Wild horse capture controlled by Alberta government not RCMP

After saying the RCMP would contract wranglers to capture wild horses, the province now says it will look after it. The horses are in an area east of Banff National Park and have been the source of an ongoing debate over whether they should be rounded up or left free.

Alberta will oversee the capture of dozens of wild horses in the foothills northwest of Calgary

A group of wild horses standing near a highway in north central Alberta on May 5, 2014. (Bill Graveland/Canadian Press)

The RCMP says it will not be involved in the capture of about sixty feral horses in the Ghost Equine Zone east of Banff National Park.

Earlier this week, Alberta's Environment and Sustainable Resources said the police force would be in charge of contracting wranglers to round up the horses. 

The department now says it will organize the capture, and will photograph and "freeze brand" them in case they get into the wild again.

The wranglers will be looking for younger animals because they are more likely to be adopted.

Controversy over capture

The Wild Horses Society of Alberta still gets the first opportunity to take any remaining captured horses that would go up for auction.

The province estimates that there are just under 900 of the animals in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and that is having a damaging effect on grasslands shared by livestock and wildlife. 

There are opponents to the plan who say the horses should be considered part of Alberta's cowboy heritage.

The provincial government, however, says they are not a native breed but descendants of horses once used in the logging and mining industry more than 100 years ago.


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