There are few images of the American West more iconic than a herd of mustangs thundering over a sage-dotted plateau, led by a feisty stallion. If you’re lucky enough to witness wild horses in the West, you’re sure to feel awe, sensing a measure of freedom that has become elusive in our contemporary age. Yet the presence of wild horses on the landscape is fraught with controversy. Their growing numbers have intensified ecological and social challenges in communities as they compete with cattle for grazing, alter native plant ecology, affect wildlife behavior, and challenge watershed function. And it’s expensive to manage them: the U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management spend millions annually on that effort. This webinar offers a look into the complexities of wild horses in the West. Learn about their natural history, the politics surrounding them including their federal protection under the Wild Horses and Burros Act, and the challenges of managing wild horse populations. Your host, Aaron Bott, a Nat Hab Expedition Leader based in the Rocky Mountain West, has exceptional personal insight into the topic as he is also a government wildlife biologist who participates in wild horse roundups.
Originally presented July 23, 2021
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