The New Yorker

A New Documentary Seeks to Cature the Plight of America’s Wild Horses

By Carolyn Kormann  January 10, 2018

There are seventy-three thousand wild horses roaming the American West. Their federally designated territory, which is overseen by the Bureau of Land Management, extends across ten states, although most of it, nearly sixteen million acres, is concentrated in Nevada. No other state has such vast expanses of high, empty desert—the kind of landscape, sufficiently undeveloped and unpeopled, where wild horses can thrive. But, even there, they are threatened. For decades, cattle ranchers, ecologists, and, most significantly, the B.L.M. have noted that, because the horses reproduce easily and lack natural predators, their population overwhelms the space they occupy. There is not enough public land left, and the situation is worsening. Just last month, the Trump Administration shrunk the boundaries of two national monuments, removing protections on nearly two million acres; Ryan Zinke, the Secretary of the Interior, has recommended further reductions. As Andrew Ellis, the director of a new documentary called “Saving the Wild Horses of the American West,” put it to me recently, the animals “are able to survive because of this idea of public land. But there are all these competing interests that are threatening this public land and their livelihood.”

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