GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (CBS4) —  The Bureau of Land Management has decided to remove up to 60 wild horses from the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range next month, officials announced Friday.

The move it part of an effort to “sustain a healthy viable wild horse population and reduce grazing pressure on forage plants.”

The BLM plans to use bait and water trapping to gather wild horses beginning in late August. Official said they may use a helicopter if they can’t reach their removal goals with bait/water trapping.

“We are seeing an increase in the wild horse population above the appropriate management level,” Katie Stevens, BLM Grand Junction Field Manager, stated. “The population levels have reached a point where a gather is necessary to ensure the horses and wildlife have enough forage to survive.”

Officials said the appropriate management level is 90 to 150 horses for the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range. They estimate there are currently about 190 wild horses in the area.

“The BLM will identify removal candidates with assistance from the Friends of the Mustangs, a local wild horse advocacy group,” BLM officials stated. “Wild horses five years old or younger will be the primary group identified for removal.”

Horses removed from the range will be transported to Cañon City to await adoption. Anyone interested in adopting a wild horse or burro can learn more at: www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/adoption-and-sales.

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