BLM Releases Plan to Remove 40 Percent of Wyoming’s Wild Horse Population

The American Wild Horse Campaign pushes back on BLM’s plan to remove over 3,500 wild horses from Wyoming.

Iconic American wild horses on the range. Photo by Shutterstock.

ROCK SPRINGS, WY  —  On April 5, the nation’s leading wild horse advocacy organization, the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC), assailed a plan by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to remove an iconic population of wild horses from over 2.5 million acres of designated habitat in the “Wyoming Checkerboard” in the southern part of the state.

The BLM’s plan would result in the permanent removal of over 3,500 wild horses — or nearly 40 percent of the state’s wild horse population. AWHC charged that the agency is turning the public lands over to the Rock Springs Grazing Association, a private organization whose members profit from cheap, taxpayer-subsidized grazing on public lands in Wyoming.

According to AWHC, the BLM already allocates more than 10 times more forage resources to privately-owned livestock than to federally-protected wild horses in the White Mountain and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas (HMAs), the five areas targeted for the massive roundup.

“These wild horses belong to all Americans, not just to a handful of ranchers who view them as competition for cheap, taxpayer-subsidized grazing and want them gone from the landscape,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the AWHC. “The BLM is legally mandated to protect and preserve wild horses, while livestock grazing occurs on our public lands entirely at the discretion of the government. What’s happening in Wyoming is a perversion of both the law and the public trust.”

AWHC has been involved in litigation against the Rock Springs Grazing Association to defend the wild horses in this area since 2011 and has amassed numerous court victories, including at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. AWHC said it intends to continue legal action to defend Wyoming wild horses and to rally public opposition to this plan.

“I am deeply saddened by the desire of the BLM to roundup and remove most of Wyoming wild horses on those that remain instead of humanely managing the wild horses in these iconic and unique herds where they belong on our public lands”, said Carol Walker, a co-plaintiff in previous lawsuits and a highly regarded wildlife photographer who has spent years documenting this herd.

About the American Wild Horse Campaign
The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is the nation’s leading wild horse protection organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. In addition to advocating for the protection and preservation of America’s wild herds, AWHC implements the largest wild horse fertility control program in the world through a partnership with the State of Nevada for wild horses that live in the Virginia Range near Reno.