On Wednesday, the president and Vice President of the Navajo Nation traveled to Gray Mountain, Arizona, where they came across about 191 dead feral horses in a stock pond. The reason for this was due to drought and famine. This area of Arizona is currently experiencing a severe to extreme drought due to the very little amount of precipitation that has fallen so far this year. Official have ruled out any foul play: “These animals were searching for water to stay alive. In the process, they, unfortunately burrowed themselves into the mud and couldn’t escape because they were so weak.”
According to a press release from the Navajo Nation, “…Gray Mountain has faced a growing feral horse problem for years. The occurrence of horses dying at this particular watering pond is not a new but a seasonal issue. There is an estimated amount of 50,000 to 70,000 feral horses on the Navajo Nation.”
Executive staff assistants are now on scene to coordinate the effort in containing the area to prevent the worsening of this environmental or toxic situation. The area has been fenced off and covered to evaluate the scope of this incident. Officials have determined that burying the carcasses onsite is their best option: “The horses are anywhere from thigh to neck deep in the mud. Some are even buried beneath others,” said Nina Chester, OPVP Executive Staff Assistant. “This is our most humane and safest option.”
The Navajo Water Management Branch are now working on the plans of opening a new watering pond. They have also indicated there is no threat to contaminated water downstream of this incident.