By DENNIS WEBB, Aug 2, 2022
The Bureau of Land Management by the end of the weekend had rounded up more than 850 wild horses in an operation in Rio Blanco County amid continuing concerns about the safety of the animals.
That concern was accentuated when some animals ran into an unmarked fence late last week.
The agency was reporting as of Monday morning that 853 animals had been gathered so far in the operation involving the Piceance-East Douglas herd west/southwest of Meeker and southeast of Rangely with 723 of them being shipped to a holding facility in Axtell, Utah.
Of those totals, 164 foals have been gathered, and 155 shipped to Axtell.
Scott Wilson, a photographer and a spokesperson for the American Wild Horse Campaign, was observing the operation at the time. He said he watched horses running, and then saw one suddenly flip over barbed wire onto its back. Then a gray foal hit the fence or tripped on the first horse and also went down. A third horse then had to jump over the fence or [his] mother, he said.
Those roundup numbers do not include any horses rounded up and removed on Monday.
The BLM has been trying to round up as many as 1,150 of the horses, permanently removing 750 of them and treating some more with temporary fertility-control drugs.
It is eventually hoping to reduce the herd’s numbers to between 135 to 235, which it considers the appropriate level for a range that also is used by wildlife and livestock, and impacted in recent years by drought.
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