Governor Matt Mead in a news release reminded the U.S. Department of Interior and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) that under the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act the federal government must remove excess horses from its Herd Management Areas.

Currently horses overpopulate seven of those areas in Wyoming. The requirement to remove excess horses is not discretionary in federal law. “Wyoming must enforce its rights under the Wild Horse Act,” Governor Mead wrote to the Secretary of the Interior and head of the BLM. “I have appreciated your cooperation in other matters and hope we can remedy this problem in that vein.”

Governor Mead gave notice that if the Department of Interior and BLM do not comply with the law in the next 60 days Wyoming will proceed in court.

Separately, the BLM is planning to remove wild horses from land in southwest Wyoming pursuant to an agreement between the BLM and private landowners. The area involved is part of the checkerboard where private, federal and state lands are intermingled. Wild horse advocates are challenging this course of action and Wyoming is intervening in that lawsuit. The State of Wyoming owns approximately 62,000 acres in the area.