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International Journal of Ecology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 491858, 5 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2012/491858
Research Article

A Scheme for Evaluating Feral Horse Management Strategies

National Marine Fisheries Service, National Marine Mammal Laboratory, 7600 Sand Point Way, NE, Bldg. 4, Seattle, WA 98115, USA

Received 26 December 2011; Revised 26 March 2012; Accepted 27 March 2012

Academic Editor: Bradford Hawkins

Copyright © 2012 L. L. Eberhardt and J. M. Breiwick. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Context. Feral horses are an increasing problem in many countries and are popular with the public, making management difficult. Aims. To develop a scheme useful in planning management strategies. Methods. A model is developed and applied to four different feral horse herds, three of which have been quite accurately counted over the years. Key Results. The selected model has been tested on a variety of data sets, with emphasis on the four sets of feral horse data. An alternative, nonparametric model is used to check the selected parametric approach. Conclusions. A density-dependent response was observed in all 4 herds, even though only 8 observations were available in each case. Consistency in the model fits suggests that small starting herds can be used to test various management techniques. Implications. Management methods can be tested on actual, confined populations.