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Harsh drought conditions in parts of the American West are pushing wild horses to the brink and spurring extreme measures to protect them.As spring turned to summer, drought conditions turned from bad to worse, Netherlands said.Parts of Utah, Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico are under the most severe category of drought, though extreme conditions are present from California to Missouri, government analysts say. The federal Bureau of Land Management, which oversees vast expanses of public land, mostly in the West, says the problem facing wild horses stems from overpopulation aggravated by severe drought.The agency's emergency roundup in western Utah began a week ago, aiming to remove roughly 250 wild horses from a population of approximately 670 .In western Colorado, volunteers say they're preparing to bring up to 18,900 liters of water per day to a herd of 750 desperate horses.Wild horse advocates have balked at the Bureau of Land Management's insistence that wild horse populations are too high.Critics say the agency is using dry conditions as a smoke screen to shrink horse populations in response to pressure from ranchers whose livestock compete with the horses for grazing land.
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