Drought forces emergency measures for US West’s wild horses

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and forcing extreme measures to protect them.

Federal land managers have begun emergency roundups in the deserts of western Utah and central Nevada. And volunteers in Arizona and Colorado are hauling thousands of gallons of water and truckloads of food for wild horses on remote grazing grounds.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says the current conditions are a problem of overpopulation aggravated by the severe drought.

Wild horse conservationists balk at the idea that wild horse populations are too high. They suspect the government wants to remove horses from the wild in response to pressure from ranchers whose livestock compete with horses for grazing land.