The wild horses , also called the domestic horse, is an extinct species of the family Equidae, that contains as subspecies all the modern domestic horses and the most endangered Przewalski’s horse, as well as other extinct species.
Although the wild horse has been in existence for over 10 million years, only recently have scientists come to realize its importance as a large herbivore and keystone species that influence wildlife and habitat development in the Western Hemisphere.
In recent years, the wild horse has been the object of intense conservation interest and a priority of wildlife managers. In North America, many states have taken steps to protect these unique animals through legislation and management. In some countries, the threat from feral horses on farms and ranches is still an ongoing problem.
Wild horses are herd animals, unlike the horse used for commercial purposes. Unlike the horse, cattle, donkeys, and zebras, these animals require good living conditions and adequate water resources to survive. Their grazing habits require the removal of grasses and forage, while the need for pasture also reduces their numbers.
Because of their small body size, wild horses cannot support a high number of livestock. If managed properly, a small group of these animals can provide a sustainable range of horses-cattle or donkeys-for commercial use.
There are no federal laws protecting horses from the depredation of livestock producers. However, many states have created special laws to help horses and cattle that are being abused by their owners
. For example, the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1966 was enacted specifically to protect the Wild Horse and Burro Act (WHBA) of 1969, the Federal Milk Marketing Order (FMMO) of 1970, and the United States Code’s Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA) of 1971.
Wild horses will never be extinct, but they face the risk of becoming vulnerable to a wide variety of predators. Some of those include wolves, bobcats, foxes, coyotes, hawks, caribou, bears, hyenas, big cats, and coyotes, as well as dogs and cats.
It is illegal to hunt wild horses in most states, although some states allow hunting under specific circumstances. Although not illegal, it is important to note that the laws regarding these animals are different from one state to the next and are subject to change over time.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, through its Wild Horse and Burro Program, coordinates the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) efforts to control and reduce the horse’s use of the land it occupies.
This program uses a combination of methods, including public education, non-lethal removal, and fencing. The Wild Horse and Burro Program use livestock and human control alternatives as a means to stop the excessive use of the land and restore native habitat.
Wild horses are resilient, adaptable animals. By protecting them from hunters, preventing damage to the land they occupy, and control their numbers, wildlife managers can ensure the long-term sustainability of the wild horse and burro herds.