WILD HORSES AND BURROS TWIN PEAKS, COPPERSMITH AND BUCKHORN HERD MANAGEMENT AREAS October 2014

Report Compiled by:
Jesica Johnston, Environmental Scientist
Lisa LeBlanc, Environmental Researcher
Kathy Gregg, Environmental Researcher
Photographs by Jesica Johnston

“FEW AND FAR BETWEEN”

Wild Burros

Introduction

Wild horses and burros are different from their domestic cousins. Wild equines have to continually learn and adapt to the constantly changing environment directed by nature. During their lifetimes they will see life and death and must learn from their elders and trust their instincts and knowledge of their wild world in order to survive.

Three experienced wildlife observers searched for three days for wild horses and burros and other wildlife in Northern California-Nevada Twin Peaks, Coppersmith and Buckhorn Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Areas. These areas are managed for all American citizens by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and for the protection of our wild horses and burros. We traveled approximately 160 miles over 3 days and 13 hours in the herd management areas. We drove slowly with many stops; some off-road hiking and almost constant searching with binoculars for signs of wild horses and wild burros. After 3 days, a total of only 18 wild horses and 26 wild burros were observed on the three herd management areas. Of those, we saw 1 burro yearling and no horse foals or yearlings. All observed horses and burros appeared to be in excellent health. What was most obvious in our three day journey was the notable absence of wild horses and burros on their legally authorized herd areas on public land. A few of our wild horses and burros were found…but very few and far between.

During our survey there were times that only a short distance could be seen due to canyon walls but for the majority of the assessment a distance of more than a mile in all directions could be seen and often a distance of many miles were observable with binoculars. Even though time and mileage was documented and a map available, herd management area boundaries are vaguely marked, so some mileage and hours in the herd management areas are rounded or estimated in our report.

Click (HERE) to Download and Read the Report in it’s Entirety

Carol Walker on Wyoming wild horse roundups on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., Oct. 29th)

 

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WEDNESDAY, Oct. 29, 2014

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen Live (Here!)

Call in # 917-388-4520

This is a 2 hour show. Please call in with questions during the 2nd hour of the show.

The shows will be archived, so you can listen anytime.

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Our guest is Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and a plaintiff on a recent lawsuit attempting to stop the BLM from removing over 800 wild horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin in Wyoming.  Carol was an observer at the roundups, and will share her observations and give an update on the wild horses that are now in captivity.

Carol’s website is http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/ and you can see her photography of wild horses at http://www.livingimagescjw.com/

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This radio show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, Vice-President & Director of Wild Horse Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation. Continue reading

Help Save the 189 American Wild Burros from being sent to Guatemala

News Flash from the Equine Welfare Alliance

Wild Burros in BLM holding ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Burros in BLM holding ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

As many of you are aware, the BLM was going to send 189 burros to Guatemala after removing them from their homes. There is an effort underway to keep the Guatemala 189 burros in the US. At last count, only 25 remain without homes. We bring this to your attention because our president, John Holland, will be the proud owner of one of the burros. John has been heartbroken since he lost Selina (pictured above) so we are trying to help with the efforts in Selina’s memory.

For more information on adopting a burro and the BLM adoption paperwork, visit the facebook page here or contact Elaine Nash, holdyourhorses@aol.com.   

Please share and help turn this into the Guatemala 0.

Letter to BLM’s Chief of Wild Horse & Burro Program & BLM’s failure to manage our wild herds on federal public lands

We are publicly posting this letter that Grandma Gregg sent to Joan Guilfoyle, Neil Kornze, Ed Roberson and Sally Spencer:

Joan Guilfoyle, Division Chief
Division of Wild Horses and Burros
20 M Street, S.E.
Washington, DC

I strongly oppose the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) plan to send 100 federally protected wild burros—at taxpayer expense—to Guatemala, where they would become working animals.  Once outside the U.S., the fates of the burros would be unknown – forever.

This idea flies in the face of the BLM’s legal mandate to care for and protect these cultural treasures here on U.S. soil.  It is not only cruel and a waste of resources—it also fails to address the ugly reality that led to this misguided schemethe BLM’s wholesale failure to manage our wild herds on federal public lands.

As for BLM’s Guatemala proposal:

First off,the Guatemalans will slaughter some (and eventually all) and I doubt they will give anyconcern about their slaughter methods but it won’t be humane.

Second, the burros are wild and although eventually could become pack animals with humane training and care, the typical and historically forceful methods to train equine that most people use in this and other countries is inhumane.

donkey-abuse

(photo:  http://www.abeatingheart.ca/the-numbing-and-dumbing-of-humanity/) *

Third, I can tell you that nobody is ever going to check on the welfare of these burros – ever.  As a BLM adopter of two wild horses, BLM never checked on them until finally after two years; and then only because I pestered them about getting my ownership papers. In addition, they never checked on the wild stallion I bought – never. If anyone thinks that anyone is going to check on those in Guatemala … think again.  And even IF someone tried … how could they find a hundred burros that had been dispersed throughout the country?  They could not.

