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Ranch manager addresses wild horse problem

Roch Hart is a third-generation New Mexican with a deep, genuine appreciation for the land’s expansive mountains, desert and scrub, and the petroglyphs that adorn far reaches of the private 20,000-acre ranch he manages. Hart recognizes that preservation is the key to maintaining New Mexico’s land heritage.

It is through this position that he’s used entrepreneurial thinking to identify a problem at the ranch and develop a solution.

There’s a problem with wild horse overpopulation in New Mexico, as well as all of the arid West. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Land Management spends $80 million a year to capture and care for wild horses. Hart worries that the public won’t get involved until the more inhumane options of mass roundups and euthanasia become visible and routine.

His company, Wildlife Protection Management, developed an innovative, scalable and humane option. It is a feeding station for wild horses that facilitates remote injection of contraceptives. After the horse has placed itself in the proper position, an operator nearly 300 miles away is able to dispatch the injection via video surveillance and controls.

Wild horses are merely startled, not hurt, and return almost immediately to graze at the feed station. In anticipation of Radio-Frequency Identification technology, the system has the capability to deliver a microchip so that horses’ health and behavior can be monitored.

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