““This is illegal, and will most likely bring the number of wild horses remaining below the low appropriate management level in each of these three herd management areas…”
ROCK SPRINGS — The Bureau of Land Management finished gathering wild horses from three herd management areas Tuesday, a week after it was briefly halted.
The roundup was stopped last week amid a legal dispute over whether the BLM should count foals in its roundup. There were concerns that the rate of the roundup would surpass the previously stated goal of 1,560 horses, the Associated Press reported.
The issue came to light not through the BLM’s public decision-making process but only when government officials told horse advocates how they were counting the horses, the lawsuit claimed. Not counting foals deviates from past BLM practice, said William Eubanks, an attorney for the wild horse advocates.
A total of 408 dependent foals were removed with their mares and are counted in addition to the 1,560 wild horses, BLM Public Affairs Specialist Tony Brown told the Rocket-Miner. This brings the total of wild horses collected to 1,968.
Instead of only removing 1,560 horses, which the BLM had deemed as excess during its National Environmental Policy Act documentation and Environmental Assessment, it removed an additional 408 wild horses, she said in an email.
“This is illegal, and will most likely bring the number of wild horses remaining below the low appropriate management level in each of these three herd management areas,” she said. “This is why we brought the lawsuit.”