MEDORA, ND: Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the North Dakota Badlands Horse Registry (NDBH) have signed a partnership agreement to facilitate transfer of excess feral horses from park lands in the South Unit to private ownership. The park maintains horses as an “historic demonstration herd” for visitor enjoyment, but these horses must be actively managed to avoid overgrazing and resource damage.
In recent years, the park has conducted helicopter based, large-scale roundups every four to five years. Surplus animals were then sold off-site through traditional sale barns. Roundups were expensive and labor intensive. The agreement provides a less expensive and safer management alternative using low-stress handling techniques and transferring them directly into private ownership.
NDBH is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that promotes, advocates for, and registers horses removed from the park. Under the agreement, NDBH will develop a program to identify willing recipients who can provide long-term homes for the horses. Through direct sale, sealed bid, or auction, NDBH will assist park management in transferring horses to private owners. Proceeds will be used solely for covering costs incurred by NDBH and the park for the placement of animals. The agreement can be renewed after five years and does not preclude the concurrent development of other partnerships.
The park has long recognized the benefit of cooperators in its mission to conserve natural and cultural resources. Successful partnership agreements have been developed for managing elk, bighorn sheep, bison, wildland fire, historic preservation, water quality, invasive weeds, and native plant seed production.
“This partnership will provide an innovative solution to the long-standing safety and expense problem posed by horse roundup operations,” said Acting Superintendent Wendy Ross. “We look forward to improving management techniques, conducting research, and enhancing public relations in cooperation with the North Dakota Badlands Horse Registry.”