Wild horses to be removed from Salt River; conservationists furious

The famous Salt River herd of wild horses could soon be no more if the government gets its way, and horse conservationists are furious.

The Tonto National Forest has placed a Friday (Aug. 7) deadline on letting people claim any stray horses from the wild herd. After that, Forest Service officials will round up the wild horses and remove them from the national forest land.

Advocates said wild horses have roamed the Arizona desert since Spanish Conquistadors brought missionaries to Arizona some 400 years ago. According to the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, there are 500 wild horses across the state, down from 500,000 some 100 years ago.

Depending on whom you ask, between 65 and 100 of those wild horses run free up and down the Salt River.