Fourth, by agreeing that it is acceptable to send our wild burros to another country we are setting a precedent that allows these American wild icons to be disposed of to another country and that is an unscrupulous precedent – if not illegal.  They are to be protected per the United States Congress.

Fifth, our burros do not belong to BLM or the government – they belong to the people of America and BLM has no right to sell our burros overseas to an unknown future.  They are not a livestock commodity.

Sixth, the most important issue is to again articulate to our government (BLM) that there are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land that was (per law) given to them principally for their protection.  To agree to anything less than what is really true and legal and correct is a betrayal to the wild horses and burros and the American people who own these wild equine.

With about 50,000 wild horses and burros stockpiled in BLM holding facilities, clearly the BLM’s wild equine program needs a complete overhaul.  Rather than continuing to round up and remove horses and burros to holding facilities while instituting no legitimate on-range management plan, the BLM must first realize and admit that there are no “excess” wild horses and burros on their congressionally designated legal land.

The recent National Academy of Science (NAS) report on the Wild Horse and Burro Program determined that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has no evidence of excess wild horses and burros; because the BLM has failed to use scientifically sound methods to estimate the populations (NAS, 2013).

The NAS cited two chief criticisms of the Wild Horse and Burro Program: unsubstantiated population estimates in herd management areas (HMA), and management decisions that are not based in science (NAS, 2013).  Shipping our protected equines off to other countries is the very opposite of proper management.

 

* The photo above may not have been taken in Guatemala, but illustrates the point of how equines are mistreated in other countries.

 

Plan to lease Santa Fe National Forest for oil and gas drilling risks community health and cultural resources

SOURCE: enewspf.com

Litigation Prepared to Challenge Illegal 20,000 Acre Public Lands Lease

Santa Fe, NM—(ENEWSPF)—October 20, 2014. A broad coalition of local and national conservation groups announced plans to sue the Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”), if the agency proceeds with the sale of 13 parcels (almost 20,000 acres of public lands) in the Santa Fe National Forest for oil and gas fracking. BLM received more than a hundred letters protesting the sale and challenging the agency’s failure to consider potentially serious impacts to the area’s air, water, wildlife, and surrounding communities.

The leases would allow horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing (“fracking”) of the Santa Fe National Forest, a prospect that BLM has never studied. In fact, BLM has admitted that its current resource management plan governing drilling activities, finalized in 2003, is outdated and no longer able serve this essential function.

“In a rush to satisfy the demands of the oil and gas industry, BLM is ignoring its fundamental legal obligations and circumventing the underlying oil and gas drilling planning process,” said Kyle Tisdel, attorney with the Western Environmental Law Center. “There is broad commitment from groups to go to court if necessary to ensure our treasured landscapes are not destroyed.”

“BLM has already leased 94% of our public lands around the Farmington area for oil and gas drilling,” said Mike Eisenfeld, New Mexico Energy Coordinator for San Juan Citizens Alliance. “This new lease sale on the Santa Fe National Forest would continue this reckless, lease-everywhere mentality that destroys recreation, wildlife, and cultural resources and ignores BLM’s responsibilities to honestly analyze impacts.”

“Oil and gas drilling these days is significantly different than that of only 11 years ago,” said Pete Dronkers, Southwest Circuit Rider for Earthworks.  “The wells are bigger, go deeper and for miles in every direction. They release far more hazardous waste into the air and water.  BLM has to study these newer impacts before it permits further drilling in the San Juan Basin.”

The lease sale is scheduled for 9:00 a.m., on Wednesday, October 22, 2014 at the BLM New Mexico State Office in Santa Fe.

The coalition of conservation groups is represented by Western Environmental Law Center, and includes: Amigos Bravos, Chaco Alliance, Earthworks, Rio Arriba Concerned Citizens, San Juan Citizens Alliance, and WildEarth Guardians.

Biologists Criticize Science In BLM Plans To Help Sage Grouse

“Granted, this story is not about Wild Horses and Burros BUT it does speak to the BLM’s poor math, lack of science and inconstancy in properly managing any form of wildlife on our public lands.  It’s all the same and scientists are screaming at them to get their facts right, just as we have been doing for years.  Good read!” ~ R.T.

“Unfortunately, the protections vary a lot from plan to plan, and most of those are not based in science as they are cherry picking pieces of science to make things easy,”

Sage GrouseIn late 2015, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will decide whether to list the Greater Sage Grouse as an endangered or threatened species.  In preparation for this decision, another federal agency, the Bureau of Land Management, is coordinating a set of plans aimed at protecting the bird and keeping it off the endangered species list.

