BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) -- The Bureau of Land Management is looking into the possibility of bringing up to 1,500 wild horses to a pasture on the Spanish Q Ranch near Ennis in southwestern Montana.

Nearly 37,000 wild horses and burros live on land managed by the BLM in 10 Western states, according to the agency's Web site. BLM managers say that is about 10,000 more than the agency considers healthy for the grazing land.

The latest plan, which is open for public comment, calls for transporting wild horses from BLM land across the West to the 15,600-acre pasture, which would be the first of its kind in the Rocky Mountains.

Susie Stokke, a specialist with BLM's National Wild Horse and Burro Program, said pastures like the one being proposed for the Ennis area already operate in Oklahoma, Kansas and South Dakota. But Western lawmakers have pressed the BLM to develop pastures in the West, where most of the horses come from.

"We'd like to move them onto long-term pastures on private land," Stokke said. "That helps us meet land-health guidelines."

She said the Spanish Q Ranch submitted a bid to take the horses. How much the ranch would be paid was not included in the public notice and was not available from Stokke's office in Reno, Nev.

The lease, if approved, would run for five years.


Information from: Bozeman Daily Chronicle,

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

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