Drought and Famine Kill Wild Horses in Navajo Nation
The Navajo Nation has blamed drought and family as main causes for the tragic death of nearly 200 wild horses found in a stock pond in Gray Mountain in northern Arizona.
According to the Navajo Nation, the feral problem is not new in the community where around 50,000 wild horses are roaming the parched land of Arizona. However, famine and drought drive these wild horses to search for water and some of them died along the way.
In the case of the mass deaths this week, the 191 horses died of natural causes.
“These horses weren’t shot or maliciously killed by an individual,” Navajo Nation Vice President Nez said. “These animals were searching for water to stay alive. In the process, they, unfortunately burrowed themselves into the mud and couldn’t escape because they were so weak.”
The Navajo Nation spans three states – Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. It has a population of 250,000 and it is considered as the largest American Indian reservation in the country.
Overpopulation Of Feral Horses
The tragic death of wild horses gives light to the prevailing problem on the staggering population of the animals. Currently, there are an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 feral horses roaming the Navajo Nation.
Aside from that, horses dying in large numbers is not unique problem in Gray Mountain. It is also a seasonal issue.
“This tragic incident exemplifies the problem the Navajo Nation faces in an overpopulation of feral horses,” Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye said in a statement. “There is a process for round-ups and it begins with the local chapter. What they need is a resolution requesting a round-up, which prompts the assistance of the Navajo Nation and BIA. Help is there, but they have to ask for it.”
The Call To Address The Problem
President Russell Begaye has highlighted that concerted efforts from the local governments of the Najavo Nation and members of the Bureau of Indian Affairs are crucial to solve the seasonal deaths and overpopulation of feral horses.
At the moment, the Navajo Nations and the Bureau of Indian Affairs have collaborated to assess the situation and start the cleanup process, including taking measures to prevent the spread of disease.
A mass burial was launched by the authorities. To hasten the decomposition process, the animals would be covered with hydrated lime before being buried.
After burying all the dead horses, authorities are now considering fully closing off the watering pond on Gray Mountain and build a new site in another location.