Pueblo using new method to manage wild horses

San Felipe Pueblo, N.M., Oct. 27, 2014 -- A New Mexico pueblo is taking new steps to manage its wild horses.

As of now, it’s the only group in the state doing it and they have got high hopes for their unique solution.

This is our first time doing it and so far, it’s been pretty good success,” said Ricardo Ortiz, a land management specialist with the San Felipe Pueblo.

That success has come in the form of a vaccination called PZP.

“What it does it controls the birthing for the mares,” Ortiz said.

Within the last week, Ortiz said they have given the PZP to 11 mares.

“The mares have that birth control for two years,” he said.

Using a dart gun, trained specialists administer the vaccination. Mares would need the vaccine every two years to limit pregnancies. Ortiz had to go to Montana to become certified.

“As we move along, we’ll start seeing how it affects the population,” he said.

As far as who foots the bill, it falls on the pueblo. Ortiz says it can get a little pricey with the training and equipment.

“This is something also new to the pueblo in a way that is a humane way of taking care of the issue,” Ortiz said.

The vaccine does not affect mares that are already pregnant.

The San Felipe Pueblo is also proposing a 3,000-acre horse sanctuary using federal land. PZP has also been used recently to control bison populations in California and on elephant reserves in Africa.

Originally aired on KRQE Oct. 26, 2014

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