Equine Rescue

Theodore Roosevelt National Park Wild Horse Stampede Shows Horses to be Healthy

by Lauren Donovan of the Bismark Times

Funds Needed to Save Horses from Slaughter Auction

FRYBURG — Jason Bruemmer rather indelicately probed mares with names like “Little Brother’s Girl” and “Cheyenne,” pulled off his long yellow glove and like the doctor he is, delivered the news.

The mares among the wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park have a 90 percent pregnancy rate. The good news is that they are spectacularly healthy and so are the stallions; the bad news is that the rapid reproduction means another horse roundup and auction probably can’t be avoided.

The park roundup was in its third day Tuesday and 150 of the park’s 211 horses had been driven by helicopter into the corral and handling facilities on the park’s east side.

The handling and sorting process was quiet. Human voices were muted and a new hydraulic chute minimized the clanging and whinnying sounds of frightened horses in close captivity.

By afternoon, stock trailers were loaded with the first of the 100 or so wild horses that will forever leave the park and be sold Saturday at Wishek Livestock. The auction’s already attracted some serious money to buy and transport three dozen or so of the horses to an East Coast Legacy Mustang sanctuary, and hopefully prevent any from going to a slaughter barn.

In 2009, the last time the park sold its wild horses, about 10 percent were sold for slaughter.

The park hopes to avoid future roundups, or minimize them, by continuing a contraceptive vaccine program that started that same year.

Enter Bruemmer — cheerful veterinarian and researcher with Colorado State University at Fort Collins, which is partnering with the park in the contraceptive program.

This year, the 26 mares vaccinated in 2009 will get a booster and another 10 will get one for the first time.

Bruemmer said it’s hoped the booster will make the contraceptive last longer.

“The pregnancy rate is proof that the contraceptive agents are really needed. It’s not a permanent fix — time reverses the vaccine. We want to see if the booster makes it work better,” he said.

Maggie Bauer, a Colorado State researcher, has spent three years checking every week on all the vaccinated mares and the 26 mares that were not vaccinated in a blind study.

Bruemmer said previously, the only way to know if the vaccinated mares were pregnant was to see if they foaled, not always possible if the foal died or fell prey to a mountain lion.

Researchers have since learned they can detect pregnancy hormones in droppings. Now, with samples collected during the roundup, they want to find out how much they can learn about the fetus itself, particularly how far along it is in an 11-month gestation cycle, he said.

The project has major implications beyond the park.

“This could be large scale and lead to a declining population of wild horses. Ideally it could eliminate roundups,” Bauer said.

Meantime, the park’s roundup is well underway and should conclude Thursday with the final delivery of the horses to Wishek. Marylu Weber, who works with the park to identify the horses in a North Dakota Badlands Horse Registry, helped handlers keep track of which horses were to be sold and labeled with a yellow sticker on their rump and which would be returned to their familiar Badlands.

She said the horses are healthy and of “good flesh.”

Few people spend as much time with the wild horses as she does, naming them and keeping track of their lineage.

“We’re hoping and praying there are a lot of good buyers,” she said.

The idea is to help educate buyers about the skills and patience needed to train wild horses, or find others willing to donate money to keep them from being slaughtered in Mexico or Canada.

To Help Donate contact:

The Cloud Foundation

10 replies »

  1. Amazingly I tried to spark a movement of advocates to contact Sally Jewell about this. We The People already own these horses so why should advocates have to buy them? Why would our government not do the right thing and insure they have a loving caring home to go to? Why even contemplate an event that could lead to their barbaric slaughter? The problem was so many seem to have given up on the Fed’s doing anything right and have not contacted the DOI.

    Maybe some of you will join…

    Go here: http://www.doi.gov/feedback.cfm

    And send this message:

    Madame Secretary,

    Might I offer an alternative to the auction sale of the TRNP horses to possible “kill buyers”. We the People already own those horses therefore I’d like to ask you to allow Meet the Press Cloud Foundation and the Wild Horse Freedom Federation to take the gathered horses into custody until they can find proper loving caring homes for them.

    Would it be a terrible thing to offer them life rather than death?

    I trust you’ll do the right thing!

    Then Call 202-208-7351 and ask to speak to the Secretary…she is in today but in a “meeting…yah rightt” and leave this message with her and ask she makes sure the Secretary gets it!


  2. I called the Dept of Interior on 9/11/13. I received a call back from a Debbie? She told me that she was in the field and could not get back to me. She informed me that they are removing wild horses because mandated 1971 Act to remove wild horses off land. The land has no forage and no water. She also told me that on the Navajo land there is an excess of 50,000 wild horses. I just do not believe this woman. I will try to locate the woman I spoke with for more information.


  3. Reblogged this on Sotardalen Nokota Horses and commented:
    Of course they are fat and healthy, only 211 horses on 46 158 acres! If the pregnancy rate is 90%, how come there has only been 26 foals a’ year in average the last four years out of maybe 80 mares ? The foal rate is 32% not 90%! After this removal this populations calculated growth rate is 6,4% and it will take 12-15 years until the population has recovered. “Rapid reproduction”? Is it deliberate lies or incompetence? Probably both.


  4. now two yrs later they are underpopulated and there is no more need to round them up.. pzp is a pesticide and it is an experimental drug patented by hsus and if they would stop endorsing this poison the horses could be left in the wild. there are 300 horses on a million acres? this ust sto fed judge said blm is breaking the law. left unenforced they stole many more.? and its an ongoing threat this is a fed crime and they need protection not brutal roundups the unviable pzp that hsus makes $$$ from. we are very disappointed in your treatment of our horses!! it is right they eat cheet grass and help stop spread of fires. they dont destroy the habitat, that would be millions of cows. stop driving them to genocide because that is the PLAN. a horrific mistake in our history. we pay to kill what w love. and we the people demand we are heard!


    • Hi Janet, just wanted to let you know, HSUS does not own the patent for PZP. You can look on the U.S. patent and Trademark Office website. However, giving fertility control to non-viable herds is a plan for minimally producing herds and the road to extinction.


  5. roosevelt is rolling in his grave. he relocated under and overpopulated wildlife with gr8 success. shame on blm ranchers hsus pzp pushers and fws. all wrong


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