Wild horses could go to
The Bureau of Land Management has more
wild horses and burros than it knows what to do with. Officials
estimate that over 45,000 live on Western range with a carrying
capacity of only 27,000 (HCN, 03/02/98: Colorado BLM going wild?).
This year, with rangelands battered by severe drought, the question
of where to put the animals has some officials looking across the
In August, Merle Edsall, a rancher and
horse trainer in Montana and Arizona, suggested sending 10,000 wild
horses to a sanctuary in Sonora, Mexico. Edsall would lease the
land from Mexican landowners and use BLM money to care for the
Animal rights groups, however, fear for
the safety of the horses. "If the BLM would manage wild horses
according to the Wild Horse and Burro Act, there would be no need
to send these horses to Mexico," says Barbara Flores of the
Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition. The act set aside 300 herd
areas, she says, but the BLM has reduced that to about 150 areas.
For now, Edsall's proposal is on hold. "It's an
interesting idea," says the BLM's John Fend. But there is one main
obstacle to the proposal: determining whether the BLM can legally
place the horses outside U.S. borders and still give them the
protection of the Wild Horse and Burro Act.