Quantcast

111 Wild Horses Die in Drought-Ridden Navajo Nation

Animals
More than 70,000 wild horses roam Navajo Nation. Don Graham / Flickr / CC BY-SA 2.0

Drought is being blamed for the deaths of 111 wild horses on Navajo Nation land in northern Arizona, according to tribal officials.

The horses were found dead in a muddy stock pond near Grey Mountain over the past week. The Associated Press reported that animals usually drink from the stock pond but dry conditions left it with little water.


Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye tweeted Tuesday that "due to drought conditions, the horses became stuck in the mud and were too weak from thirst to climb out."

"This is the beginning," Begaye warned. "The Navajo Nation has over 70,000 feral horses."

In March, Begaye signed a drought declaration issued by tribal emergency management officials.

The Associated Press published grim photos of the dead horses with dried mud caked on their bodies. Tribal officials are trying to determine how best to deal with the carcasses.

The Navajo reservation is the largest and most populous in the country, spanning northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah and northwestern New Mexico.

The Arizona region has been grappling with severe drought and limited precipitation, which has caused a shortage of water and feed for livestock and wildlife, Fronteras reported.

Gloria Tom, director of the Navajo Department of Fish and Wildlife, told Fronteras that the Navajo ecosystem cannot support the heavy populations of wild horses.

"The impact is tremendous. We have horses competing for food and water. There's potential for disease outbreaks," Tom said.

Begaye and Vice President Jonathan Nez were in Tuba City Wednesday working on solutions for the drought conditions that led to the horses' deaths, according to a Facebook post from their office.

The office said that they are working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Navajo Rangers and the Navajo EPA to assess the situation and mitigate any environmental effects.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Tero Vesalainen / iStock / Getty Images

By Julia Ries

  • Two flu strains are overlapping each other this flu season.
  • This means you can get sick twice from different flu strains.
  • While the flu vaccine isn't a perfect match, it's the best defense against the flu.

To say this flu season has been abnormal is an understatement.

Read More
Pexels

By Andrew Joseph Pegoda

At least 40 percent to 90 percent of American voters stay home during elections, evidence that low voter turnout for both national and local elections is a serious problem throughout the U.S.

Read More
Sponsored
Arx0nt / Moment / Getty Images

By Alina Petre, MS, RD

Vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is a fat-soluble vitamin essential for optimal health.

Read More
Plastic waste that started as packaging clogs tropical landfills. apomares / iStock / Getty Images

By Clyde Eiríkur Hull and Eric Williams

Countries around the world throw away millions of tons of plastic trash every year. Finding ways to manage plastic waste is daunting even for wealthy nations, but for smaller and less-developed countries it can be overwhelming.

Read More
Pexels

By Katherine Marengo, LDN, RD

In recent years, functional foods have gained popularity within health and wellness circles.

Read More