Feral horses: scourge, not symbol, of the West?

Don’t miss this recent article in Slate magazine by conservation biologist Daniel Rubinoff and ecologist Christopher Lepczyk, who state that feral horses are a scourge of the West, not a symbol, and that romanticizing horses has seriously harmed the environment. They describe how horses destroy the fragile biotic soil crusts that hold grasslands together, compete with native wildlife for forage and water, and exacerbate the impacts of climate change and habitat fragmentation.

“The current stalemate portends an end result that will be tragic. With little controlling their populations, wild horses will increase in number and permanently degrade sensitive riparian areas, like the Salt River, across the West. These areas are unlikely to recover unless we round up invasive horses soon, because topsoil in arid ecosystems can take thousands of years to regenerate.”

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A tip of the hat to Bob A. for sending the link.