Letter: Wild Horse Population Growth Article Questioned

Letter to the Editor of the Elko Daily News by Robert Bauer, Biologist

“To state that 40,000 to 50,000 wild horses could increase to 69,000 horses in just a one-year period is ludicrous.”

Dear Editor:

Twin Peaks Horses just prior to 2010 roundup ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Twin Peaks Horses just prior to 2010 roundup ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A recent article was published in the Elko Daily Free Press entitled “Commentary: Tale of two species on Western rangelands,” by Thomas Mitchell, an article whose allegations were that wild horse and burro population was roughly 40,000 to 50,000, at present, and would be expected to grow to 69,000 in one year.

As a biologist, I am here to state that there are numerous factors that govern population growth for wild horses and burros, or lack thereof. To state that 40,000 to 50,000 wild horses could increase to 69,000 horses in just a one-year period is ludicrous.

Factoring in natural mortality rates, along with all other natural variables, it would require astronomical reproductive rates to offset those variables. Such reproductive rates do not and never will occur in nature.

Additionally, using the BLM’s own population statistics, factoring in nature’s mortality, adult and first year, sex ratios, aggressive use of PZP, and subtracting gathered wild horses, their numbers remaining in the wild are in the low teens, if that. Our wild horses and burros are close to extinction!

The wild horses and burros are a vital component to ecological balance on the range lands of the West, the benefits of which are innumerable, as opposed to cattle.

The numbers of these beautiful animals must be dictated, however, by nature’s mechanisms and not mankind. Only in this manner will wild horse numbers be in balance with all other forms of wildlife and predators of the wild horses.

Robert C. Bauer
Bloomington, Ill.

Click (HERE) to comment directly at the Elko Free Press

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26 comments on “Letter: Wild Horse Population Growth Article Questioned

  1. I only wish I had recorded a phone conversation I had with Dean Bolstadt when he tried to explain the math used to come up with their numbers. When I poked holes in their theoretical equations he stuttered and stammered then said “well you believe what you want…our numbers are right”. Their magical sums require that no animal dies of old age or injury and every female no matter their age gave birth every year. Dunderheads think we’re going to swallow that?


    • Steve, I think it’s worth pointing out that cattle reproduction rates should be about the same as cattle, typically one offspring per year, on the same ranges. Cattle of course are rounded up and then some returned, but this is also the case with horses, and those left out roaming face at least some predators and die off from natural events and old age.

      So… a few thousand horses reproducing vs. a few million cattle reproducing. Which has more impact, which costs taxpayers more, and who profits the proceeds?


    • 3-28-2014 Re: Letter: Wild Horse Population Growth Article Questioned Letter to the Editor of the Elko Daily News by Robert Bauer, Biologist
      This letter by Mr. Bauer is right on. I’m shocked that this livestock controlled newspaper would even publish this letter. Let’s compare the biology of horses to domestic cattle. The gestation of a horse is 11-12 months and twins are rare and fetal loss is common. The gestation of a cow is 9 months and twins are common and fetal loss is uncommon. So if there is any finger pointing, the cattle industry is the culprit that is under managed and overgrazing our public lands. A BLM employee once testified before a Nevada legislative committee to John Carpenter’s question that BLM does not know how many cows graze on our public lands; they only know how many AUMS (if that) has been granted to this wealthy welfare livestock industry. It’s a game that continues to be played over and over by this powerful minority that cost taxpayers over ½ billions dollars annually to maintain their mythical cowboy life style. This cost has nothing to do with wild horses, etc. it’s all the public lands livestock industry! Let’s be serious. I doubt if there are 40,000 free-roaming Wild Horses-burros remaining. This industry has been mad as heck since the passage of the 1971 Fed protection law (aka Wild Horse Annie’s’ law) as they could no longer legally mustang America’s wild horses-burros and off to their banks they go. Now it’s governmental mustanging by state and federal agencies. This faction has vowed to repeal the 1971 fed law…remember NV State Senator Dean Rhodes and his legislative cronies. I do. I was there. They are not good stewards of the lands; they are good stewards of their bank accounts and pimps of the legislature.

      Betty Kelly in Northern Nevada, long time wild horse-burros advocate/rescuer since 1970.


