Horse News

Wild Horses Could Slow Global Warming

by Arthur Mac, from Forbes Magazine

BLM Exterminates Wild Horses While Other Countries Reintroduce the Species

Wild horses have returned to northern Siberia. So have musk oxen, hairy beasts that once shared the icy land with woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats. Moose and reindeer are there, too, and may one day be joined by Canadian bison and deer.

Later, the predators will come — Siberian tigers, wolves and maybe leopards.

Russian scientist Sergey Zimov is reintroducing the animals to land they once roamed by the millions to demonstrate his theory that filling the vast emptiness of Siberia with grass-eating animals can slow global warming.

His experiment is being closely monitored by wildlife experts around the world interested in the practice of rewilding natural areas.

Climate change is felt most sharply in the Arctic, where temperatures are warming faster than anywhere else on Earth. Zimov is trying to re-create an ecosystem that disappeared 10,000 years ago with the end of the ice age.

He believes herds of grazers will turn the tundra into luxurious grasslands. Tall grasses with complex root systems will stabilize the frozen soil, which is now thawing at an ever-increasing rate, he says.

Herbivores keep wild grass short and healthy, sending up fresh shoots through the summer and autumn. Their manure gives crucial nourishment. In winter, the animals flatten snow that otherwise would insulate the ground from the cold air. That helps prevent the frozen ground, or permafrost, from thawing and releasing powerful greenhouse gases.

Grass also reflects more sunlight than forests, a further damper to global warming.

Zimov began the project in 1989, fencing off 40,000 acres of forest, meadows, shrub land and lakes. It is surrounded by 150,000 acres of wilderness.

Zimov started with 40 Yakutian horses. Today he has 70 animals in the park and hopes to find funding to bring in thousands more.

27 replies »

  1. This article should be shared and shared and shared. This is a scientist who has come to his senses and is going to prove that our dependence on animals is more than a crazed soft heart – it could be the saving of the planet. Just think if more people woke up to how nature works and who the players really are … this could be good.


  2. Something good to praise. Wild horses, and musk oxen are back! Hopefully we can take the study and information from Siberia and respectfully apply this to the US to support this decision for our Wild Mustangs and Burros. Now, this sounds logical and most profoundly positive!


  3. We need this good news and good science. Now we need to get it to the decision-makers and their environmental caretakers (?) and agencies– and see if there is some solution to the problems we see–some humane,rational, successful outcome for the wild horses/bison/wolves — and any others that are under the gun—for simply “being there”. If We the people… “get it”, — that we are connected to everything living and “of use” on this earth– then how can our officials be so disconnected and out of touch? Thanks RT for this report–I ‘ll move to Siberia– and name a wild colt Zimov–or Hope.


  4. I hope this proves to be a success, sooner rather than later. My concern is it going to prove to be successful to save our wild horses in the near term. It seems we have very misguided and disgusting people in the BLM that seem to refuse to listen to anything that appears to be logical, sensible, or even wanted by the U.S. citizenry. Our problem is how to get rid of these individuals soon, so we will be able to save our wild horses, feral horses, and burros. ANd also prohibit the transportation of our U.S. horses across our borders to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico.


  5. Horses and bison covered North America and prepared the land for those that followed (Americans) are the recipients of “The Bread Basket of the World” The Great Plains grasses and subsequent farming on the soils first by horses have supplied the world with wheat, grain, and corn. In fact we base our horse rescue in part on the fact that horses often keep open spaces open and enhance the environment even in populated areas. The only reason my neck of the woods has remained pristine and rural is horses, fox hunting, trails, every discipline and even race horse breeding abound. Tourism, shops, restaurants, wineries, prosper because of the natural beauty of the area, a beauty we attribute to the fact that it’s horse country. BUT development encroaches and horse farms generally are the first to go because the land is cleared and people want to live here in all the splendor of horse country. I moved here from New Rochelle NY congested, dirty, polluted, and stupid. A few years ago New Rochelle once a beautiful seaport passed an ordinance banning horses. Seems an old farm with two horses created odors that were objectionable to all the new condo owners. Why is it we destroy all that is good and natural and replace it with all that is unnatural? SHAREHOLDERS


    • Frank, did you see the series about “The Dust Bowl” on the National Geographic Channel? It explained that the farmers DIDN”T understand how the deep root systems of native grasses on the Great Plains held the topsoil and prevented erosion. It was one of the scariest shows I’ve watched in a long time. I can’t imagine staying there and living through those HUGE, horrendous dust storms (some dust clouds actually reached the East Coast!) for over 10 years. Considering climate change and the vegetation that’s being stripped from the land by developers, are we headed there again?


      • I think we’re beyond the dust bowl Linda. Most farm land now is fertilized by oil, crops are genetically engineered and come with built in pesticides by Monsanto. Cattle and soy are decimating the forests. We are a land of strip malls and sub divisions. Horses can at least help make us aware of nature. We have people come to fairs and get to see horses for the first time in their lives and ask if they can touch them, and when they do you can see the electricity flow from the horse to the hand by the expressions on peoples faces. My worst fear is that we will run out of oil before long and there is no magic bullet that will replace it. We may need to look back to a time before oil and I truly believe horses will once again play some role in mankind’s survival. We must have viable herds of American Mustangs if for no other reason then our own future existence for they once again will carry the load for us.


