The Bureau of Land Management will hear public feedback about the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles to round up wild horses at a meeting next month.
Wild Horse Specialist Ben Smith says the agency plans to remove nearly 600 feral horses in south-central Wyoming this year, leaving more than eleven-hundred on range land.
“The helicopter hearing is a hearing that we’re required annually to hold, to get the feedback from the public on the use of helicopters and motorized vehicles in wild horse and burro management,” says Smith.
Smith says the BLM removes excess feral horses in order to maintain a healthy landscape and healthy horses. He notes that there is a long history of concern about wild horse management and worry about the impact of stress on animals, but adds that he BLM currently uses helicopters and motorized vehicles to move horses into holding areas no more than 10 miles away.
“The nice thing about a helicopter is that you can move horses at their pace, you don’t have to make them run,” says Smith, “The helicopter pilots that we use are very experienced. The downside to it is that it can cause some stress, you know, just the sound of a helicopter and them moving, can create stress on horses.”
Although the BLM uses other methods to round horses up, such as luring them with water troughs, the agency maintains that aerial and motorized methods are the fastest and safest way to manage herds. The meeting will be at the Rawlins field office at 5:30 PM on June 6th.