WASHINGTON, Oct. 7 (UPI) — Wild horses crowding the West would head to the Midwest and the East under a plan unveiled by U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar.
Some 37,000 of the animals roam in the range and another 32,000 are in enclosed pastures or corrals in 10 Western states, The (Portland) Oregonian reported Wednesday.
“We must consider siting these preserves in areas outside of Western States because water and forage are extremely limited in the West and drought and wildfire threaten both rangeland and animal health,” Salazar said.
Salazar and Bureau of Land Management Director Bob Abbey want the BLM to own and operate two new preserves and partner with private organizations to form five more. The seven preserves would hold 25,000 horses.
Although the two public preserves would cost about $92 million, Salazar said they would save the taxpayers money in the long run and help the horses. The plan needs congressional approval.
His plan also includes sterilization and management of sex ratios on the range to limit births.
The BLM tries to find people to adopt horses, but the recession has slowed adoptions.
Copyright 2009 by United Press International