF has been able to successfully work with USFS on numerous occasions to secure habitat for wildlife. RMEF has offices all over the west. Maybe they can help with the West Douglas Herd also. I’m just trying to think outside of the box here to have other entities involved in saving our Wild Horses & Burros.


  4. Is “West Douglas Creek” within the West Douglas Herd Area?

    Per FOIA data, two young stallions (now gelded) were trapped and removed from the West Douglas Creek in Colorado just a few months ago under the jurisdiction of the Colorado State Office.

    Freezemark #10247966 (born 2010) HG1AEAAFB
    Food Trap Captured 05/11/15 (CO0162) West Douglas Creek
    Freezemark # 13247965 (born 2013) HG1AAAAAB
    Food Trap Captured 5/11/15 (CO0162) West Douglas Creek

    Both are now in BLM’s Canon City maintenance facility (COF85) Canon City Maintenance Facility


  5. No excess wild horses exist in the West Douglas Herd Area and Piceance/East Douglas Herd Management Area. The BLM’s own documents make clear that human development (intensive oil drilling activity) and livestock grazing – not wild horse overpopulation – threatens the Thriving Natural Ecological Balance in these areas. BLM is not really interested in range conditions. No one believes the wild horses and burros are being removed because of range conditions or lack of water. The BLM has been trying to “zero out” (eliminate all wild horses from) the West Douglas HA for years and the agency makes it clear that energy development/oil drilling in the area and the desire to continue to allocate forage for livestock grazing are the reasons behind the agency’s desire to eliminate these horses.


  6. We are going backwards into barbarism similiar to when the american bison were being annihilated. When is the BLM going to wake up and realize the harm they are doing to the gene pools.
    They are literally becoming the most hated in America, right up there with the IRS.


  7. Shared fb and twitter. They want to get rid of Grizzlies from park areas too. Why not prohibit people instead????


  8. Don’t know if it will do any good, but I went on Rangley’s website & suggested that someone might be interested in questioning this removal – or changing the picture on their website to cows! Actually I was much more polite than this sounds like.

    Liked by 1 person

Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.