The U.S. Forest Service announces plans to start removing approximately 400 feral horses near Alpine, Arizona to protect the land and endangered species in the area. The area where the horses reside is approximately four-and-a-half hours east of Phoenix in the White Mountains near the New Mexico border, on the Apache National Forest.
This decision is a necessary step to ensure that the Apache National Forest is healthy and sustainable for years to come. The USDA feel that these feral horses cause substantial problems for not only native plants and animals, which are being outcompeted for resources, but they also destroy watersheds and negatively impact ecosystems. They also pose an imminent threat to several federally listed and threatened species.
The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests are working closely with a wide range of partners to safely address this problem before further unnecessary destruction is caused. These horses are feral and there are risks associated with gathering and removing these animals. The Forest Service and contractors will take every precaution possible to maintain the safety, health and well-being of all people and animals involved. These animals will be gathered using passive trapping techniques. Active gathering, which uses helicopters and physically moving animals, will not be used at this time.
The Forest Service is committed to transparency during the entirety of this process. A sale notice will be published in the newspaper of record, posted at county court houses and post offices for 5-days, for people to claim owned animal(s). The Forest Service has been working with partners, ranchers, and animal rescues to find holding facilities where these horses can be sold in person or on-line in the next few weeks.
The dates of the sale are to be determined and will be posted on our Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/news/asnf/news-events. The USDA encourages individuals interested in buying these horses for personal use. If there are any questions or comments concerning this necessary action, please call 928-235-5764.