US plans 50% more wild horse roundups amid Western drought

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FILE – In this July 13, 2008, file photo, a livestock helicopter pilot rounds up wild horses from the Fox & Lake Herd Management Area in Washoe County, Nev., near the town on Empire, Nev. Federal land managers say they’re beginning to capture about 50% more horses than they originally planned this year across public U.S. rangeland across the West because of severe drought conditions, about 6,000 additional animals primarily in Nevada, Oregon and Colorado. Horse protection advocates critical of the move said the emergency roundups are being driven by pressure from ranchers who don’t want the mustangs competing with their livestock for limited forage and water on drought-stricken range. (AP Photo/Brad Horn, File)

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.

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