FORT POLK, La. — The U.S. Army is seeking new homes for a herd of about 700 feral horses that roam the grounds of Fort Polk, saying they threaten soldiers who train at the Army post.

The Army says fewer than 50 horses roamed the grounds 20 years ago, but the herd has grown as horses give birth and people abandon their animals on the base.

Some protesters say the horses were roaming freely in the surrounding Kisatchie National forest long before the Army took over. But a judge has ruled they are not federally protected as wild horses, and are technically trespassing.

The Army has begun taking applications at Garrison commander Col. David Athey is urging people interested to work through nonprofit animal wefare groups, but there’s also a signup for individuals.