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Conference on wild horse and burro management and policy Nov. 3-5

By Bob Conrad



Wild and estray horse and burro management policy in the U.S. can be very controversial and polarizing. Natural resource professionals are now indicating that the dynamics and limits of natural ecosystems and current economic realities have collectively given rise to a situation that is not sustainable. In the past, federal and private land managers have often been pitted against horse owners and advocates. As a consequence, a tremendous burden has been placed upon the very habitats that sustain horses and burros as well as all other wildlife species.

Wild horses and burros have a very high capacity for increasing their populations in a free range scenario. With the domestic economic downturn, privately owned horses that can no longer be cared for by their owners, and without other viable disposal options, have been turned loose on public, Indian sovereign, and private lands, further exacerbating site specific overpopulation problems. Federal budgets designated for horse and burro management have increased, with incrementally more going to support long-term holding costs of unadoptable animals.

In some cases, overpopulation of horses and burros has led to numerous unintended consequences of the original federal authorization, including degradation of rangeland habitats, adversely affecting ecosystem functions, biodiversity, and other legally authorized land uses including other wildlife species that share the same habitats.

Rangeland management professionals, horse advocates, wildlife managers and advocacy groups, federal, state, county and municipal officers, congressional delegations and staffers, tribal leaders, and concerned citizens from Nevada and other states throughout the country are coming together in Reno/Sparks, Nev. on November 3-4-5 to search for solutions within the ecological, biological, and economic realities of today and the future.

The specific goal is to identify challenges and concerns regarding wild and estray horse and burro management policy, and develop realistic and achievable recommendations that will assist legislators and management agencies charged with the care and welfare of these animals and the habitats that support them.


What: Conference on Wild & Feral Horse and Burro Management and Policy

When: November 3-4-5th Where: John Ascuaga’s Nugget, Reno/Sparks, Nevada

Who: Current sponsors include: NV Section SRM, Society for Range Management, Bureau and Management, United Organizations of the Horse, University of Nevada-Reno College of Agriculture, Biotechnology and Natural Resources, Nevada Cooperative Extension

Register at: http://www.rangelands.org/cped.shtml. Printable registration form available.

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