Navajo Nation Exploring Wild Horse Management Plan

About 48,000 feral horses reside on the nation’s 18 million-acre reservation spanning Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah.
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In an effort to control the population of unbranded free-roaming horses competing for resources on tribal lands, the Navajo Nation announced it would consider allowing permitted hunters to harvest the animals. But, according to Gloria Tom, Navajo Nation Department of Fish and Wildlife (NNDFW) director, hunting is just one strategy the nation is investigating to manage the herds.

Tom said an independent 2016 survey underwritten by a Bureau of Indian Affairs grant revealed that about 48,000 feral horses reside on the nation’s 18 million-acre reservation spanning Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Those horses compete with elk and deer for dwindling rangeland resources, she said.

“We’ve had a lot of overpopulation issues with horses,” Tom said. “Forage is an issue, and water is always a concern.”

Previously the nation used gathers to help stem herd growth, but the tactic was not highly successful, Tom said. Now the NNDFW has established a team charged with studying a multi-faceted approach to keeping the number of feral horses in check

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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