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Contact: Eileen Andes, 701-623-4466
Feral horses from Theodore Roosevelt National Park are scheduled to be sold at public auction at Wishek Livestock Market inWishek, North Dakota on Saturday, September 28 at 11 am CDT.Approximately 105-110 horses will be sold to reduce the horse population in the national park to about 100 animals.
The park expects to sell about 35-40 foals, 25 yearlings, 25 2-year olds, and 20 3-year olds, although composition of those being sold could change slightly depending upon the results of the park roundup.
Periodic roundups of the horses are required to keep their numbers within park population goals. Since 1954, the NPS has conducted more than 25 roundups to maintain a healthy herd at desired levels to avoid overgrazing and resource damage.
"Keeping the horse population within our objective requires periodic roundups that are time and labor intensive and have inherent risk for horses and park staff," said Superintendent Valerie Naylor."Our primary concerns during the roundup are for safety of our staff and the horses."
This year, the park will be continuing a research project to evaluate a multi-year contraceptive vaccine as a potential tool in feral horse management.This project was begun during the last roundup in 2009.
"If the contraceptive research shows promise, we may be able to use that as a tool to limit the size of the horse herd in the future," said Naylor."That will reduce the need for removing horses from the park on a regular basis."
Theodore Roosevelt National Park maintains feral horses as an "historic demonstration" herd so that park visitors can enjoy horses in a natural setting.Because of the ongoing contraceptive study and the need to maintain horse band structure, the park will retain a larger number of horses than desired.Following the conclusion of the study, however, the park's long-term goal is to keep the herd at 50-90 animals.