“The few remaining wild horses in Colorado just can’t catch a break. For years we fought via lawsuits to stop the assault and efforts of the BLM to zero out the few horses in the area (in favor of cattle and extraction interests). But even after they managed to decimate the herd and break apart the families of wild horses, last year, they still launch propaganda and a mush-mash of bogus numbers and misstatements to ramp up ire towards the equines while they contradict themselves through-out this mainstream media mouthpiece. It is all truly unbelievable…if we, as advocates, pushed forward such tripe and BS we would be flogged and assailed by the powers that manipulate the press to the point that we would never be relevant again.
False News at it’s finest, or should we say lowest?” ~ R.T.
Wild horse herd reduced a year ago is already growing again
A year after the Bureau of Land Management removed 167 horses from the lands around Texas Mountain west of Colorado Highway 139, the herd has grown, possibly to as many as 212 horses.
The agency conducted a horse gather in September 2015 for the 167 horses, an effort that left about 200 horses in the 128,000-acre West Douglas Herd Area, which is not managed for horses.
BLM officials conducted a count five months later using a helicopter and made a direct count of 177 individual horses.
Factoring in reproduction brings the estimate to 212 horses on land that the BLM deems suitable for a maximum of 30 horses.
“If anything it’s probably an underestimate,” BLM spokesman David Boyd said. “In country like West Douglas, you probably don’t see them all.”
In theory, there ought not be any horses in the rugged West Douglas area for the lack of summer range in the rough-and-tumble territory, but the lack of predators for wild horses leaves man to deal with their populations.
The natural predators of horses — dire wolves, short-faced bears, American lions — all died out in the Eocene Epoch, which ended 39 million years ago, along with the horses of that time. Once horses were reintroduced to North America, there were no predators to control their populations.
“What’s controlled these wild horse populations has been people all along,” Boyd said. Wild horses “are not part of this natural ecosystem.”
No more gathers are scheduled in the West Douglas areas, but the BLM hopes eventually to gather all the wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area, along with an estimated 100 outside any territory associated with wild horses, and place them in the 161,300-acre Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area.
“We want to bring the population inside the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area to within the population range of 135 to 235,” Boyd said.
Piceance-East Douglas is now estimated to have 458 wild horses.
West Douglas and Piceance East Douglas are separated by Colorado Highway 139, and more significantly, miles of fencing along the roadway. Wild horses won’t jump fences, which means the horses won’t leave West Douglas without human help.
To keep the existing herd on the Piceance-East Douglas area, the BLM plans to reconstruct nearly a mile of four-strand barbed wire near Duck Creek to keep the herd inside and to redevelop a spring on the north side of the management area to provide a reliable source of water in wet and dry years.