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The Two Sides to Onaqui Mountain Wild Horse Population

The Two Sides to Onaqui Mountain Wild Horse Population
December 18
06:00 2018

Where do YOU stand on the population control measures being proposed for wild horses in the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area?

Here is the BLM’s plan:

SALT LAKE CITY—The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Salt Lake Field Office signed a Decision Record today authorizing population control measures for wild horses in the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA).  Population control measures will include enhanced use of fertility control vaccines and the gather and removal of excess wild horses from the HMA.

Chronic wild horse overpopulation is damaging to the long-term health of wild horse herds, other wildlife and the land on which they all depend.  The objectives of the approved population control measures are to slow the herd’s population growth and achieve and maintain a balance between wild horses on the range and other public land resources.

Fertility control vaccines will be administered through field darting.  Wild horses will be gathered using bait and water traps.  Helicopter capture methods will also be employed, the first of which is tentatively scheduled for 2019.  Gather details will be posted on the BLM.gov website when available.

The current population of the Onaqui HMA is estimated at 586.  The BLM has identified the appropriate management level to be between 121 and 210 wild horses.  This population size was determined based on public input, vegetation inventories, allocation of forage, and other resource considerations, in order to support wild horses in balance with other uses and values on public land.

The impacts of the population control measures are described and analyzed in the Onaqui Mountain HMA Population Control EA.  The EA and Decision Record are posted on the BLM ePlanning website at: https://go.usa.gov/xQQFE.

BLM staff and veterinarians will prepare horses removed from the range for BLM’s adoption and sale program.  For more information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro website at www.blm.gov/whb or call (866) 468-7826.

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Here is what the American Wild Horse Campaign says:

Salt Lake City, Utah (December 14, 2018)…The American Wild Horse Campaign today issued the following statement in response to the BLM’s announcement that it intends to round up and remove 465 wild horses from the Onaqui Herd Management Area in Utah early next year.

“The BLM’s decision to round up and remove 91 percent of the existing population of wild horses in the Onaqui Herd Management Area (HMA) in Utah is inhumane and fiscally irresponsible, costing taxpayers millions of dollars.

This is one of the most popular and accessible wild horse herds in the West and there is no reason that the BLM cannot manage these American mustangs in their designated habitat on our public lands. The Onaqui wild horses should not pay the price for the BLM’s failure to adequately use scientifically proven birth control to humanely manage this federally-protected wild horse population. By modestly reducing extensive commercial cattle and sheep grazing in this public lands area, the BLM could accommodate the current number of Onaqui horses and reduce the herd size over time through a robust fertility control program. AWHC has offered to assist the BLM with the remote darting of horses with the PZP immunocontraceptive vaccine and help fund the fertility control program, but the BLM has not accepted this offer of a public private partnership for the management of this cherished herd.

The Onaqui mustangs are beloved by citizens throughout the world and provide an important ecotourism resource for the Tooele, Utah area. The BLM’s plan to round up and remove 465 Onaqui horses will rob these iconic symbols of the American West of their freedom and tear apart the wild horse families that people all over the world have come to know and love. This roundup will generate massive public opposition, which the BLM could avoid by cancelling the roundup in favor of a humane and sustainable long term wild horse management plan.”

The Onaqui HMA is a 321-square-mile public lands area on which the BLM allows just 121-210 wild horses while authorizing hundreds of privately owned cattle and sheep to graze the same area.

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The American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) is a national wild horse advocacy organization whose grassroots mission is endorsed by a coalition of more than 60 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.

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