Leadership with Theodore Roosevelt National Park discusses proposals over horse, cattle populations

Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 11:30 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

THEODORE ROOSEVELT NATIONAL PARK (KFYR) – Last month Your News Leader reported that Theodore Roosevelt National Park was considering options on removal of horses and cattle from the park.

Members of the public had the chance to learn more about why they’re considering this action in a virtual public forum.

Those who spoke said that, as of now, there are nine longhorn cattle in the north unit and 186 horses in the south unit, though the animals roam a much larger area.

Park leadership said they are considering three options on the presence and removal of the animals, but could consider others suggested by the public.

They said ranching conservation was not part of the park’s original intent.

“To put it directly, we are charged with paying tribute to Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation legacy, not his ranching legacy. His conservation legacy grew from a desire to protect and preserve land and ecosystems as close to their natural states as possible before the impacts of colonization. So for us that’s a realignment back to our native wildlife and native prairie ecosystem,” said Angie Richman, TRNP Superintendent.

Richman also wanted to dispel rumors that the animals would be killed.

“We have suspended all of our roundup activities while we have been going through this planning process, and it’s our intent that when we go back to roundups that we’ll be doing live capture and will be hoping to find a good home for these animals,” said Richman.

Richman said they’re in consultation with eight different Native American tribes on coming up with a plan for the animals.

“We are hoping that many of our tribes would be interested in taking some of these animals and providing a good, healthy home for them for the long term, so that’s part of why we have offered for tribes to have first offer to receive animals,” said Richman.

Those who spoke said the next step is to put together an environmental assessment of the proposals, which would include the potential economic impact of removing the animals to Medora and the surrounding areas.

If you were unable to take part in Thursday’s virtual meeting and have comments or questions about the proposals, you have until the end of the month.

You can submit comments on the project’s page.

Related content:

TRNP considering removal of horses, cattle from park