Updates from the deadly Calico Roundup by Craig Downer and Elyse Gardener
Below are the photos of the roundup that took place today (Saturday, January 2, 2010) showing how the captured band stallion, “Freedom,” valiantly fought for and regained his liberty although he had to leave his family of 8 adult mares and 2 colts. Jumping a 6-foot fence and immediately thereafter breaking through a barbed wire fence and injuring himself, this was an awe-inspiring, do-or-die effort demonstrating the loathing of captivity to a wild horse and his need for freedom. We can only pray for his recovery from the injuries the sustained from the barbed wire.
Before his escape, he became hung up by his front legs when he reared with all his might to attempt an escape from the narrow fenced area where he was being examined by Sue Cattoor and her wrangler.
Also included here are shots of the capture of his entire band, the 11 horses including Freedom himself.
More to come. Right now we are just sending stills. We have videos and interviews, but these photos really do capture the anguish and drama of the roundup for these majestic icons, our treasured American wild mustangs.
Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist
Additional Note: On New Year’s Day, the BLM rounded up 10 wild horses but only captured 9 because a 6-month old foal died en route. APHIS vet at the scene, Dr. Al Kane, reported that after being chased by the helicopter for “1/4 mile” the little foal was behaving strangely, lying down periodically. It is reported that the pilot radioed Dr. Kane that this foal was having problems and Dr. Kane went out to see the foal who was found dead. Dr. Kane said that he did a necropsy in the field and discovered congenital heart defect and said that foal couldn’t have handled any exercise and probably wouldn’t have lived to adulthood. They left the body in the field and refused to allow the public observers to witness the body.