Is America’s wild horse an invasive species?

From: LA Times
By: Karin Klein

pryormuntainPleistocene, shmeistocene. To lovers of North America’;s wild horses, the mustangs link to their Ice Age relatives is far more important than their descent from introduced, domesticated horses.

The fans of today’s wild horses are petitioning the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the animals as an endangered species because open rangeland is reduced and also less fit to graze. Cattlemen see the horses as pests who take up public land that would be better used for grazing herds; they favor continuing to herd them up and ship them…anywhere. Many environmentalists see both the cattle and the horses as invasive species that compact the land in unnatural ways, making it hard for native plants to grow, and that take up what should be habitat for wildlife.

Horses originated in North America but went extinct from the continent some 10,000 to 12,000 years ago—though some made it across the land bridge to Eurasia, where they developed into the zebra and the horse we know today. Then in the 1600s, the Spanish brought domesticated horses to the continent. Some of those went wild—thus the current wild horse.

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  • arlene

    The Mustangs are NOT te pests on the Range , they inhabit the Land they were granted it belongs to them, get rid of the two legged Pests and their 4 legged Bovine mowing Machines and the other Criminal 2 legged greed based Morons, Peace on the Range restored ……

    July 13, 2014
  • Daryl

    Arlene so true, the land belongs to the horses and the wild burros, al others on there are the one who are guests of the BLM, who loves taking the horses off the land their land and putting them in jail, then not take care of them the right way, or make sure they have water for all , or good clean hay… BLM do most things wrong, they do not take care of them, they do not do their job.

    July 13, 2014
  • mustang man

    I think the comments of the original artcile say it all. This is not a issue of who owns or is what this is the same old issues that has been around forever and is disintegrating more now. It’s about education. What programs do we spend time on educating the young and old alike about the horses? 4h, FFA, Cattle assoc. Sheep assoc., Environmentalist’s all do this and see what their success rate is. We spend too much time bitching and not enough time in the cities and towns changing peoples minds. It’s not about being right, its about convincing the numbers what is right.

    July 14, 2014