The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is investigating the deaths of five federally protected wild horses that were found on public land in Wyoming's Red Desert, a BLM spokeswoman said Tuesday.

"We're also offering a reward of $1,000 for information that leads to the identification, arrest and conviction of the person or people involved in the death of these horses," said Sarah Beckwith, BLM spokeswoman for the Lander field office that covers the Wyoming, Wind River, Bighorn Basin District.

Beckwith said three horse corpses were found in early November: one on Green Mountain, and two near the Three Forks/Atlantic City Road in the Pickett Lake area.

Two more horses were found in mid-January near the same road south of Crooks Mountain.

"Preliminary findings suggest that all five horses were shot," Beckwith said, adding she doesn't have any other information about how they were shot.

While the killings happened in November and January, she didn't know why the BLM chose to delay releasing the information until now, she said.

"This is an active, ongoing investigation, and in order to not compromise the investigation, this is all the information I'm authorized to release at this time," Beckwith said. "I don't have any knowledge of what happened between the November horses being found and the horses found in January."

Wild horses are protected by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, she said.

"It is illegal to harm, harass or kill wild horses," Beckwith said. "The BLM is committed to providing a safe and secure environment for public land users and to protecting public land resources from illegal activity."

BLM law enforcement officers are working with the local brand inspector, Fremont County Sheriff’s Department and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department.

Anyone with information about this crime is urged to contact BLM Law Enforcement Officer Thomas Howell at (307) 332-8469.

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