    • DOI/USDA and wild equine haters INTENTIONALLY lie and exaggerate wild equine impact and populations.

      And like I have said before, those reproduction rates defy all known, accepted and confirmed equine science IN THE WORLD.

      This is about lying to achieve an end (literally) and repeat it enough and it is accepted as solid fact, especially by the lazy ignorant and terrifyingly stoopid…..and the ignorant or agenda driven press.

      I watched “Food INC” again….makes me want to not eat even a french fry. Disgusting!


    • Arlene, this makes me very curious about why we give them millions more dollars each year, too. If they can’t keep track of the numbers of horses, it raises questions about how they can keep track of al those dollars, too.


      • Dear Icy, we dont !!!! Our taxes distributed by Government to an Rogue Agency that wastes our money and does not use any of it for what we are giving it for , the Preservation and Protection of OUR MUSTANGS , this use our money to eradicate , maim and Murder the very Mustangs we are paying to keep safe………….Its misrepresentation of funds!!!!!If we could find a way to not let them use our money for their nonrepresentational purposes, if we could divert our money from them we would have them !!!!!!!


  2. That last paragraph…exactly why there is a Public Law in place. Its called the The Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

    BLM and their livestock wrangling employees should be charged with dereliction of duty, obstruction of justice, and conversion of public trust to personal gain.


  3. Thank you Bob Bauer!
    Steve – I wish I had a video when one of the BLM emplyees that did the Twin Peaks 2010 post-capture aerial flight told me to my face that they counted 300-something wild horses and burros left on the HMA when their official report stated 953.


  4. you know what they say, “figures don’t lie, but liars can figure” it gets more and more disturbing to witness the lengths the DOI and BLM will go to to further their agenda of eliminating our wild horses and burros, and giving welfare ranchers and big oil free rein to exploit and destroy our public lands


  5. Voice of reason. Apalling BLM math, diabolical lying, manipulative strategy in play. When children ask you at 10 – 18 years old why math is important point them at the way the BLM takes advantage of people who cant add or subtract by throwing around the words multiply and tax dollars.


  6. I took a look at the ignorant comments on the site that was made by the ranchers themselves or their friends agreeing that the horses were the cause of everything they didn’t like, don’t waste your time leaving a comment. These people ignore scientific facts because they know they are true facts and not lies.You simply cannot change how these people think if they even think at all past their six packs.


    • I agree Barbara. I read those and thought about registering to comment but I know it is no use. They seem to also have a resentment of people who live in other states objecting to the treatment of the mustangs, what they seem to not realize is that we all pay for this.


  7. I think that sometimes, it’s the readers who DON’T comment who are the larger group. It’s likely that many read and just don’t comment. They could be basing their opinions on this kind of misinformation.


    • Louie C
      I saw the same type of comments in several newspapers in the UK when horse meat was found in the frozen dinners. I left comments but whatever I said about the vet drugs and the cruelty was ignored. They were joking about what horse meat dinners would taste like. You can’t change dumb and dumber.


  8. Filly down during feeding at BLM facility

    Yesterday we were documenting the largest national processing and adoption facility, Palomino Valley Center, near Reno and noticed a filly was down. She was alive but down and seemed to be in distress. All the other fillies in the huge pen were eating and she was down. She tried to sit up and then went down again. We immediately called the BLM staff in the office to alert them of the situation. They said they would send someone right out to check up on her.
    We are still waiting for a report from BLM on her status.

    They should never have been removed from the wild lands in the first place!


    • Dear Louie, Your last statement is OHHH so right !!!!!! The Mustangs belong on the Land that they have known as their Home !!!!! We can only PRAY the BLM did in fact send help to the Little Filly !!!!!! And also you get word of her condition From The BLM>>>>>>>>>>>>>….. Please post if and when you do !!!!!! Why cant they JUST PUT THE MUSTANGS BACK WHERE THEY HAVE ALWAYS BELONGED……………………..And only help them when needed !!!!! There can be only one ending and Putting the MUSTANGS WERE THEY BELONG is IT!!!!! The Moneys they Have Totally Wasted is Phenomenal and the Mustangs lives that they are solely responsible for ending all for nothing !!!!!


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