Washington, May 6, Nearly 200 feral horses have been found dead in a stock pond in Arizona, according to Native American leaders, who attributed the death to ongoing drought and famine, the media reported.

Some of the horses were found thigh- to neck-deep in the mud at the stock pond in Gray Mountain located in an area owned by the Navajo tribe, CNN reported on Saturday

"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," Navajo Nation Vice President Jonathan Nez said in a statement.

Hydrated lime will be spread over the animals to speed up decomposition. They will be buried on-site, it said.

The Navajo community in Arizona has had to contend with a growing feral horse population of about 50,000 to 70,000, according to the statement.

"This tragic incident exemplifies the problem the Navajo Nation faces in an overpopulation of feral horses," said Navajo Nation President Russell Begaye.

Horses dying at the Gray Mountain stock pond isn't new, Navajo officials said. It's a seasonal issue.

An intense drought hit the southwestern US this year, creating dry conditions in northern New Mexico and southwestern Arizona.

A drought emergency was declared for the Navajo Nation in March.