Drought poses threat to USA's wild horses

Published: 25th July 2018 12:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2018 12:42 PM  

Wild horses
Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and spurring extreme measures to protect them. For what they say is the first time, volunteer groups in Arizona and Colorado are hauling thousands of gallons of water and truckloads of food to remote grazing grounds where springs have run dry and vegetation has disappeared. (Photo | AP)
Wild horses
Federal land managers also have begun emergency roundups in desert areas of Utah and Nevada. 'We've never seen it like this,' said Simone Netherlands, president of the Arizona-based Salt River Wild Horse Management Group. In May, dozens of horses were found dead on the edge of a dried-up watering hole in northeastern Arizona. (Photo | AP)
Wild horses
Parts of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico are under the most severe category of drought, though extreme conditions are present from California to Missouri, government analysts say. Parts of the region have witnessed some of the driest conditions on record, amid a cycle of high temperatures and low snowmelt that appears to be getting worse, National Weather Service hydrologist Brian McInerney said. (Photo | AP)
Horses
The dry conditions have fed wildfires that have destroyed hundreds of buildings across the West. This month, a firefighter was killed battling a blaze near California's Yosemite National Park. The federal Bureau of Land Management — which oversees vast expanses of public land, mostly in the West — says the problem facing wild horses stems from overpopulation aggravated by severe drought. The region is home to roughly 67,000 wild horses. (Photo | AP)
Wild horses
Once the horses are rounded up, the government gives them veterinary treatment and offers them for sale or adoption. Those that aren't sold or adopted are transferred to privately contracted corrals and pastures for the long term. A similar emergency roundup began this month in central Nevada, where officials said some horses in a herd of 2,100 could die from lack of water in coming weeks. The operation was quickly halted, ironically because of extreme rain, but will likely resume. (Photo | AP)
Wild horses
Roughly 200 miles (320 kilometers) north, a couple near Gray Mountain, on the Navajo Nation, have spearheaded an effort to leave water and food for horses they say would die without human intervention. In western Colorado, volunteers say they're preparing to bring up to 5,000 gallons (18,900 liters) of water per day to a herd of 750 thirsty horses. (Photo | AP)
Horse
Wild horse advocates have balked at the Bureau of Land Management's insistence that wild horse populations are too high. Critics say the agency is using dry conditions as a smoke screen to shrink horse populations in response to pressure from ranchers whose livestock compete with the horses for grazing land. (Photo | AP)
Horses
The agency is prohibited from euthanizing the wild horses it rounds up, though President Donald Trump has proposed allowing the animals to be killed or sold for slaughter. Activists in Nevada held a rally last week at the bureau's state headquarters in Reno to protest a planned roundup later this year. (Photo | AP)
Critics want the government to instead use birth control to manage wild horse populations. (Photo | AP)
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