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People with online dating profiles must be jealous. A photo of a 25-year-old wild horse from Utah known as Grulla Stallion 3907 has gone viral.
The photo of the gray and black stud all 14.1 hands of him showed up on the Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse & Burro Internet Adoption Program website a couple of weeks ago and immediately drew attention.
The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign recently collected more than 24,000 signatures from people across the country, calling on the BLM to release 3907 from the Delta Wild Horse Corrals in Utah and return him to where he was captured in February.
"This proud stallion spent over two decades in the wild, and it is the height of inhumanity to capture and remove him from the only life he has ever known a life of freedom," the petition from the campaign states. "Today, he languishes in a BLM holding pen, his spirit crushed, his life endangered by intensive confinement and possible castration (gelding)."
BLM officials say it is highly unlikely the horse will be released back to the Sulphur Herd Management Area in western Millard and Beaver counties where he was captured this winter during an emergency roundup.
Just over a hundred horses were collected by the BLM and moved to Delta in an effort to reduce wild horse overpopulation in the area.
An estimated 830 horses were in the Sulphur Herd Management Area before the roundup. The federal agency is in the process of completing an environmental analysis on a proposal to reduce the herd size to somewhere between 165 and 250 horses. At least three horses may have died in the past year from being hit by vehicles on State Road 21.
The BLM has committed to getting all horses from the February roundup adopted, sold or sent to the federal agency's long-term pastures. The auction runs April 21 through May 5. Opening bids start at $25.
Lisa Reid, with the BLM's Wild Horse & Burro team, has been setting up the Internet auction for the horses since the roundup and agrees that 3907 is a handsome fellow.
But the attention this one horse is getting is a bit of a surprise.
"We usually don't post pictures of the older horses on the galleries, because most people are looking for younger animals," she said. "We have older horses available and on the site. But he is gorgeous, no doubt about it. I'm sure he will find a forever home."
With new attention on the older horses, Reid is worried teenage animals might be overlooked.
She pointed out that 3907 had already been released back into the wild by the BLM after being captured earlier in his life.
"We had gathered him at least one other time and let him go when we were closer to the appropriate management level herd numbers," Reid said.
Wild horse advocates consider the roundups and ensuing auctions an inhumane form of management.
"The government's continued reliance on roundups and removals of horses from the range traumatizes and terrorizes wild horses, shatters their families and forever robs them of their freedom," campaign director Suzanne Roy wrote in a letter sent with the petition. "Public opinion and scientific recommendations call for a shift in the BLM's approach toward more humane, in-the-wild management using the proven PZP birth control vaccine to Keep Wild Horses wild and free on the range."
Besides the petition for his release, Reid says she has received numerous phone calls about 3907. Private wild horse advocacy groups have offered to take him and up to eight of the older horses.
But most people just want to know what will happen to 3907.
If he is not purchased during the Internet adoption, he will be sent to a private sanctuary, one of the BLM's long-term pastures or will become available at a first-come, first-serve adoption and sale at the Delta Facility starting May 11.