What impact to wild horses have on their habitat, and how and where do they move throughout the year? A joint research project conducted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and University of Wyoming aims to gather more data to help answer these questions.
In order to outfit the horses with radio collars, Mustangs will be rounded up using bait trapping. This method involves setting up corrals in the HMA and securing them once the herd has entered. They will not use helicopters to herd the horses into the pens as has been done in some BLM round-ups. There will also be no horses removed from the range for this study. The selected mares will be temporarily moved to be outfitted with collars, then released near the same area from which they were corralled. The horses who are corralled but not selected for the study will be released immediately once the selected horses have been sorted out from the group.
The study is being conducted by Derek Scasta and Jeff Beck of the University of Wyoming’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management with assistance from Ph.D. student Jake Hennig. According to a news release from UW, the BLM has said it will use information learned in the study to “ensure wild horse herds continue to thrive on healthy rangelands.”
The public will be allowed to view the horses at the wild horse holding facility in Rock Springs, Wyoming, where the mares will be outfitted with the radio collars. There will also be public viewing permitted when the mares are released back to the HMA after collaring. Anyone interested in visiting either of these locations to see the horses is asked to contact BLM Public Affairs Officer Tony Brown at 307-352-0215.
Leslie Potter is a writer and photographer based in Lexington, Kentucky. www.lesliepotterphoto.com