Deal reached in Nevada for cooperation over wild horses

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Wild horse advocate Laura Leigh has been honored for her work.
Wild Horse Education founder Laura Leigh.

An agreement has been reached between the Nevada State Office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Wild Horse Education founder Laura Leigh on cooperative efforts to address aspects of the state’s wild horse and burro range management program.

This agreement, reached last week, is the result of more than two years of talks between the agency and Leigh on creating volunteerism and partnerships within the program.

Public land management issues are complex. Budget constraints and the recent years of drought have compounded escalating issues.

In 2013 the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) outlined problems in the program, and recommended collaborative partnerships. The NAS recommendations include collecting more rigorous foundational data, and fertility control.

Currently the agency has more than 46,800 wild horses in holding.

“Creating a solid foundation for both program decisions and a working relationship, are paramount to progress,” Leigh said.

“My work has always been about tool building. I have a history of needing to build those tools from an adversarial position. Issues are pressing and I am confident that working together we may be able to build tools faster.

“One of the tools sorely needed is an environment conducive to progress. That is first on the list. I look forward to seeing just how far we can take this.”

Nevada state director John Ruhs said: “The Nevada BLM takes our responsibility seriously to provide for public involvement and to have consistent dialogue with all our partners and stakeholders.

“Building partnerships is needed for the wild horse and burro program to succeed in the future, especially in assisting with resource monitoring and potentially increasing the use of fertility control.

“We are also looking for partners to help us increase the number of adoptions, since the lifetime cost of care for every unadopted horse living in a corral is $US48,000.”

Nevada manages more wild horses than all other states combined with more than 70 of its herd management areas over their established appropriate management levels (AML).

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