Under the current Administration, the BLM has rounded up so many wild horses that the number of mustangs stockpiled in government warehouses (nearly 50,000) now exceeds the number that remain free in the wild (under 40,000).
“Our clients wanted to intervene in the case to defend wild horses from the pro-ranching special interests and their allies in state government. Our clients’ goal is to prevent the federal government from acceding to their claims that the horses must be removed from the public lands to protect the private livestock that are allowed to graze on the same lands,” said Caitlin Zittkowski, of Meyer,Glitzenstein and Crystal, the Washington-DC based law firm that is representing the groups and individuals intervening in the case.
Last year, the BLM settleda similar legal attack by pro-ranching interests in Wyoming, agreeing to decimate nearly half of the state’s remaining wild horse population. This settlement was then used to justify the blatantly illegal roundup of 1,263 wild horses from three Herd Management Areas in Wyoming last fall, an action that is the subject of active litigation filed by the same organizations and individuals.
Under the current Administration, the BLM has rounded up so many wild horses that the number of mustangs stockpiled in government warehouses (nearly 50,000) now exceeds the number that remain free in the wild (under 40,000).
Statewide, Wyoming’s wild horse population levels are far below the high Appropriate Management Level of 3,722 wild horses, a number established by land use plans throughout the state.
The advocates maintain that the governor’s decision to expend public resources on a lawsuit against the BLM is ironic for a state with so few wild horses remaining, and one that promotes wild horses in tourism videos that tout Wyoming as a state that remains untamed, wild and free.
In Wyoming, wild horse numbers are dwarfed by the number of livestock grazing on public lands at taxpayer expense. Fewer than 2,500 wild horses remain on just 3.2 million acres of public rangeland, while hundreds of thousands of livestock graze 18 million acres of public land in the state. Put another way, wild horses are present in Wyoming on just 2 percent of the BLMland grazed by livestock.
Report by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
as published on WildHoofBeats.com
“The wild horses are the victims in this outrageous land grab struggle…”
In September and October of 2014, 1263 wild horses were removed from Great Divide Basin, Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town Herd Management Areas by the BLM. This was done due to a lawsuit and pressure and influence exerted by the Rock Springs Grazing Association, a very small but powerful association whose goal is to eradicate wild horses from both private and public lands in Wyoming. Although in the 80s an agreement was reached between the BLM, wild horse advocates and the Rock Springs Grazing Association for how many wild horses would be allowed in the vast checkerboard of private and public lands in the Red Desert of Wyoming, the grazing association contended that the BLM was not keeping the numbers of wild horses in check, so their solution was to pressure the BLM to remove all of them, not only from private lands but also from public lands on 2 million acres, and they forced the BLM to manage the public lands in the Checkerboard Area in one block, as though they were part of private lands, even though this is illegal. The court denied the advocates fighting to represent the wild horses a Temporary Restraining Order and Emergency Injunction to stop the roundup, so currently the wild horses removed are in short term holding facilities: about 600 are at Rock Springs, Wyoming, about 500 in Canon City, Colorado and about 100 youngsters are at Axtell, Utah.
The wild horses are the victims in this outrageous land grab struggle. Even though there were fewer than the Appropriate Management Level in each of these Herd Management Areas at the time of the roundup, with no opportunity for public comment the horses were removed, and now only 89 wild horses remain in Great Divide Basin, 29 in Salt Wells Creek and approximately 515 in Adobe Town.
I attended as many days of the roundup as I could. It was a very different experience than any roundup I had been to before in Wyoming because they were trying to capture every single horse in the Checkerboard Areas. This resulted in many more deaths than usual – a total of 14, and also resulted in the capture of many more older horses than usual. They spent hours driving single bands over and over again to the trap, when the older stallions knew what was happening and valiantly tried to evade capture…(CONTINUED)
Mustangs canter across land in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. The U.S. Forest Service says that there are several hundred horses in the area and argues that the population isn’t wild and needs to be controlled. (Photo: Photos by Tom Tingle/The Republic)
Three young chestnut, black and chocolate-colored stallions from the wild herd that roams the forest here spent a recent Friday morning lazing in a clearing, offering no clarity on where they came from.
