Herding in unclaimed horses

Tribal Range and Agriculture has been working to reduce the environmental damage caused by the unclaimed horse population on the reservation.

Range and Ag has rounded up about 1,300 horses this year, and is going for 1,500 to 1,600 by the end of the year, said Jason Smith, Range and Ag manager.

Last year Range and Ag removed about 1,200 horses from the reservation, Smith said. The removal program is in its fourth year, he said.

Four years ago there were an estimated 6,000 unclaimed horses on the reservation. The animals damage and destroy fish habitat, elk and deer habitat, berry and other traditional foods habitat.

The goal is to get the number of unclaimed horses down to a manageable level in the Range and Ag districts.

Habitat restoration funding is helping to get the problem under control.

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs are among the tribes, including Yakama and the Navajo Nation, that have been contending with this problem for the past several years.