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Follow us! Mark Watring


that is using the resources, as part of the multiple-use mission.


HT: How do you regulate the population of these wild ani- mals?


AMY: The wild horses and bur- ros do remarkably well out in the desert despite the prety harsh conditions under which they live. The burros actually evolved in the hot deserts in north Africa, so they are very well-suited to the areas in which they live. The horses have adapted very well to where they live. They don’t have many predators these days to help keep the herds in check. The BLM tries to reduce the numbers to a level where the animals will not damage their habitat. We do that to protect the herds and the habitat in which the animals live. If you have too many animals out there, they end up overgrazing the habitat, or there may not be enough water for them, or other wildlife, and the animals suffer. That’s not what we want to happen. Our job is to make sure that these animals do not suffer and always have a place to live in the wild.


HT: The fact that they are repro- ducing so rapidly puts them in a position of needing management.


AMY: Because these animals are so fecund, the BLM has to remove some of them. Otherwise, they damage their habitat, and could suffer from lack of food and/or water. BLM hires con- tractors to gather these ani- mals to reduce the population numbers. We use a helicopter because we are covering a lot of land where the animals live. The helicopter pilot is very aware of the horses’ behaviors and the herd behaviors, and uses the helicopter much like a shepherd uses a sheep dog — like a border collie — to move the herd. The pilot, because the helicopter can hover and move slowly, pushes Continued on next page


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