The animals — known by their backers as the Heber wild horses — have drawn support from residents, visitors and an Arizona congressman who say they were born in the wild and should stay there as a federally protected symbol of the West.
But the U.S. Forest Service says few of the horses, whose exact herd size is under survey, are actually descended from the original free-roaming creatures. Instead, the agency argues that lost and abandoned horses have proliferated on public land to the point that the population needs to be controlled.
Rumors of a roundup have swirled in these small Navajo County communities on the Mogollon Rim, where about 2,800 people live. Trucks in the forest, helicopters overhead and unanswered questions led some to fear capture of the animals was imminent.
The Forest Service addressed those concerns in a public e-mail this month. The agency said that it’s developing a management strategy for the horses, but that a plan likely won’t be completed until at least 2016.
That’s little comfort for advocates who have fought for the horses before and say they are ready to do it again. A Facebook page started in June with photos and stories of the horses has more than 2,000 “likes” from animal-rights activists worldwide.
Mary Hauser, 61, printed red, white and blue fliers, reading, “THEY NEED OUR HELP!!!!” for the restaurant bulletin boards and shop doors here. Hauser, who has been tracking the horses for years, said she has distributed 500 fliers since September.
“Our American spirit spikes up,” she said.
Horse advocates and the Forest Service disagree about the horses’ ancestry. Animal-rights groups took the agency to court over the issue in the early 2000s.
The federal Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burro Act — passed in 1971 to protect the animals from sale and slaughter by hunters and ranchers — led to the creation of the Heber Wild Horse Territory on about 20,000 acres in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests.
The Forest Service says the original wild herd likely no longer exists.
The seven horses recorded in the 1974 census dipped to two mares in 1993, according to the agency. It argues that federal protection under the act applies only to the original wild horses and their progeny — not the strays that currently live in the forest.
Wild horses are a genetic mix of the domestic breeds that once escaped from Spanish explorers, Western settlers, ranchers and Native American tribes. They’re not a native species but were determined by Congress to be an integral part of the landscape under the landmark federal act.
“Wild” is a legal status given to unbranded and unclaimed horses on public land.
All the free-roaming horses and burros on public land in 1971, when the act was passed, were designated as wild.
The U.S. Bureau of Land Management manages two herds in Arizona totaling about 200 wild horses, according to the agency’s website. The Forest Service also manages several horse and burro territories in the state.
The agencies have the authority to determine how many horses the land can support and whether the herd’s population is managing itself.
In some cases, federal agencies say, domestic horses enter the wild after escaping from or being abandoned by private owners.
“I would estimate a substantial portion of horses out there. … God knows where they came from,” said Ed de Steiguer, a University of Arizona professor and author of a book about the history and politics of wild horses in the U.S.
In 2002, the Forest Service says, the Rodeo-Chediski fire burned fences near Heber, allowing a large number of horses to wander from neighboring White Mountain Apache tribal land and other owners.
Many of them live on forest land not included in the horse territory, the agency said.
Without the legal status of a wild horse, the animals are treated as unauthorized livestock and are “subject to impoundment,” the agency told The Arizona Republic in a statement.
That was the basis of Forest Service plans in 2005 to gather about 120 trespass horses for relocation and sale. At the time, advocates estimated 300 to 400 horses lived on the forest land.
Activists took the agency to court, arguing the horses were descended from the original Heber herd.
Plans were halted under a 2007 settlement requiring the development of a Heber Wild Horse Territory management plan under the National Environmental Policy Act, which allows for public input.
U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., spoke about the horses that year during a speech in the House of Representatives. He called them “a most precious natural resource to be preserved for our children and grandchildren who will be able to see them for generations to come.”
The Forest Service says it was consumed with other land-management issues and recovering from the 2011 Wallow Fire, delaying work on the plan until now.
Grijalva said in an e-mail that the horses are a public asset and that he will be monitoring the management plan as it moves forward.
The Forest Service hasn’t proposed a roundup yet. But it did say in a statement to The Republic that the increase of horses has “created conflicts with other landowners and users” of the forest. Parts of the forest are also used for livestock grazing allotments and recreation.
Throughout the West, it’s still unclear what effect wild horses have on the land, de Steiguer said. But Heber advocates argue that there is plenty of space and grass for the herd.
