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The American West has a mustang problem

Shannon Windle is the president of the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund in Reno, Nevada. The group opposes wild horse round-ups and operates a horse sanctuary. (Ashley Ahearn)
Shannon Windle is the president of the Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund in Reno, Nevada. The group opposes wild horse round-ups and operates a horse sanctuary. (Ashley Ahearn)

There are tens of thousands of wild horses in the western U.S. The federal government rounds thousands of them from public lands each year. Scientists say there are too many horses and the land cannot support them all. But some believe the horses should be left to run free.

Reporter Ashley Ahearn looks into the controversy and talks about her own experience adopting a wild horse.

Mike Cox has been a biologist with the Nevada Department of Wildlife for 30 years. In that time he’s watched horse herd sizes boom and warns “the ecosystem is going to collapse. I would give parts of Nevada a decade. It’s all it’s got left.” (Ashley Ahearn)

This story is an excerpt from Mustang, Ashley Ahearn’s four-part series about the complex world of wild horses in the West. To find out more click here: Mustang | Boise State Public Radio

For information about Ashley Ahearn’s new children’s book “The Little Black Mustang,” illustrated by Catie Michel, click here TheLittleBlackMustang.com.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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