Press Release from The Cloud Foundation
Northern CA Twin Peaks herd is targeted for a destructive multi-million dollar summer roundup
San Francisco, CA (July 7, 2010)—The Cloud Foundation opposes and is calling for a stop to the proposed roundup of over 2,500 mustangs and burros from one of the last viable herds in California. To avoid conflicting with deer hunting season, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to unleash contracted helicopters in the August heat to round up 2,500 mustangs and burros, including their young foals, from the Twin Peaks Range near Susanville. Vastly outnumbered by thousands of corporate-owned destructive livestock, the public’s wild horses and burros are the BLM’s scapegoats for damage on the range. Over 2,000 are now slated for removal despite healthy range conditions and an outdated census.
Anne Novak, with the Cloud Foundation, is an East Bay resident and fifth generation Californian. She visited the HMA outside of Susanville last week and recounts, “We were looking forward to seeing a lot of wild horses on the range after hearing the BLM’s reasons for the proposed roundup but we didn’t see any horses at all. We found three pronghorn and a small group of burros after covering the range all day on safari.”
The Twin Peaks wild horse and burro herd area is larger than the state of Rhode Island at 1,250 square miles. Despite the vast landscape, BLM wants to slash the herd from what they claim are 2,585 horses and burros to only 450 wild horses and 74 burros.
“We spent all day with BLM on a scheduled tour, combing the Twin Peaks area looking for wild horses and burros. We found a grand total of 20 wild horses including one foal and no burros,” explains Deb Coffey who traveled from Los Angeles to see the horses. “I really don’t believe that there are thousands of wild horses in the area.”
The BLM census estimates have come under increased scrutiny after the Calico round up in which 1,922 horses could be found, even though BLM had estimated that closer to 3,000 wild horses occupied an area of over half a million acres. The Twin Peaks numbers are based on even wilder projections. BLM numbers indicate that the herd has doubled in size in three years—a biological impossibility.
Emmy Award-winning filmmaker and Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation, Ginger Kathrens, has filed comments on behalf of thousands of supporters who want a freeze on all the roundups until an accurate and independent census is completed and a sustainable management plan is in effect.
“Obviously BLM doesn’t have a handle on how many wild horses and burros are living in their designated ranges,” explains Kathrens. “Twin Peaks is a perfect example of a lack of scientific range data which would include an accurate census. None of the numbers add up and nothing is consistent except BLM’s mismanagement of America’s treasured wild horses and burros.”
Carla Bowers, of Volcano California reminds fellow residents that the public may “voice their opposition to the rounding up of the increasingly rare California wild horses by calling Senator Feinstein at 415-393-0707 and Senator Boxer at 916-448-2787 as well as sending emails and faxes of concern to the Senators and their representatives.”
The BLM Eagle Lake Field Office in Susanville, which manages the Twin Peaks herd, reports receiving some 2,300 letters requesting cancellation of the roundup from individuals and groups but only 15 letters supporting the planned removal. Despite growing public outrage over BLM’s continuing massive roundups, which condemn wild horses to a life of confinement at taxpayer expense, BLM is expected to select alternative A (removing the maximum number of wild horses and burros) while allowing thousands of head of livestock to dominant the range.
“BLM prefers to excessively grant land use to damaging livestock rather than honor the wild horse’s unique place in the western ecosystem. If the government would consider adaptive and holistic management of America’s public land we would all reap the benefits,” adds wildlife ecologist and author, Craig Downer, who has spent 40 years on the range studying the survival strategies and contributions wild equids make to their home ranges. “When is BLM going to bring science to the table and give wild horses and the American taxpayer a break?”
The Cloud Foundation continues to ask for DOI’s assurance that the elimination of wild horse and burro herds across the West is not motivated by extractive industries. This is difficult to believe because tens of thousands of privately-owned livestock are grazing on herd management areas across the West and oil and gas exploration is rampant in some herd areas.
“We want to safeguard our wild horses and burros on public lands and stop these dangerous roundups. We want an independent census to know exactly how many are out there,” explains Novak, continuing with, “Once they’re gone they’re gone forever. This heritage area is the home of the last stronghold of wild mustangs in California.”
At the passage of the Wild horse and burro act of 1971 there were 38 Herds designated for protection on a total of 6.6 million acres of public land. Today only 22 remain on a mere 2.4 million acres. Livestock Grazing is allowed on 8.1 million acres (including acres allocated to wild horses and burros). BLM estimates that the current population of California wild horses/burros is 4,952 and aims to reduce that to only 2,201 animals. Currently approximately 43,750 privately-owned livestock graze on California’s public lands at highly subsidized rates.
Financial Cost of the Proposed Twin Peaks Roundup & Review of Grazing Fees
Links of interest:
Proposed Roundup of Wild Horses Criticized – Sacramento Bee 7/5/10 http://bit.ly/SacBeeMustang
BLM Eagle Lake Field Office Roundup Planning Documents http://bit.ly/EagleLakeBLM
The Mustang Conspiracy: Sex, Drugs, Corruption, and BP – investigative report http://www.abovetopsecret.com/mustangconspiracy/
CNN Report, Issues with Jane Valez-Mitchell, March 25th http://bit.ly/dvl7NE
Disappointment Valley… A Modern Day Western Trailer- excellent sample of interviews regarding the issues http://bit.ly/awFbwm
American Herds Blog http://americanherds.blogspot.com/
‘Herd-Watch: Public Eyes for Public Horses’ http://bit.ly/9Wvh58
Roundup Schedule- updated July 2010 http://bit.ly/2010roundup
PR Firm Hired for the Destruction of America’s Wild Horse and Burro Herds http://bit.ly/czf3HB
America’s Disappearing Wild Horses
Fact Sheet on Wild Herds & The Salazar Plan http://bit.ly/bfdX1y
Wild Horse and Burro Act http://bit.ly/a7hOeS
Straight from the Horse’s Heart http://www.sfthh.com
Photos, video and interviews available from:
The Cloud Foundation ~ Makendra@TheCloudFoundation.org
The Cloud Foundation is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of wild horses and burros on our Western public lands with a focus on protecting Cloud’s herd in the Pryor Mountains of Montana.
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