“It’s like taking a drop of water out of a 5-gallon bucket,” said Robert Hutchison, who has lived in Overgaard for nearly 25 years.
On a recent drive through the forest, Mary Hauser spent nearly two hours before coming across the three young horses in the clearing.
“They have not trashed this place,” she said.
Still collecting data
A Forest Service team is still collecting population and environmental data and expects to complete its management plan by 2016.
Backers fear the agency will identify a limited number of horses to stay on the land and gather the rest for euthanasia or adoption.
Federal management of wild horses is controversial throughout the country.
The BLM estimates there are nearly 50,000 wild horses and burros on its land in 10 states. The Forest Service manages an additional 37 horse and burro territories.
The number of free-roaming wild horses and burros is already almost double the number the BLM has determined ideal for a healthy ecological balance. That’s not counting the nearly 50,000 captured wild horses and burros in corrals and pastures as of November, according to the agency.
There’s no long-term fertility vaccine to stop the growth of the free-roaming herds, BLM spokesman Tom Gorey said. The agency does use a short-term drug that lasts about a year.
And adoption rates are down, he added, straining the agency’s holding capacity.
The BLM rebuts claims of using inhumane practices to gather the horses and says it does not sell them to slaughter. But after an adopted horse’s title is transferred to the owner, the BLM no longer tracks the animal.
“There are a lot of success stories with adoption,” UA’s de Steiguer said. “There are a lot of unhappy stories, as well.”
But wild horses have few natural predators and spend most of their time eating and breeding, de Steiguer said. He added that herd populations can double in five years and that it’s likely that — if left unchecked — growth could lead to problems.
“It’s one of those wicked public-lands issues,” he said.
Attachment to Heber horses
The public has sentiment for free-roaming horses, wild or not, de Steiguer said. It gets more complicated when people identify with a specific herd.
Overgaard resident Donna Doss said she first remembers seeing the Heber horses during childhood hunting trips with her father.
“That’s an animal that’s part of Arizona history,” said Doss, 70, during her shift at the Lone Eagle Outdoor Shop. “I go out once a week to see them and the beauty of the freedom of them.”
Hauser frequently follows the washes, meadows and clearings where the “Magnificent Seven,” a band of male horses, and Old Buck, her personal favorite, spend their days. She said she has never touched or fed the horses but has seen births, deaths, fights and tender moments.
The Forest Service plan will be open for public input under the federal process. Advocates are collecting stories about the horses and searching for proof of how long they’ve been there to present to the agency.
“These are my horses, in my forest, on my land,” Hutchison said. “There are some stubborn people that are going to go to bat.”
Quietly, while most Americans made plans for holiday festivities several major milestones occurred this month that will enhance the safety and security of American equines during the upcoming new year. The activities of salvation seemed to occur unnoticed but we at SFTHH and WHFF want you to be well informed and perhaps even celebrate a bit over what has occurred.
First, Congress passed the Omnibus Bill on December 13th. The bill is a package that includes parts of the fiscal year 2015 appropriations bills and will fund most government agencies and programs until the end of the fiscal year Sept. 30, 2015.
The legislation included language that prohibits the USDA from using any funds to provide inspectors at meat processing facilities that slaughter horses, continuing an effective block that has been in place since 2005, except for a brief period in 2012-13.
No horse slaughter facilities are operating in the United States, and the bill will prevent any such facility from opening until Sept. 30, 2015.
The language was included in the omnibus bill because both the Senate and House Appropriations Committees adopted amendments that prohibited funding for inspectors at horse slaughter facilities when they debated and approved their respective versions of the 2015 USDA appropriations bill. Many thanks to those who lobby on behalf of our horses in Washington D.C..
As a bonus the bill also contains a provision that would prohibit the Bureau of Land Management from euthanizing healthy wild horses in its care or from selling wild horses or burros that result in their being processed into commercial products. Small step forward for the wild ones but a move forward none the less.
Secondly, and this may be the final death blow to the predatory business of horse slaughter, the European Commission has suspended the import of horsemeat from Mexico to the European Union (EU) due to food safety concerns. We equine advocates have tried to stay focused on the issue of food safety for years and it appears that such perseverance has finally paid off.
