Wyoming is seeking to intervene in a lawsuit brought against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) by wild horse advocates who are challenging the BLM's decision to remove wild horses from private lands in southwest Wyoming. The BLM's decision complies with an agreement between the BLM and a group of local ranchers. The area involved is part of the checkerboard where private, federal and state lands are intermingled.
"I want to step in to protect the value of Wyoming's land, defend our sovereign right to manage our wildlife and support ranching families," Governor Mead said. "We are not against having wild horses on the public lands but they need to be managed appropriately. They must not damage the land or wildlife or conflict with the rights of private property owners. The BLM has a plan in place and it should be implemented."
The State of Wyoming owns approximately 62,000 acres in the area. Wyoming's mission for its State Trust Lands is to effectively manage natural resources and the funds generated from those state lands for current and future generations. Revenue from those lands goes to schools.
In the motion to intervene the State points out that it leases land to ranchers, but livestock are managed, are on the land for only a few months and remain only if there is adequate forage. Wild horses stay on the land year-round and increased populations of the horses inhibit the State's ability to get the full value of the leases to benefit schools. Additionally, other wildlife can suffer, including some local sage-grouse populations.