LAS VEGAS, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials say more wild horses may have to be killed because of full shelters and a lack of federal money.
The bureau removed an estimated 74,000 horses from the nation's ranges in the last seven years, with about 44,000 adopted and the rest euthanized or held in federal facilities and private shelters, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Tuesday.
The horses are removed from the wild to protect habitat and maintain an ecological balance, said Doran Sanchez, the land management bureau's communications chief in Nevada, noting more may have to be euthanized because the agency's budget is not expected to increase.
Wild horse advocates say they will ask Congress to stop most of the roundups and return some of the horses to historic ranges.
"How can we let our government destroy the last of what we have?" asked Karen Sussman, president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros.
An estimated 29,500 wild horses roam 10 western states, with nearly 16,000 in Nevada followed by lesser populations in Montana, Wyoming, Oregon and other states, the bureau said, while Sussman estimates the total number of wild horses to be around 14,500.