Effective Jan. 15, the commission has suspended a residue monitoring plan that tests for the presence of horse meat in other imported meat products, according to Aikaterini Apostola, press officer for health for the European Commission, during a recent published interview.
“Such suspension results in a ban of the import of horse meat, meat preparations, and meat products from Mexico,” Apostola stated in an email. “The measure has been taken after repeated negative outcomes of the audits carried out by the Food and Veterinary Office of the Commission’s Health and Consumers Directorate General in Mexico, the last of them in June 2014. This last audit also showed that many of the corrective actions that Mexico committed to take following previous audits were not yet taken.”
A key issue for the 28-member commission was inhumane treatment of the horses being shipped from the United States to Mexican slaughterhouses.
Michael Scannell, director of the Food and Veterinary Office, addressed the issue Nov. 30 at a European Parliament Intergroup meeting in Brussels by stating;
“In general, the worst contraventions we know are in relation to transport,” Scannell said. “By way of example, we will publish a report in the next number of weeks in relation to Mexico where we saw animals which arrived dead from the United States or non-ambulatory, i.e., they weren’t even able to stand.”
The transportation problem is also expected to affect slaughter operations in Canada, according to Scannell, who added the commission is close to imposing a “six-month” rule for Canada.
“So, in both cases, this will make it a lot more difficult — impossible in the case of Mexico, difficult in the case of Canada — to continue importing horses from the United States for subsequent export of horse meat to the European Union,” Scannell said.
So as you can see, American equine advocates truly do have something to celebrate this holiday season and we can look forward to the new year with vigor and anticipation as we push towards resolution the outstanding issues which still plague our American horses, both domestic and wild.
By “keeping the faith” we are trotting into a new era for our horses and donkeys…keep up the great works and take a moment to bask in the afterglow of these two great victories.
Thanks to all who work so hard for those who cannot speak for themselves. You are very special, indeed.
It is a special Christmas for me this year, simply put; I am home. Due to my rotational, international schedule my paying job finds me on the other side of the world every other holiday season and this year the calendar rolled the dice in my favor so I find myself home at “Laughing Horse Ranch”.
But with the familiarity of home comes a rush of holiday memories that can be both good and some of them bad; not that Christmas causes the passing of loved ones or other tragedies but the holiday acts as a bookmark in time that leaves tags of emotions in one’s heart to remember at a later date. When my head fills with these thoughts it’s always good to walk among the horses, listen to their breathing, their chewing and inhale the sweet smell of their essence, I did just that last night, during their Christmas eve feeding.
While in their stalls for supper I went to each one and stroked them, barehanded, so that they could feel the warmth from my heart and as I petted their special coats I attempted to shut down my mind, turn off the chaos and listen to the sounds that have taught me so much in the past. I deliberately imploded and was not disappointed.
It occurred to me that I had so very much to be thankful for and that I am rich in so very many ways. In the buzz of the modern world it is easy for the basic lessons of life to be clouded over, covered up and ignored as we scurry about, day to day, in an effort to get done what we think we are supposed to get done. The horses cut through the nonsense pretty quickly and with great precision.
I realized that regardless of my age I possess great health and agility. I take no medication, liquids excluded, and have never been healthier, walked further and lifted more than I can right now. The receding hairline aside, I am thankful for this singular and bountiful blessing.
We are blessed with work, a job, a living that provides for my marriage partner of almost 20 years and for the critters. No one goes hungry nor does anyone want for what is needed and/or required. For that we are all thankful.
But as I went from stall to stall I became aware of the warmth that comes from being surrounded by good and loving friends of which I am lucky enough to have several, not many, but enough to make my spirit rise and it is not just on the personal level but on the level of equine advocacy that speaks to my soul so strongly.
The individual members of our Board of Directors at Wild Horse Freedom Federation are some of the most professional and sincere people I have ever worked with; Terry, Debbie, Dawn, Carol and Marjorie. Also included would be our extended advocate family which includes, but is not limited to, Vicki, John, Simone, Ginger, Paula, Ann, Linda, Jerry, Daryl, Julie, Kathy, Lisa, Stephanie and many, many more. I could feel the horses almost purr as those names rushed across my mind.
