Heber Wild Horses

A band of Heber Wild Horses in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests last spring. (Note: This is not the band of horses where the deceased filly was found.)

SPRINGERVILLE — A press release issued by the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests Supervisor’s Office states that “a deceased newborn palomino filly near the junction of Forest Road 50 and Forest Road 86” on Monday, April 12.

The filly was found by a Black Mesa Fire Crew and reported to the authorities.

A “Wild Horse and Burro Coordinator responded to the area and worked with a Law Enforcement Officer to assess the situation,” states the release. “It appears the filly died of natural causes. The filly has been removed from the area.”

The press release does not identify the deceased horse as a member of a Heber Wild Horses herd, however they have been seen in the area where the filly was found.

Area residents that routinely observe Heber Wild Horses and wildlife in the Black Mesa Ranger District reassured the public via social media posts that “there was no evidence of foul play of any kind.”

To report a dead or injured horse, contact the Black Mesa Ranger District: 928-535-7300.

For questions, please contact the ASNFs Supervisor’s Office at 928-333-6280 or visit the website at www.fs.usda.gov/asnf

Heber Wild Horse Territory Management Plan

The US Department of Agriculture, US Forest Service, Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests issued an opportunity to comment on the Heber Wild Horse Territory Management Plan Draft Environmental Assessment and Draft Territory Management Plan notice.

The comment period ends at midnight on April 22.

Developing a management plan for the free-roaming horses has been in process since 2007 when the Heber Wild Horses herds were afforded protection under the Wild, Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.

This legal action included a stipulation that the Forest Service “collaboratively engage the public to complete a territory management plan for the Heber Wild Horse Territory,” according to previous press releases from the US Forest Service.

Controversy has continued to follow the forest equines due to stark differences in stakeholder views on how the horses should be managed on public lands.

Comments including attachments may be submitted electronically to: cara.ecosystem-management.org/Public/CommentInput?project=18916. The following formats are acceptable: .doc, .rtf., txt., .html or .pdf.

If access to the electronic database is not available, specific written comments may be mailed to Heber Wild Horse Territory Management Plan, P.O. Box 640, Springerville, AZ 85938; or faxed to 928-333-5966.

Due to limited office access and other precautions during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency is unable accept hand-delivered comments.

Reach the reporter at

lsingleton@wmicentral.com

Laura Singleton is a reporter for the White Mountain Independent, covering Show Low city government, business and education.

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