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Scientists urge use of contraception to control wild horse population




Helicopter pilot Rick Harmon of KG Livestock rounds up a group of wild horses during a gathering July 7, 2005 in Eureka, Nevada. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management wants to reduce herds in the American west, where an estimated 37,000 of the horses roam free, to 28,000 by the end of 2005.
Helicopter pilot Rick Harmon of KG Livestock rounds up a group of wild horses during a gathering July 7, 2005 in Eureka, Nevada. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management wants to reduce herds in the American west, where an estimated 37,000 of the horses roam free, to 28,000 by the end of 2005.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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For centuries, wild mustangs and burros have roamed the West in states like Nevada, Montana, and Wyoming. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is charged with controlling their population.

Each year they use helicopters to corral a select number of wild horses that are then put up for adoption. But since the economic downturn, fewer people are adopting. Meanwhile more horses are being born each year.

Recently, a 14-member National Research Council released a report saying the BLM should stop rounding up the horses and depend more on contraception. Committee member and wildlife birth control expert Cheryl Asa joins the show to explain how this new plan could work.