About 80 horses live off the land at Mesa Verde National Park (photo: The Journal file)
Mesa Verde National park prefers removal of ‘trespass horses’
Proposal includes five-year capture plan and a last resort
By Jim Mimiaga Journal Staff Writer
Mesa Verde National Park is seeking public comment on a plan to remove free-roaming horses and cattle from the park’s interior.
Currently, about 80 “trespass horses” and 12 feral cattle roam the backcountry of Mesa Verde, which is known for its Ancestral Puebloan ruins. The animals are not considered wildlife, and the park does not allow livestock grazing under its management policy.
On Friday, a Livestock Removal Environmental Assessment was released for a 30-day public comment period on the issue. The park’s preferred Alternative B includes a phased, proactive approach to remove all livestock within five years, and improve the park’s boundary fencing over the next 10 years to prevent livestock from re-entering the park.
“We are working on how to humanely remove livestock from the park and identify potential homes for captured, unclaimed livestock,” said Mesa Verde National Park Superintendent Cliff Spencer. The primary capture methods identified in the preferred alternative include baited pen trapping and horseback roundups.
The National Park Service will coordinate with the Colorado Brand Inspection Division and local brand inspectors to identify possible owners of the trespass livestock, and will follow the most humane methods as defined by the American Veterinarian Medical Association, the park said.
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HOW TO COMMENT:
The 30-day public comment period for the draft Livestock Removal Environmental Assessment opened on Friday, April 13. Comments are requested by Sunday, May 13.
The public comment site is available online at bit.ly/2JL0CFK
A printed copy will be available for review at the Mesa Verde
Categories: Wild Horses/Mustangs