Wild horses are slated to be rounded up at Theodore Roosevelt National Park in western North Dakota. The park maintains a demonstration herd of what it calls feral horses to commemorate the wild horses that roamed the badlands when Theodore Roosevelt ranched in the area during the 1880s. Park officials say the herd has grown to more than 200 animals, beyond the ideal size for the park of fewer than 100 and must be thinned to protect from overgrazing.
The park also plans to launch a horse birth control experiment during the roundup.
"Once you have resource damage it's really difficult to fix it so we don't want to get to that point," said Eileen Andes, the park spokeswoman. "Our aim for the park is to maintain our wildlife populations for the public enjoyment but also to protect the resource and that's a balance that we have to continually work on."
About 100 of the horses will be sold at public auction in Wishek on Sept. 28.
The park has conducted more than 25 horse roundups since 1954. The park's last horse roundup, in 2009, led eight of 77 auctioned horses to wind up on the "kill market," where horses are bought for slaughter.
Members of some national organizations have said they are working to save the mustangs and find them homes. The Cloud Foundation, based in Colorado Springs, Colo., and Legacy Mustang Preservation, based in Louisa, Va., have joined forces in Operation Badlands Mustang Rescue. The groups have pledged to buy as many as 24 of the horses.
Source: The Associated Press