The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced plans to remove over 325 wild horses from the Onaqui Mountains Herd. This would be a 72 percent reduction of the 450-member herd.
The herd roams over 240,000 acres and is very popular with tourists, photographers, campers and ATVers. It helps drive dollars to Tooele County.
The Onaqui herd has little of the controversy that surrounds other wild herds. There is plenty of forage and water for wildlife, cattle, sheep and horses. The horses are not competing with ranching interests.
Resource impacts, sage grouse habitat and wildfire restoration are reasons given for the removal. The horses have some impact, but it’s minor in comparison to the thousands of sheep and cattle. This gather seems more like a top-down edict from the Department of the Interior.
If only 121 horses are left on the range, we’d have greatly diminished viewing opportunities and probably genetic inbreeding.
Instead of removing as many horses, the BLM should increase the number of doses of contraception our group helps administer to the Onaqui.
Save the herd!
Jim Schnepel, executive director of the Wild Horses of America Foundation
Salt Lake City