”Growing numbers of wild horses and burros, coupled with the increased environmental degradation caused by large populations, leads to lower vegetative quality and availability. Horses and burros who cannot find enough food will suffer a long, drawn out death from starvation.”
posted by Marjorie Haun
Information compiled from the National Wild Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition website
Improved management actions are needed to protect Native Wildlife
Elk, mule deer, pronghorn, sage-grouse, bighorn sheep, lizards, and suites of other native wildlife rely on our public rangelands to survive. The well-being of these wildlife, including threatened and endangered species, are put at risk by the growing populations of horses and burros.
Compete for Food and Water
Horses and burros must share resources with our native wildlife. As horse and burro populations continue to increase, they consume more and more of these scarce resources needed by wildlife. This not only causes competition between native wildlife and non-native horses and burros, but also between horse and burro populations that have far exceeded appropriate management levels.
Horses and burros can interact directly with native wildlife, and often interactions are not friendly. The dominance of horses in size often causes native wildlife to avoid the areas in which they are present. This has been well documented in resource-rich areas such as waterholes.
Habitat conditions can be greatly impacted by horses and burros. These animals’ grazing behavior, unique among ungulates, reduces vegetation cover and spreads invasive plants, causing a decrease in the quality of habitat for native wildlife species.
Improved management is needed to protect Wild Horses and Burros
Wild horses and burros are extremely overpopulated on our nation’s public rangelands. There are currently more than 72,000 horses and burros on rangelands that can only support 27,000. As a result, wild horses and burros are at risk of dying painful deaths from starvation
Drier hotter weather has been causing droughts to occur more frequently and with more intensity. As wild horse and burro populations continue to grow, the competition for remaining water leads to many horses and burros incapable of obtaining enough to drink and dying from dehydration. Death from dehydration is a slow, agonizing process. The animal will suffer from extreme thirst, severe cramping, and become lethargic before their blood pressure becomes so low that their heart can no longer beat.
Growing numbers of wild horses and burros, coupled with the increased environmental degradation caused by large populations, leads to lower vegetative quality and availability. Horses and burros who cannot find enough food will suffer a long, drawn out death from starvation. And horses and burros who are barely eating enough to survive will find themselves at greater risk of mortality from other sources such as disease.
Wild Horse and Burro Management Challenges and Opportunities, presented at the National Wild Horse and Burro Summit. Presenters are: Jacob Henning, Derek Scasta, Jeff Beck (University of Wyoming)
Free Range Report