RENO, Nev. (CN) – The federal government moved a step closer to rounding up more than 2,000 wild horses and 210 wild burros along the northern edges of the California and Nevada border after the 9th Circuit refused to grant an emergency stay filed by animal rights groups.
In Defense of Animals and Dreamcatcher Wild Horse and Burro Sanctuary said the wild horses should stay on the range. They fear the mustangs will be condemned to “zoo-like conditions” in the Midwest, and sought to stop The Bureau of Land Management from rounding up the feral horses.
The Bureau of Land Management has said the herds are overpopulated and must be cleared out.
The roundup on 790,000 acres was scheduled to start Aug. 9. Despite the delay, officials say the roundup will take up to 60 days.
Agents on horseback, in motorized vehicles or in helicopters are to “indiscriminately chase every wild horse” on the range and round up all of the 2,300 wild horses and 210 wild burros.
Mustangs, or feral horses, are descended from horses the Spanish brought to North America. Some people claim the horse is a reintroduced species in North America, as it lived on this continent for millions of years before going extinct a few thousand years ago.
Prehistoric Americans may have hunted them to death.