Are the wild horses of the American west native?

Bob Holmes

THE wild horses of the American west should be considered a native species as fully deserving of protection as elk or antelope, even though they are the descendants of domestic livestock introduced by European settlers. Or so claim animal rights groups.

In a case before a US federal court they are arguing that wild horses should no longer be rounded up to make room for cattle. If the claim is successful, it could change the way the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages tens of thousands of wild horses on federal lands.

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Equine Americans? (Image: Melissa Farlow/National Geographic Stock)

Equine Americans? (Image: Melissa Farlow/National Geographic Stock)

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