A group of sage grouse scientists, however, say those plans lack sound science and fail to adequately protect the grouse.

In a Thursday conference call, Ken Rait, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts Western Lands Initiative, said that wildlife biologists believe “there is significant discrepancy between science and the plans.”

In a June letter sent to Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell, a group of 15 wildlife scientists, 12 of them with doctoral degrees, outlined some of the problems they saw with the draft plans. (Final versions will be released in early 2015, so the BLM may still revise them.)

One problem with the plans, the scientists said, is that they lack consistency, “essentially creating 15 different management approaches to sage-grouse conservation within and across state boundaries.”

While some variations are necessary due to regional differences, the variability in the plans is not based in science, the biologists said. For example, one plan may require a certain buffer distances for oil and gas activity or surface disturbance from a priority conservation area or sage grouse breeding ground, and another plan would have a different requirement.

“Unfortunately, the protections vary a lot from plan to plan, and most of those are not based in science as they are cherry picking pieces of science to make things easy,” said Terry Riley, a wildlife biologist and director of conservation policy at the North American Grouse Partnership.

The other criticism the scientists laid out is that the conservation measures the BLM recommends are not supported by the best available science.

Matt Holloran, a principal and senior ecologist with Wyoming Wildlife Consultants, also criticized the BLM draft plans for failing to come up with a coordinated effort to manage invasive species like cheatgrass and medusahead, which, after wildfire, come in and take over important sagebrush habitat. In fact, in some of the plans, burning sagebrush was considered as a tool in wildlife managers toolboxes, which Holloran said was a bad idea.

“The science is pretty conclusive that fire should not be considered a management option,” he said…(CONTINUED)

BLM Ely Nevada District to Round Up Wild Horses

Unedited Press Release from the BLM

Release Date: 10/16/14

BLM Ely District to Gather Wild Horses

Triple B Horses - BLM

Triple B Horses – BLM

ELY – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ely District is scheduled in early November 2014 to begin gathering and removing approximately 120 excess wild horses from in and around the Triple B and Silver King Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in eastern Nevada.  Details will be posted on the district website at http://on.doi.gov/1lGnDYC as they become available. The helicopter gathers are necessary to prevent further damage to private property and provide for public and animal safety.

The District will remove about 70 excess wild horses from the Triple B HMA, located about 30 miles northwest of Ely, that are damaging private property, and harassing and breeding domestic stock resulting in landowner complaints.  Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Triple B HMA is 215-250 wild horses.  The current population is 1,311 wild horses.

The District will remove up to 50 excess wild horses from in and around the Silver King HMA.  The horses to be gathered are located about 120 miles south of Ely.  They are a safety concern on U.S. Highway 93 and are damaging private property, resulting in property owner complaints.  AML for the Silver King HMA is 60-128 wild horses.  The current population is 452 wild horses.

BLM attempts to keep wild horses away from private property and the highway, including trapping and relocating animals to other portions of the HMAs, have been unsuccessful.

The BLM will utilize the services of gather contractor Cattoor Livestock Roundup, Inc., of Nephi, Utah, which uses a helicopter to locate and herd wild horses toward a set of corrals to be gathered.  The pilot is assisted by a ground crew and a domesticated horse that is trained to guide the horses into the corral.  The use of helicopters, which is authorized by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, has proven to be a safe, effective and practical means by which to gather excess wild horses with minimal anxiety or hardship on the animals.

Wild horses removed from the range will be transported to the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley (PVC), in Reno, Nev., where they will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals.  Wild horses for which there is no adoption demand will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.

A Wild Horse Gather Information Line has been established at (775) 861-6700.  A recorded message will provide information on daily gather activities and schedules.  The BLM will also post daily gather information on its website at: http://on.doi.gov/1lGnDYC.

Public lands within the HMAs will be open to the public during gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions, and the BLM will make every effort to allow for public viewing opportunities. The BLM has established protocols for visitors to ensure the safety of the horses, the public, and BLM and contract staff. The protocols are available at: http://on.doi.gov/1lGnDYC under Observation Opportunities.

Gather activities in and outside the Triple B HMA were analyzed in the Triple B, Maverick-Medicine and Antelope Valley HMA Gather Plan and Environmental Assessment (EA), signed in May 2011 and available at http://on.doi.gov/1tgdHc6.  Gather activities in and around the Silver King HMA were analyzed in the Ely District Public Safety and Nuisance Gather EA signed in August 2014 and available at http://on.doi.gov/1lx856K.

For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at (775) 289-1842 or chanefel@blm.gov.

Silver King Highway Nuisance Wild Horse Gather

Triple B Nuisance Wild Horse Gather