As I let the boys out of their stalls and they walked down the barn’s center aisle and out into the cool Christmas eve night I felt a gentle glow in thinking that horses would soon not be crossing our state’s border to be murdered and butchered in Mexico for human dinner plates in the EU, the chapter of that book was closing. And with that comes the knowledge and expectation that the same will happen for our Northern border and American horses will be forever free of the terror and treachery of predatory horse slaughter.
I joined the horses down in the lower pasture where they were partaking of several flakes of quality hay for dessert, it was going to be cool last night and their inner furnaces needed a little bit of fuel.
As they munched with half lidded eyes in the cool dark evening my mind swam over to contemplate the fate of their wild cousins and the thought almost pulled a dark veil over the moment but the horses prevailed, there is hope.
Those great folks that I have been working with at Wild Horse Freedom Federation have a plan and unlike me who wants to rush right into things and make them happen now, they know how to work a plan and stay the course for the proper results to be acquired. They have a plan and they give me hope.
It is now Christmas morning and I reflect upon the thoughts I shared with my equine companions last night and can truly say that I am blessed beyond all possible expectations with the gifts of health, friendship, family and love. The gift of good looks may come next year but I am not holding my breath as the main ingredients of life are rich and fulfilled with the horses helping and guiding our spirits to further elevate our souls in the service of speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves.
A very special and blessed Christmas to each and everyone of you and to your family and friends, both two and four legged.
Keep the faith, enjoy this day and thank YOU for being here, at SFTHH; day in and day out you give all of us, collectively, hope, companionship and direction.
“First published on Christmas Day in 2009; the characters have changed but the message still rings true to this very day. The roundups must stop so that we can appropriately care for and manage, if needed, our national treasures on their rightful land. At Wild Horse Freedom Federation we offer the gift of our continued fight in support of the Wild Horses and Burros to live free with their families on their promised public land. Merry Christmas!” ~ R.T.
Twas the night before Christmas…
artwork by Kerry Kelly ~ Houston Chronicle
Twas the night before Christmas on our public land
not a Mustang was stirring, knowing what was at hand.
They huddled in fear hoping someone would care,
in hopes that the advocates soon would be there.
The foals hid in cover while Mom stood her ground
while stallions and bachelors, made sure Kornze wasn’t around.
With Jewell lurking and Guilfoyle so close by
the bands must stay quiet and not blink an eye.
When out on the range there arose such a clatter
The Mustangs all knew, what was the matter.
They ran to take cover, on wings they did fly
For surely they knew, that many would die.
The visions of million$ caused Cattoor a big grin
While Bolstad and Spencer high-fived a big win
More horses removed by ignoring the law
Hold on to your hats and stand back in awe.
The chopper did glisten on new fallen snow
Sealing the fate of the horses below.
When all of a sudden, the bands all stood still
And watched as the chopper came over the hill.
They stood in amazement, can it really be true
The advocates appeared right out of the blue
The horses retreated, not believing their eyes
For surely this is another, BLM guise.
Then leading the charge, lively and quick
were Kathy and Holland and Fitch with a stick
More rapid than lightening, Coffey followed in tow
with Simone close behind, directing which way they go.
Now Ginger and Paula and Ann times two,
Oh Marjorie and Dawn and Julie it’s you.
Now Vicki and Jerry and Lisa and Daryl
with cameras in hand come Terry and Carol.
Down the hill they descended toward the horses with care
and watched as the chopper, fled into the air
The advocates came with injunction in hand
the decree shouted out, not on our public lands!
Enough is enough the judge did declare
the horses were saved by the breadth of a hair.
‘Our work here’s not done,’ the advocates cried
‘the choppers still flying, other herds could be spied’
It’s back to D.C. with a permanent plan
to ensure all the horses could live on their land.
So love was delivered to the horses with pride
but the warriors must leave so that no more would die.
They climbed up the hill and turned back to the band
who all now had gathered on what was their land.
‘We carry you with us,’ R.T. did say
‘as we go to the White House to show them your way.’
The horses all bowed with a sign of approval
as they all now knew that there was no removal.
They neighed and they nickered to the spirit above
‘Thanks for sending the people who give us their love.’
original artwork by Kerry Kelly of the Houston Chronicle
Some interesting background before you read the news article below: It seems that if we even just look at one grazing allotment on the Pine Nut HMA, the Buckeye Allotment, BLM allows about 375 cattle (and don’t forget that cow-calf pairs only count as one in BLM fuzzy math, so this number could be doubled) to dine on public lands for about 5 1/2 months out of the year.