      • I just blogged an article from 2006 edition of Conservation in Practice( that covers this very subject and much more. It’s a long but fascinating read, and I’ve highlighted the parts that pertain to horses. I learned long ago that people who don’t agree with the views being expressed and NOT going to read a whole page full of stuff to find info they didn’t want to know in the first place. 😉

        PS It’s even scarier than this one. Siberia isn’t the only place under the gun.


  6. There was a time I thought we were heading in good directions concerning our wonderful North American wildlife. There are still those who work to make the system accountable to the movements and needs of species survival, mostly small groups and individuals now. The agencies and departments who were once keen to study and use science are now functioning using very little if any. This disconnect needs to find a live connection…

    Time for a concentrated effort to go for the Moratorium. This is what we want for Christmas, Mr. Obama.


    • It was horses pulling the wagon that delivered the White House christmas tree yesterday. Michele and the girls were pictured but no Barack. I think he needs to do something for the horses!


  7. Received this from Robert Redford/BioGems the other day. It’s opposing the Pebble Mine proposed for Alaska (looks sort of like Siberia?). Watch the video (packs quite a wallop in 2 minutes) and see what we stand to lose if we continue to allow corporate interests to rape our American lands.

    Sure wish we could get the wild ones declared “BioGems”. It would make defending them a lot easier.


    • It certainly would help a GREAT DEAL if all the “conservation” groups, not just Bio Gems, would FINALLY admit that horses are native to North America. With all the science PROVING Equus caballus is a NATIVE SPECIES. how can they continue to deny horses the protection they deserve – unless they have other reasons besides pure science that is….


  8. Me again. Exactly, based on my previous point about running out of energy. There is a reason we need to go to Alaska and the depths of the ocean for it. It’s running out. We’re running on empty, will the BLM pull the wagons?


  9. Great article R.T! All the more reason our animals should be left alone to roam free. Nature has a wonderful way of taking care of our planet, in it’s own way. When we fight it, we only destroy ourselves, in one way or another. Let this be a wake up call!


  10. This is great, I hope it works well actually I know it will work becasue the horse is one of the most non-invasive animals on the planet! Though I am NOT a believer in man-made global warming I do believe the world is going through a NATURAL warming cycle and anything that will help is good! This experiment will show and PROVE that horses do not destroy their habitats or their environment which is one the BLM’s false claims!


  11. Aren’t the wild horses BioGems?

    But – just wanted to comment to Golde W. Thank you. I’ll get that posted to FB too. These is the sort of progress we need to put out there. There is more to all of this than our crazed animal loving tree hugging hearts. It is about LIFE! So many people say – well what do you suggest! Tell them. Wave that piece of paper in their face and say “Read this. Now let’s save the wild horses and burros!


  12. Technology, urbanization, genetic modification, and unstoppable, frighteningly massive, exponential human population growth will, I fear, be the predominant factor shaping the road we are all going down……I hope, I hope – it just seems that – for every good thing, and actions taken by those who recognize that that we are part of, connected to, and interdependent upon, that which is nature, and our brethren – the animals – it is a drop in the bucket, compared to the rate of extinction of wildlife, factory farming, animal & genetic research, rain forest loss, and other land lost, etc. Unfortunately, those that tend to add the most to the human population growth – (kind of like a 3 bedroom house, with 50 inhabitants) are those that are either ignorant, uneducated, impoverished, or else, those that cannot see the “forest for the trees”, so to speak, and are utterly disconnected from anything other than a “people” & “money” dominated world, and whose philosophy renders anything else as something to be used for profit and/or pleasure, and then disposed of, accordingly….. Sad……the entire conciousness of humanity needs to change – dramatically – but how? When one ponders upon it, and really takes into consideration all of the variables, and realities – globally – well – it tends to become overwhelming. I remember my dear father, a World War II vet, now deceased for a decade – had stated on a few occasions towards the end of his life -(and he was one to keep up with, and be disgusted by, current affairs- at that time) “Stop the Merry-go-Round, I’m getting off.” I can surely relate to his sentiments!


  13. This is VALUABLE information and we should use it at every opportunity. This proves our point that we keep trying to drive home.


  14. Wow!! What a smart scientist! Too bad there’s not more like him, the world & all life on it, would greatly benefit from his wisdom. I’m pretty sure America won’t listen & learn from this wise man, they think they know everything, or, at least more than anyone else, especially more than someone from another country! It really is too bad, because at least this person is DOING something, & not just sitting around twiddling their thumbs. By the time Zimov’s theory & experiment proves positive & worthwhile, & he is proved right, it will be too late for America because all of our wild horses & other wildlife will already be gone. Yes, Obama SHOULD do something GOOD for the wild horses, but, he seems to prefer hiding his head in the sand.


  15. If we dont do anything to save the wild horse herds the will be gone forever and a part of American and Canadian History will be gone. Here in Canada they just shoot them for the fun of it. If they want to keep them wild then why dont they take the young ones out that are ready to leave there mothers and auction them off to good homes and leave the older ones in the wild where they belong or you could relocate the young ones to start there own herds somewhere else like on protected park land where they cant be taken out of the wild.


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