15 wild horses captured this year in Alberta
Annual roundup fell short of target of roughly 200 feral animals
After all the debate, emotion and protests, the wild horse capture season ended this year with only 15 feral animals being rounded up.
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The province issued three licences this year to capture roughly 200 wild horses near Sundre.
Licensees can keep the horses for personal use or sell them for slaughter.
Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development says it will perform the yearly feral horse count in the coming weeks.
Then an advisory panel, which consists of veterinarians and a horse industry association, will make a recommendation for a feral horse capture season for fall 2014.
The province said an aerial survey estimated there was 980 wild horses near Sundre in 2013 — an increase from 778 in 2012.
But the Canadian Wild Horse Foundation says the count was done before massive flooding in June and this year's harsh winter, so the number could be much lower.
They wanted the province to hold off on the capture this year until there was a recount done.
Provincial biologists have said in the past they don't consider the animals true wildlife, but rather feral descendants of domestic horses used in logging and mining operations in the early 1900s.
The Canadian Wild Horse Foundation, however, argues that the horses are native wildlife and should be protected as such.