Fort Collins Science Center

Wild Horses and Burros

Filter Total Items: 8
Date published: November 18, 2016
Status: Active

Herbivore-Ecosystem Interactions

Data from these studies help inform management decisions regarding ungulates on public lands, typically in large, jurisdictionally complex landscapes. Recent work involves investigations on the effects of herd size and movements of elk, bison, and wild horses on various ecosystem components. Specifically, scientific efforts include quantifying interactions among herbivores, plants, and soils;...

Date published: October 27, 2016
Status: Active

Non-invasive Genetic Sampling of Free-roaming Horses to Estimate Population Size, Genetic Diversity, and Consumption of Invasive Species

Molecular tagging is a new application of molecular genetic techniques to traditional mark-recapture methodology designed to address situations where traditional methods fail. In such studies, non-invasively collected samples (such as feces, feathers, or fur) are used as a source of DNA that is then genotyped at multiple loci such that each individual animal can be uniquely identified. Thus,...

Date published: October 18, 2016
Status: Active

Counting America’s Wild Horses and Burros: Better Estimates for Population Management

The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, as amended, states that, "It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands (PL 92-195, Sec. 1331, Congressional...

Date published: October 17, 2016
Status: Active

Wild Horse and Burro Survey Techniques

Because population estimates drive nearly all management decisions pertaining to wild horses and burros, accuracy is important. Several widely used techniques exist for conducting aerial population estimates of wildlife, but individually, each has important limitations. Researchers at the U.S. Geological Survey, Fort Collins Science Center (FORT), are evaluating combinations of these...

Date published: August 29, 2016
Status: Active

Wild Horse and Burro Population Management

Wild horse populations often increase at high rates on U.S. western rangelands, which in turn can lead to habitat degradation. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Land Management are cooperating on studies investigating the potential of fertility control drugs to reduce foaling rates. In addition, because nearly every management issue concerning wild horses depends on accurate herd...

Date published: August 26, 2016
Status: Active

Research for Management of America's Wild Horses and Burros

FORT scientists are leading collaborative research projects to provide the BLM with better tools for managing expanding wild horse and burro populations. We are assessing the carrying capacity of wild horse habitats, behavioral effects of spaying mares and gelding a proportion of a herd’s stallions, testing the efficacy of an intrauterine device for mares, and evaluating four fertility-control...

Date published: August 15, 2016
Status: Active

America's Wild Horses and Burros—Research to Support Management

The wild horses that roam the west are feral descendents of domestic animals that either escaped from or were intentionally released by early European explorers and later settlers. As a result of both origin and contemporary management, the Spanish or Iberian influence remains strong in some wild horse populations (e.g., the Kiger, Pryor Mountain, and Sulfur Mountain herds). In other...

Date published: August 6, 2016
Status: Active

Molecular Tagging

Molecular tagging is a new application of molecular genetic techniques to traditional mark-recapture methodology designed to address situations where traditional methods fail. In such studies, non-invasively collected samples (such as feces, feathers, or fur) are used as a source of DNA that is then genotyped at multiple loci such that each individual animal can be uniquely identified. Thus,...