Also, in BLM’s Oct. 2010Environmental Assessment to roundup wild horses in the Pine Nut HMA in Nevada, the BLM claimed there were 148 horses within the Pine Nut HMA and they were going to treat 45 mares with PZP. So, that would leave about 103 wild horses without fertility control in Oct. 2010. So even if ALL STALLIONS GAVE BIRTH, and using BLM’s questionable estimate of a 25% increase per year for wild horse herds, that would mean in 2011 there could’ve been 129 horses, in 2012 there could’ve been 162 horses, in 2013 there could’ve been 203 horses and in 2014 there could’ve been 254 horses. (But only IFALL of the stallions also gave birth. And only IF no horses died.)
However, the BLM now claims there are 330 horses living in the Pine Nut HMA (see article below). It seems as if BLM’s Win Equus population modeling, along with all other aspects of BLM’s wild horse & burro “management,” is seriously flawed. – Debbie Coffey
A pair of wild horses standing alongside Dump Road in 2006.
More than 330 wild horses living in the Pine Nut Mountain herd management area will be rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management beginning in late January.
The BLM’s Carson City District, Sierra Front Field Office has issued the decision to gather 332 wild horses and remove approximately 200 excess wild horses within and outside the Pine Nut Herd Management Area). As many as 132 wild horses will be released back to the range following the gather. The gather area is located south of Dayton and east of Carson City and Gardnerville within Lyon, Douglas, and Carson City Counties. The gather is scheduled to begin late January 2015.
A population inventory completed in August 2014 documented 332 wild horses. The Appropriate Management Level for the HMA is 119-179 wild horses. Based on the inventory, and monitoring data showing impacts from an overpopulation of the area, BLM has determined that removal of the excess wild horses is necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance.
Excessive grazing from wild horses has not only degraded the sage-grouse habitat, but has also removed and reduced the number of native grass plants in areas, which affects the overall availability of forage grasses in the area and has reduced the number of wild horses that can be supported by current range conditions.
(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Wild horses, on BLM land northwest of Cedar City, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The BLM intends to remove 100 wild horses this winter that congregate near State Route 21 in Millard County because they pose a threat to traffic safety. These animals belong in the nearby the Sulphur Herd Management Area, but have been crowded out. BLM is developing a long-term proposal to pare down the Sulphur herd.
Bureau of Land Management wranglers will return to Utah’s West Desert in February to remove dozens of wild horses congregating along a remote highway.
Federal land managers say the horses are a danger to themselves and motorists.
Suspected collisions killed three horses found dead along State Road 21 last winter, according to Chad Hunter, a range and wild-horse specialists in BLM’s Cedar City office.
“We were able to remove 30 head last summer. There were additional horses in the area that we tried to move away. They have moved back in,” Hunter said. “We have excess numbers and they are looking for space.”
The agency is fast-tracking an environmental review of the roundup, which is connected with a multiphase project to pull hundreds of horses from Utah’s Sulphur Herd Management Area, a 280,000-acre block straddling Millard and Beaver counties.
Last week, the BLM initiated an Environmental Analysis of a proposal to reduce the herd’s numbers to between 165 and 250 horses. This year’s estimate for the herd is 718, Hunter said, and that doesn’t include this year’s foals.
Wild horses are a contentious issue in Utah’s West Desert and Nevada, where ranchers and county commissioners complain the BLM is allowing horses to overrun the range, which leaves less forage available for cattle.
Animal-welfare advocates allege that cows, which far outnumber horses, are degrading the range. The BLM needs to allow wild horses room to roam rather than continually rounding them up for long-term storage at enormous public expense, advocates say.
In the middle of this struggle is the BLM, which is under pressure from the state to remove horses. Land managers hope contraception can become a more prominent tool in the agency’s wild horse and burro program, which has relied heavily on controversial helicopter gathers.
The BLM tries to adopt out horses, but most spend the rest of their lives in corals. Some mares are returned to the range after they are given a contraceptive.
The agency soon will be accepting public comment on its proposal to pare down the Sulphur herd, which was the subject of a roundup in 2010.
