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Colorado animal sanctuary to open 22,450-acre horse refuge

The sanctuary said the refuge is in response to wild horse round ups from two Colorado mustang herds.

CRAIG, Colo. — Five years after purchasing thousands of acres in southern Colorado, The Wild Animal Sanctuary has announced the acquisition of land in northwest Colorado.

The Colorado non-profit organization said it has purchased 22,450 acres of land near Craig to establish the Wild Horse Refuge.

Spanning 29 square miles, a landmass larger than Manhattan, the sanctuary said the refuge will serve to rescue and protect hundreds of wild horses.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary said the refuge is being created in response to wild horse round up operations conducted in 2021 and 2022 by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The round ups were conducted at Colorado's Sand Wash Basin and Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Areas (HMA).

> Above video: BLM horse round up in 2021.

"No one wanted to see these amazing creatures being disturbed in any way, let alone rounded up and shipped off to far away locations such as Cañon City, Colorado," The Wild Animal Sanctuary said in a statement. "Once there, the horses are held within a Federal Prison Facility where they wait for months on end wondering if they will ever be free again.

"Unfortunately, for the vast majority of the captured horses, they will never again feel the wind in their face as they are destined to be moved from one corral to another - both at the hands of the government - and at the hands of limited space horse facilities or private citizens.

"Yet, for some, there is a unique opportunity to regain their freedom through the love and support of those who want to protect and restore their wild spirit."

The sanctuary said the newly created refuge features rolling hills, canyons, native grasses, sagebrush, juniper trees, and water from Lay Creek.

The land was formerly operated as Rio Ro Mo Ranch, a large cattle ranch and breeding operation, but will now be dedicated entirely to wild horses.

There are plans to provide a home to as many as 500 wild horses.

Credit: The Wild Animal Sanctuary
Herd of Rescued Colorado Mustangs roaming at The Refuge.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary operates its main 1,214-acre facility in Keenesburg, northeast of Denver.

In 2018, the sanctuary opened 9,752-acre facility in southeast Colorado near the town of Springfield, called The Wild Animal Refuge.

A third facility located near Fort Worth, The Wild Animal Sanctuary: Texas, formerly known as International Exotic Animal Sanctuary (IEAS), was put under control of the Colorado sanctuary in 2020.

SUGGESTED VIDEOS: Animals and Wildlife


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