Optimal Control of Wild Horse Populations with Nonlethal Methods

Robert Fonner and Alok K. Bohara


Effective management of wild horse populations has proven difficult for land managers. This paper develops and evaluates dynamic optimization models of wild horse management for three nonlethal population control methods: removals, fertility control, and a hybrid method combining removals and fertility control. Two state variables are included in the models to account for horses on the range and horses in off-range holding facilities. The optimization problems are solved and dynamic simulations are generated for each method. The results indicate that a strategic approach to nonlethal wild horse population control has the potential to significantly improve management efficiency. (JEL Q28, Q57)

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