RANGELY, Colo. (CBS4)– The Bureau of Land Management will start rounding up wild horses from a hotly-debated herd area on the far reaches of the Western Slope.
The Bureau of Land Management said there is not enough water to maintain a healthy herd in the West Douglas Herd Area south of Rangely.
There has been a federal lawsuit trying to keep the government from rounding up the horses for years but the judge in the case agreed with the BLM saying that 50 horses can be rounded up.
The horses on the southwestern side of Texas Mountain in rural Rio Blanco County have been living there for centuries, according to wild horse advocates.
That group is trying to keep the horses wild and many people have written to CBS4, claiming there is food and water and the horses are healthy.
BLM said because of the dry conditions this year, normal streams and water sources aren’t around.
Until now, government employees have been trucking in 500 gallons of water a day to try to help the herd.
“It’s natural for them to drink from water that’s on the ground. So we wanted to recreate that as much as possible,” said BLM Rangeland Management Specialist Tyerr Turner.
The BLM believes the horses will die if left in their location. That water runs through a maze of tubes and troughs trying to reach the endangered horses.
The wild horse advocates say that’s not true and cattle ranching in the area is the culprit for a diminished habitat for the wild horses.
The round up is expected to take about one month. It is a slow process where the horses are introduced to a new water habitat and slowly be fenced in.
They will then be taken to Canon City where BLM has a horse facility and the herd will go through a lengthy adoption process.