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Stop the roundup of the Wild Horses of the Wyoming Checkerboard

The BLM is again targeting the iconic horses of the Wyoming Checkerboard for a mass helicopter removal. This time the agency proposes to round up an astounding 3,500 wild horses — or nearly 40 percent from 3.4 million acres of habitat in the southern part of the state. The plan calls for drastically reducing the population to the low Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) of 1,550 wild horses in five federally designated Herd Management Areas (HMAs): Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin, White Mountain, and Little Colorado. The BLM is also proposing to treat and release 290 mares with PZP and unproven IUDs. Also under consideration: an alternative to surgically sterilize 100 mares, castrate 100 stallions, treat the remaining released mares with an immuncontraceptive vaccine and skew the sex ration of the population to 60% stallions and 40% mares.

Brown Wild Mustang Horse

This mass roundup plan will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and it will cost these historic wild horses their families, their freedom, and, for many, their lives. The cruel policy is driven by commercial interests, in particular, the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA), whose members graze their cattle and sheep on public lands. Indeed, an average of more than 8,000 privately cattle have grazed in the five HMAs annually over the last 10 years.

The RSGA sees federally-protected wild horses as competitionn for cheap forage resources on our public lands, and has been demanding their removal since. 2011. Over the last decade, AWHC has been involved in litigation against the RSGA to defend the wild horses in this area and has amassed numerous court victories, including at the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. We intend to continue the legal fight to defend Wyoming’s wild horses and to rally public opposition to this plan.


Taking action on these steps should only take you a few minutes and could make a huge difference, so please complete all if you can!

1. The Bureau of Land Management is using a portal to accept comments on its plan. Submit your comments directly to the portal before April 30, 2021! It’s important that you customize your message, but please view our talking points for reasons why this roundup and removal should not stand!

These talking points are here for you to use as a guide for your comment on the Wyoming Checkerboard Plan. Please personalize your message as much as possible and send it to the Bureau of Land Management through the link below

  • The wild horses of the Wyoming Checkerboard are important ecotourism resources, yet the BLM has entirely ignored the impact of their removal on the local tourism economy and on recreational users of these public lands who enjoy wild horse viewing and photography.
  • The BLM’s plan would decimate the wild horse population in the area of the Pilot Butte Wild Horse Scenic Loop outside Rock Springs. This scenic loop is heavily promoted by Sweetwater County as a tourism destination that provides a glimpse of the “pure and untamed West” and evidence that “the American spirit still thrives.’
  • The plan calls for the removal of the Wyoming wild horse to low AML, leaving a mere 1,550 mustangs on over 3.4 million acres of habitat. This would leave only one horse for every 1,600 acres! The AML should be re-evaluated to maintain a self-sustaining, genetically viable population of wild horses across the Wyoming Checkerboard.
  • The BLM’s propose alternative calls for the indiscriminate use of non-permanent fertility control, including IUDs, after the majority of wild horses are rounded up and removed. The BLM should prioritize humane, non-permanent fertility control, like PZP, over mass roundups, pursuant to the recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences.
  • The BLM is also considering an alternative (IV) in the Environmental Assessment to surgically sterilize 100 mares, castrate 100 stallions, treat the remaining released mares with immunocontraception and unnaturally skew the sex ratio of the wild horse population to 60% stallions and 40% mares. The final EA should reject Alternative IV, the surgical sterilization option, and instead prioritize humane and fiscally responsible on-range management.
  • PZP has over 30 years of proven efficacy and should be the preferred tool for humane population management in the Checkerboard.
  • IUDs have not been proven humane or effective in wild, free-roaming herds and should be eliminated from further analysis.
  • The BLM plan calls for removal of wild horses who have traveled outside of HMA boundaries. Instead of immediate removal, the BLM should make every effort to relocate those horses within the boundary.
  • Wild horse preservation should be prioritized, in line with the wishes of 80% of Americans who want to keep wild horses wild, over the private interests of the livestock industry, particularly the RSGA.

Submit your comments to the BLM here by April 30, 2021! <<

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