Alberta counts 880 wild horses in the foothills this year

The Alberta government says it has counted 880 wild horses in the foothills this year, about 100 fewer than 2013.

EDMONTON — The Alberta government says it has counted 880 wild horses in the foothills this year, about 100 fewer than 2013.

But Alberta Environment says the numbers could actually be higher because the horses are counted from the air by helicopter.

The government uses the numbers to help manage the herds and the native grasses they feed on, including determining how many of the feral horses can be legally captured each year.

In March, the province said just 15 of the horses were rounded up despite permits that would have allowed as many as 200 to be taken.

The roundup drew the ire of animal rights activists who said some of the captured horses were destined for slaughterhouses.

Earlier this year the government said the capture was necessary to keep a ballooning population in check.

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