Salt River Wild Horses Safe For Now

Forest Service Calls Off Plan to Round Up Famed Arizona Herd 

UPDATE: On Friday, December 11, 2015, the Forest Service withdrew its notice to impound the Salt River wild horses, nearly five months after first publishing it. The move came in the face of intense public and political pressure to protect the horses in their historic habitat in the Tonto National Forest. The Forest Service now says that it will work with stakeholders on a management plan to protect the horses. 

Last week, the famed and beloved Salt River wild horses in the Tonto National Forest near Mesa, Arizona were in immediate threat of total eradication thanks to a U.S. Forest Service plan to begin rounding them up as early as Friday, August 7. These special horses have been present on the lands in and around the Salt River for over a century, but the Forest Service claimed that they are "estray livestock" and intended to "impound" all "unauthorized" horses in just a few short days. 

This is a precarious situation because the Salt River horses lack federal protection due to the Forest Service’s failure to designate a protected Wild Horse Territory for them after the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed in 1971. At the same time, the Forest Service admits that the horses have been present in the National Forest since the 1930’s, and historic articles document their presence on those lands since the late 1800’s. The legal upshot of the Forest Service’s failure to protect the Salt River horses is that they can be rounded up and sold at auction, where kill buyers could purchase them for slaughter.   

 Thanks to the tremendous outpouring of support from the local Arizona community and from advocates all around the world, the U.S. Forest Service has abandoned this controversial plan to remove dozens of horses from their Salt River home and is currently searching for alternative plans to manage them.

The community in Arizona rallied around the Salt River wild horses.


More than 100 people showed up at the Town Hall meeting to voice their concerns and offer solutions.


Arizona Congressional Delegation

U.S. Senators Jeff Flake and John McCain

U.S. Representatives Matt Salmon, David Schweikert and Krysten Sinema

U.S. Representatives Martha McSally, Ann Kirkpatrick, Michelle Lujan Grisham, Krysten Sinema

Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community


Recent News (December 2015)

Forest Service Decision

Town Hall Meeting Coverage

Legal Action Coverage


Roundup Coverage

More Information