US plans 50% more wild horse roundups amid Western drought

RENO, Nev. (AP) — U.S. land managers have begun efforts to capture about 50% more wild horses than originally planned this year because of severe drought across the U.S. West. The emergency roundups that began Sunday and Monday target about 6,000 additional animals primarily in Nevada, Oregon and Colorado.

The Bureau of Land Management says the expanded effort concentrates on places where “chronic overpopulation” of the herds has stretched available food and water to their limits.

Horse advocates say the emergency roundups are being driven by pressure from ranchers who don’t want wild horses competing with their livestock for limited forage and water. The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association says ranchers have voluntarily reduced and rotated grazing on federal lands during the drought.

The bureau already has gathered 1,200 animals this year and originally intended to round up about 12,000. The new effort would push the total to about 18,000 across 10 Western states from Montana to California.

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