Leading Wild Horse Organization Asks Fed'l Gov to Reconsider Helicopter Roundup for CO Little Book Cliffs Wild Horses

(Grand Junction, Colo., June 17) – American Wild Horse Conservation submitted official comments on a preliminary environmental assessment related to the proposed roundup of Colorado’s Little Book Cliffs wild horses. The comments, submitted to the Colorado office of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) on Friday afternoon, urged the BLM to reconsider its proposed management plan and instead support local efforts to expand the fertility control program for this historic herd.


Home to an estimated 211 wild horses on 36,000 acres of public land near Grand Junction, Little Book Cliffs is the only dedicated wild horse range in Colorado – distinct from a multiple-use herd management area (HMA) – meaning the habitat is managed primarily for wild horses and there is no competition from livestock grazing.


The proposed federal BLM plan allows for an initial helicopter roundup of 140 wild horses, permanently removing 120 and returning 20 to the range. It also calls for further roundups over a multi-year period to achieve and maintain a target population range (AML) of just 90-150 wild horses, which AWHC suggests is incredibly low provided there is no competition from livestock grazing. 


The comment period just closed; the BLM now must review all comments and ultimately decide on the fate of the Little Book Cliffs wild horses.


“Past helicopter roundups of wild horses in our state resulted in pleas to tell the BLM to end helicopter roundups and the creation of a bill, SB23-275, The Colorado Wild Horse Project – to lessen the need for helicopter roundups by investing in humane fertility control options,” AWHC spokesperson Scott Wilson. “There’s a reason over 6,200 taxpayers signed onto our comments calling for a re-assessment of Little Book Cliffs and 10,718 letters were sent directly to the BLM’s Colorado office.


“Little Book Cliffs provides an opportunity to support and expand the on-range fertility control model, consistent with the intent of The Colorado Wild Horse Project. We ask for collaboration among stakeholders. There’s a better approach for Little Book Cliffs.” 


Instead, such a plan for Little Book Cliffs should: 


  • Collaborate with the Colorado Wild Horse Working Group on a modified wild horse management plan to expand the existing humane fertility control program in Little Book Cliffs and reduce the proposed helicopter roundup operation and its associated cost and public concern;
  • Re-evaluate the AML to allow for a genetically viable herd using up-to-date science and range data to guide management decisions; 
  • Expand fertility control using only the humane and reversible PZP vaccine;
  • Abandon IUDs within the suite of population control methods;
  • Ensure any roundup is done in strict compliance with the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Guidelines;
  • And, work with local organizations, like Friends of the Mustangs, to find good adoptive homes for any removed mare before they ship to BLM holding facilities.


About American Wild Horse Conservation

American Wild Horse Conservation (AWHC) is the nation’s leading nonprofit wild horse conservation organization, with more than 700,000 supporters and followers nationwide. AWHC is dedicated to preserving the American wild horse and burros in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage. In addition to advocating for the protection and preservation of America’s wild herds, AWHC implements the largest wild horse fertility control program in the world through a partnership with the State of Nevada for wild horses that live in the Virginia Range near Reno.