The Bureau of Land Management came out this week with what they describe as new actions to strengthen their Wild Horse and Burro Program.

Director Bob Abby says adjustments to the program come after funding cuts were announced and in light of public and bipartisan criticism.

" And so, instead of waiting to release the information that we've complied and  incorporated in our strategy, we wanted to go forward with announcements of the actions we will be immediately taking."

Actions include a temporary cutback on the number of horses they plan to remove from the range from 10,000 down to 7600. Abby says they'll also step up the fertility treatment of mares and, he says, they've asked the National Academy of Science to review the program.

Abby, stresses that herd levels remain in excess of about 10,000 animals above what is recommended.

Regarding the roundup process, Abby says, they'll continue using helicopters, but he says they're studying ways to improve how they use them..

"for example in New South Wales National Park and Wild life services in Australia there's a requirement for helicopter gatherer contractors to complete a low stress live stock handling course prior to conducting gathers of their feral horses there."

He says there are other Australian studies going on they hope to learn from along with sharing what the BLM learns through the Academy of Science review.