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SPOTLIGHT

1. WILD HORSES

Taking back the West -- one contraceptive dart at a time

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. -- Josie, a buckskinned mare that roams the Book Cliffs here, had given birth every year from 1996 to 2003. First, there was Joker. And then came Classy, Teardrop, Jolene, Gunshy, Jolie, Haywire and an unnamed colt. All but one were removed from the range -- with federal taxpayers picking up the tab. And Josie? She was spared the ravages of having that ninth foal by a volunteer with the nonprofit Friends of the Mustangs, who shot her with a 4-inch fertility dart in 2003. Josie is just one of about 40,000 wild horses roaming public lands in 10 Western states. Her story is one the Bureau of Land Management, horse advocates, ranchers, lawmakers and taxpayer watchdogs are hoping the agency can replicate as the cost of managing the nation's wild horses spirals out of control.

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