Press Release from the Cloud Foundation
Reno, NV (June 21, 2010)—Cindy MacDonald, research expert and American Herds blogger has filed a request for investigation with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) this afternoon to prevent the transport, adoption, and/or sale of non-excess Calico wild horses currently being held in BLM processing facilities. MacDonald is requesting an investigation into the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for attempting to dispose of the Calico wild horses prior to confirming that the recent removal operations left approximately 600-900 wild horses on the range as required by law.
MacDonald contends that, “the BLM may have removed far too many Calico horses in a massive roundup last winter and failed to return, by BLM definition, ‘non-excess’ horses.” The BLM is required to leave at least 572 wild horses on the Calico range, the low level of their arbitrarily set “appropriate management level” (AML). Only horses above that level can be considered excess. Returning the horses would save at least $3 million dollars over the next ten years alone.
Early this month, wildlife ecologist Craig Downer carried out a flyover of the Calico Complex in a fixed-wing aircraft. Downer was able to find only 31 wild horses but noted 350 privately-owned cattle grazing on the Herd Management Areas (HMAs). Downer noted that “there was a reasonable spring green-up of the landscape and the open treeless character of the terrain permitted a high degree of horse detection”. An additional ground survey by Robert Bauer resulted in finding only 9 mustangs in Nevada’s Calico Complex region.
“Two recent independent observers report the Calico herds are gone,” states MacDonald, adding “there’s a vast difference between less than 50 and 600-900 wild horses. The public needs to be sure the BLM followed the law before those horses are shipped out.”
MacDonald points out that BLM is plagued with failures to properly count free-roaming wild horses and burros even though the agency attempts to develop new protocol to remedy these errors.
“While the BLM’s numbers rarely add up, the Calico fiasco is an extreme example of this from start to finish,” states MacDonald.
Responding to public comments during last Monday’s BLM Denver workshop, the BLM announced Friday they will partner with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for an aerial census of NW Nevada and SE Oregon. The BLM refuses to bring along The Cloud Foundation’s ‘Herd-Watch’ project director, Laura Leigh, on their census flights—continuing to demonstrate their closed-door protocol. The Foundation supports transparency and wants advocates involved in counting horses.
The BLM’s policy for massive removals through roundups, followed with stockpiling mustangs in government-contracted holding pens and mid-east pastures is not sustainable and is costing American taxpayers some $40 million per year.
“In this day and age of government budget crises, to waste the lives of these mustangs at a cost of millions of dollars to the American taxpayers is unconscionable,” statesGinger Kathrens, Director of The Cloud Foundation and Emmy Award-winning filmmaker. “We call on BLM to show an act of good faith. We ask they put an immediate moratorium on all roundups is until we can partner together to sort this all out.”