The Bureau of Land Management is proposing the implementation of a field darting fertility control program for the McCullough Peaks Wild Horse Herd Management Area. They are seeking comments from the public at this time.
Beginning in February 2011, the BLM proposes to treat selected mares over one year of age with the fertility drug porcine zona pellucida (PZP) to slow the population growth on the range and work towards maintaining an appropriate management level of 70-140 wild horses.
With a balance in the wild horse population, deterioration of rangelands and a balance of wild horses with other public rangeland resources and uses can be achieved.
Because of the small herd in the McClullough Peaks area where the horses usually stay within the boundaries and are drawn to the water sources, it is considered to be a perfect herd management area to implement the program.
The goal of utilizing field darting to apply the PZP is to reduce the need for costly helicopter gathers and removal operations in the future. Worland Public Affairs Officer Sarah Beckwith expressed the hope that, ""By darting in the field the goal is to reduce the rate of reproduction without having to gather the horses.
Many studies have been done on using PZP fertility control and the long-term effects are positive. Beckwith stated "There is less foal mortality. Mares live longer because they are not having a foal every two years.