Limited Equine Experience Clouds WH&B Boss Selection
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – The federal Bureau of Land Management has named a 30 year agency bureaucrat with virtually no wildlife management training to head the delicate Wild Horse and Burro Program. Karla Bird has drawn fire in the past for her support of secret closed door BLM meetings where the press is excluded.
“By not having the public there, we don’t have anybody feeling weird that their comments are taken out of context or misconstrued,” Bird, field manager for the Worland BLM office spun the Billings Gazette. She told reporters such meetings were “pre decisional,” using what must be a new term in the BLM lexicon for secrecy. The bureau sometimes holds such meetings among its managers. On occasion their discussions leak to the press causing the BLM embarrassment, as happened with the draft of a plan to kill tens of thousands of wild horses which was leaked in 2009 to the Associated Press.
After a firestorm of protest about the proposed mass euthanasia, the BLM is now capturing wild horses by the thousands in helicopter stampedes in which record numbers have died. The animals are then held in giant pastures. The stampedes have been held in bitter cold and searing summer heat. They have also been conducted during foaling season. The program has gobbled up virtually the entire budget of the Wild Horse and Burro Program.
Bird replaces Don Glenn, whose tenure in the posts ended after a quiet retirement announcement late this week. There is speculation he was forced out after intense media scrutiny of the program.
“She will be on a 90-day detail as the Acting Division Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program,” said BLM Chief Washington Spokesman Tom Gorey. There is no hint whether her new job replacing the controversial Glenn will be made permanent.
Bird previously served the BLM in various capacities in Rawlins and Rock Springs, according to a 2009 press release announcing her installation at Worland.
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