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Half of wild horse herds zeroed out since 1971

May 1, 2010

Nearly half of the wild horse and burro herds in the United States have been removed since 1971, a wild horse advocacy group says.

The Cloud Foundation say 47 per cent of herds have been zeroed out by the Bureau of Land Management in the last 39 years.

The group has launched a volunteer programme called Herd-Watch to monitor wild horse and burro herds - and roundups - across the western rangelands.

The foundation claims the horses and burros are "being managed to virtual extinction".

It says its Herd-Watch programme will be a watchdog for America's wild horses and burros, providing increased public visibility, as well as monitoring range conditions and animal numbers.

"The more the public knows about our wild herds, the more deeply they will care about their preservation," said project manager Laura Leigh, of Nevada.

"Through Herd-Watch we will educate and inform the public while protecting an American treasure.

"Herd-Watch is an exciting and interactive new development facilitating improved protections for our wild herds and, we hope, an improved dialogue with both the bureau and Forest Service."

A central database will keep tabs on each of America's remaining 180 herds on public lands in 10 western states and their ranges.

In 1971, 339 wild herds were designated for protection. Since then, 159 herds have been removed, including 12 in Nevada just last year.

Volunteer teams will log and catalogue data, photos and information following their visits to the range.

The foundation hopes that bureau and forest service officials will welcome the increased interest and monitoring of wild herds at no cost to taxpayers.

"Herd-Watch will remove our wild herds from the ranks of the anonymous," said foundation director Ginger Kathrens.

"Through the work of dedicated volunteers, the public will learn about each amazing herd of wild horses and burros and what can be done to preserve them for all time, as the Wild Horse and Burro Act intended."



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