The Idaho State Journal reports that the Bureau of Land Management is testing a new fertility control vaccine it hopes will curtail their numbers.
The new vaccine tests began last week in Carson City, Nev., a state where most of the nation’s wild horse population exists.
While wild horses are often treated with a fertility vaccine, the current treatment in use is only effective for about a year and horses must be gathered annually and retreated.
Idaho’s BLM wild horse specialist Heather Tiel-Nelson said a new, long-lasting fertility vaccine would help curb the population explosion.
“We generally apply the porcine zona pellucida (vaccine),” she said. “It’s pretty temporary. It might be effective for that first year, but it’s really not that effective after that. We’ve been applying that to all of our mares we return to the range for a lot of years now. What we’re finding, not just here in Idaho but nationwide is it simply isn’t effective to curb the population growth like we need it to be.”
The BLM estimates that there are 95,000 wild horses and burros in herds across the West compared to 27,000 in 1971 when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Tiel-Nelson said Idaho’s wild horse population is easier to manage than Nevada’s.
Featured Image: Mustang mare and foal. Nevada. Las Vegas Review-Journal.