The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is currently revising land use plans in Wyoming that will have a drastic effect on wild horses in the McCullough Peaks and Fifteenmile Herd Management Areas (HMAs).
The revision of the Bighorn Basin Resource Management Plan (RMP), which is being drafted by the BLM’s Cody and Worland field offices, is being developed to set land use allocations that will affect the area over the next 15 to 20 years.
The current plan includes an additional five HMAs that were designated for wild horses when the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 was enacted. The revised plans intend to “zero out” these areas for wild horses to make room for private livestock grazing, despite a proposal to expand the McCullough Peaks HMA by 10,000 acres.
“Currently, BLM authorizes at least 85 times more private livestock than wild horses (the equivalent of 25,404 cow/calf pairs vs. 300 horses) to graze in the Bighorn Basin planning area. All but 22 acres of the McCullough Peaks and Fifteenmile HMAs are open to livestock grazing,” according to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign.
The AWHPC also points out that the BLM is using numbers to determine Authorized Management Levels (AMLs) for wild horses that were set decades ago, making them inaccurate, or “artificially low.”
The BLM is accepting public comments until Wednesday September 7. Please send a letter through the AWHPC or submit a comment directly to the BLM asking them to stop caving to special interests and to increase AMLs for wild horses and restore wild horse populations in areas that have been zeroed out for livestock.
Photo credit: RickC via flickr