NGO Alleges Fed’l Govt Planned Removal of Wild Horses from North Lander Complex Exceeds Legal Authority

Leading Wild Horse Organization Formally Objects To Agency Plans


(CHEYENNE, Wyo., June 26) – On June 24, 2024, American Wild Horse Conservation (AWHC)  issued a formal objection to the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) current plans to remove wild horses from the North Lander Wild Horse Complex. The planned removal would reduce the horse population below the legally mandated low Appropriate Management Level (AML), a move that AWHC argues exceeds BLM's authority and violates federal law.


The North Lander complex has an AML range of 320-536 wild horses. Current estimates from the BLM indicate a population of 3,035 wild horses, based on the latest infrared census conducted in August 2023 and foaling projections for 2024. This count includes an estimated addition of 19% for foals, which brings the adult horse count to approximately 2,458.


 According to the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Management Handbook (2010), the AML applies to the number of adult wild horses or burros and does not include the current year’s foals.


However, despite this data and policy, the BLM has announced plans to remove 2,715 horses from the Complex. Considering that there are only approximately 2,458 adult horses in the complex, this proposed action would drastically reduce the population to levels far below the low AML of 320, and in fact, could potentially result in the removal of all horses from the range. This, according to AWHC, is a clear violation of the BLM’s guidelines and federal law.


"The BLM's current plan blatantly and grossly exceeds its authority to remove 'excess' wild horses," said Suzanne Roy, executive director of AWHC. “This action would decimate the wild horse population in the North Lander Complex, violating the very laws designed to protect these iconic animals."


Under the Free Roaming Wild Horses and Burros Act of 1971, the BLM is prohibited from capturing wild horses on public lands except under specific circumstances where horses are deemed in excess. The current figures and plans clearly show that the planned removals do not comply with these legal requirements.


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.