As part of a movement study with the University of Wyoming (UW), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) collared 16 additional mares during the completion of the appropriate management level gather in Wyoming’s Adobe Town Herd Management Area (HMA).
There are now 30 collared mares in the Adobe Town HMA. The University of Wyoming is using the radio collars to learn more about how wild horses interact with their environment by studying migration patterns and herd movements in the HMA. It is hoped that the study’s results will provide the BLM with new information ensuring that healthy wild horse herds continue to thrive on healthy rangelands.
The BLM and UW began the effort last winter using bait-trapping to first gather the mares before collaring them. The team collared 14 mares before the effort was ended due to unfavorable weather conditions. Five of the original GPS collars placed on mares last winter had to be removed. Three of those collars would not transmit a GPS signal and two collars were removed because they appeared to be too loose, which could have developed into a problem for the mares.
"This study is on the cutting edge of integrating the most sophisticated technology to understand horse ecology,” said UW’s Derek Scasta, PhD, assistant professor and Extension rangeland specialist. “To truly understand and manage a species you have to learn as much as you can and the use of collars has been used on many threatened and endangered species globally. Through the efforts of many local, state, and federal partners we are now catching up in horse management and conservation.”
June Wendlandt, BLM Wyoming wild horse and burro program lead, added, “This project is already showing that radio collars are safe for wild horses. The Wyoming Department of Agriculture, University of Wyoming, and BLM all stepped up and did something that has not been done before to better our understanding of wild horses we manage.
Additional information on the movement study can be found on the gather website.