“This is a 10-year plan to get the herd to the appropriate management level as we get funding, and it includes fertility control,” Hunter said.
But the removal of some 100 horses along State Road 21, a narrow strip of highway connecting Milford and Garrison, cannot wait. The February roundup will target a lonely 10-mile stretch in Millard County just west of the Desert Range Experimental Station, where the Pine and Snake valleys meet. The area is just outside the northern margin of the Sulphur HMA.
ELKO – The Bureau of Land Management announced it will remove wild horses early next year that have roamed into checkerboard land in areas of the Elko District that aren’t designated for horse management.
A similar roundup to remove horses from checkerboard land is planned in the Winnemucca District.
In addition, the BLM has scheduled to gather about 1,000 horses in the Pine Nut Mountain, Fish Creek and Little Fish Lake herd management areas on the Carson City and Battle Mountain districts and treat about 225 to 250 mares with fertility control vaccine.
“The gathers announced today are part of BLM’s efforts to reduce overpopulation of wild horses on our public lands through the use of fertility control and selective removals,” Joan Guilfoyle, division chief of the national Wild Horse and Burrow Program, said in a statement.
About 460 excess horses will be removed.
“The welfare of wild horses is always a top priority for the BLM and we remain committed to providing humane care and treatment as we and our contractors conduct gather operations in Nevada,” Guilfoyle continued.
The late-January timeframe is intended to maximize the effectiveness of the fertility vaccine Porcine Zona Pellucidae, which can help slow herd growth rates and extend the time until another gather is needed, according to BLM.
The Winnemucca District said about 160 horses will be gathered over a three-day period from the area comprised of more than 431,000 acres of private and public land.
“In the summer of 2014, BLM Winnemucca removed 101 wild horses in this area by a bati/water trap operation,” Jim Schroeder, field manager for the district, said in a statement. “Starting in late Januaray 2015 we will be removing the remainder of the wild horses from the (herd area).”
Removing the excess wild horses will help prevent further deterioration of range and water resources, according to the BLM, as well as reduce vehicle-versus-horse accidents on roads and damage to private property.
The contractor for the gather is Cattoor Livestock of Nephi, Utah.
The horses will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center near Reno, or Burns, Oregon for preparation for adoption.
Wild Outer Mongolian Takhi – photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Kazakhstan’s Association for Conservation of Biodiversity along with Kazakhstan National Geographic Society has been working on reviving Przewalski’s horses in the country since 2003. At the recent biodiversity meeting, the head of the Association for Conservation Biodiversity Sergey Sklyarenko discussed future plans for the revival of the wild horse species.
“The first batch of Przewalski’s horses have already been brought to Kazakhstan. Back in 2003, a small group of wild horses were brought from the Munich Zoo to the National Altyn-Yemel park. The next group was brought in 2008, but some of the horses died for different reasons. But colts were born too. At the moment, there are 10 wild horses in Altyn-Yemel Park (in Kazakhstan),” Sklyarenko said.
Earlier, the Manager of the Central Asia Program of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in UK Stephanie Ward talked about joint plans for the reivival of the endangered Przewalski’s horses in Central Asian steppes.
“Since 2005, the Kazakhstan Association for Conservation of Biological Diversity together with the Forestry and Wildlife Committee and the Frankfurt Zoological Society have been working on the restoration of the wild steppes of central Kazakhstan. This partnership provides a unique opportunity for environmental work on an unprecedented scale. Herewith we are jointly introducing proven habitat management techniques, ecosystem restoration and sustainable use of natural resources,” Ward said.
Prehistoric Takhi reintroduced into Outer Mongolia ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation
50 hectares of land have been prepared for the revival of the wild horses in Kazakhstan.
“The next group will be created in Altyn Dala wildlife reserve in Central Kazakhstan. It is planned to bring Przewalski’s horses from the Nuremberg Zoo by Spring 2016,” Sklyarenko said.
Meanwhile, the wild horses will be prepared for transportation. In addition, transportation of the wild horses requires the species to be included in the list of protected species in Kazakhstan. “As soon as the species are on the list, German will start preparing the horses for transportation,” Sklyarenko said.
Reporting by Assemgul Khassenova. Writing by Gyuzel Kamalova