(In Our Humble Opinion) by Lisa LeBlanc and R.T. Fitch
Just for fun, imagine Ms. Average American standing on stage and questioning our main actor, Mr. BLiM…it’s a short play but one we are confident that you will find interesting.
Ms. Average American: Mr BLiM, is it your assertion that in 2005, the Wild Horse and Burro on-the-range population estimate was 31,760 animals?
Mr. BLiM: Yup.
Ms. Average American: And that 11,023 Wild Horses and Burros were ‘gathered’, an actual number published in your Public Land Statistics?
Mr. BLiM: Uh-huh.
Ms. Average American: So, 31,760 animals minus 11,023 animals would leave 20,737 Equids on public lands. Would that be correct? If so we will use this as our baseline number.
Mr. BLiM: Okey dokey.
Ms. Average American: But, Mr. BLiM, you also assert that the following year, in 2006, the population estimate for on-the-range animals was 31,206.
Mr.BLiM: Das right.
Ms. Average American: So, Mr. BLiM, from the baseline of 20,737 animals in 2005, 31,206 animals were estimated the following year in 2006, correct?
Mr. BLiM: Sounds about right.
Ms. Average American: That is an increase in population of 10,469 animals. That’s a little over 50% more animals. How is that possible, Mr. BLiM?
Mr. BLiM: They are active little rascals.
Ms. Average American: Ok, Mr. BLiM. Let’s do one more example. In 2007, the population estimate was 28,563.
Mr. BLiM: Correct.
Ms. Average American: And 7,726 Wild Horses and Burros were actually ‘gathered’?
Mr. BLiM: Gotta keep those chopper contractors in groceries.
Ms. Average American: Leaving a baseline of 20,837 animals.
Mr. BLiM: You’re good at math.
Ms. Average American: But in 2008, the population estimate was 33,105 animals.
Mr. BLiM: Yes
Ms. Average American: And that is an increase of 12,268 animals.
Mr. BLiM: Spot on.
Ms. Average American: That’s over 60% more animals in a year, Mr. BLiM. Again, how is that possible? That would mean that more than half the animals left not rounded up would’ve had to have been pregnant.
Mr. BLiM: All those mustangs think about is sex.
7,726 in 07
5,275 in 08
6,413 in 09
If they had continued along the previous trend, there would be around 18,400 Wild Horses & Burros left on the range this year, 2010. The BLM knew they were getting dangerously close zeroing out ALL wild horses and burros.
Their population estimates (60%??!) are questionable, but with the roundups removing 101,052 (actual numbers), from 2000 to the Present, and the BLM’s estimated population increases at 84,326 for the same time period, that’s a difference of only 16,726 animals.
They have to estimate high; this year’s ‘estimate’ by Bob Abbey in his ‘Roll Call’ article – 38,400 – is ridiculous. (They rounded up 6400 in 09, but assert the population still increased by 7800 anyway.)
In our humble opinion, we may have less than 20,000 Wild Horses and Burros on the ranges, TODAY!
Oh, and they still plan to remove more than 5000 more before close of FY2010, too.