Published August 7, 2015
SALT RIVER PIMA-MARICOPA INDIAN COMMUNITY, ARIZONA – On Monday August 3, 2015 the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community (SRPMIC) was made aware of an extensive operation by the United States Forest Service (USFS) to remove wild free-roaming horses from lands under the jurisdiction of the Tonto National Forest, this includes areas on the Salt and Verde Rivers beginning Friday August 7, 2015.
The SRPMIC tribal land is adjacent to the Tonto National Forest on its eastern boundary. The Salt and Verde rivers also lie at the Community’s eastern edge. While the Community is happy to work with agencies on the management of wild free-roaming horses it was unaware of the USFS planned actions. Neither the Community nor its staff participated in the planning of the roundup or have attended a Feral Horse Working Group which has been erroneously reported in the media.
Since the 1970s the SRPMIC has had an active Wild Free-Roaming Horse Ordinance that recognizes their contribution to the diversity of the Community while enriching the lives of people. At any given time, there are approximately 60 wild free-roaming horses in the river area within the tribal boundaries of the Community near the Salt and Verde Rivers. Additionally, the Community has a Northern Range herd that has approximately 180 wild horses within the range area of the Community. If a wild free-roaming horse is within the Community boundaries, it is subject to the Community’s ordinance for protection.