Horse News

Report: WILD HORSE POPULATION GROWTH

Research Collaboration by:
Kathleen Gregg Environmental Researcher
Lisa LeBlanc Environmental Researcher
Jesica Johnston Environmental Scientist
April 25, 2014

INTRODUCTION

Twin PeaksThe recent National Academy of Science (NAS) report on the Wild Horse and Burro Program determined that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has no evidence of excess wild horses and burros; because the BLM has failed to use scientifically sound methods to estimate the populations (NAS, 2013). The NAS cited two chief criticisms of the Wild Horse and Burro program: unsubstantiated populations estimates in herd management areas (HMA), and management decisions that are not based on science (NAS, 2013).

Effective wild horse and burro management is dependent on accurate population counts and defensible assumptions. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) routinely uses the assumption that wild horse and burro herds increase annually at an average rate of 20%. However, our review of available scientific literature combined with an analysis of BLM data for 5,859 wild horses found that approximately 50% of the foals survived to the age of 1 year, which indicates a 10% population growth rate based on yearling survival rates.

METHODS AND DATA

The data and analysis is based on the BLM’s wild horse and burro removal and processing documents acquired under the Freedom of Information Act. The data sets were evaluated separately, and then combined to total 5,859 wild horses, captured, aged, and branded by BLM. This data is the basis for the analysis in this report and the accompanying chart in table 1 below.

Burro data was also calculated for foal and yearling survival. That data indicated a 7% population growth rate for burros based on yearling survival, but that data is not included here as burros are not present in all of the HMAs.

The data was collected from 4 herds captured by BLM in Nevada and California in 2010 and 2011. The data below in table 1 shows the individual herds and accumulated age structure data which supports the overall conclusion. Wild horse foals and yearlings were tallied for population increases and in all four samples, recorded a combined foaling rate of less than 20%, but only half or 50% survived to the age of 1 year (see table 1 below).

Yearling Survival Rate

DISCUSSION

This research does not include or reflect the additional adult mortality rates due to the complexity of population dynamics, but does raise serious questions about the validity of the BLM’s assumed 20% annual herd population growth rate. Furthermore, the BLMs assumption fails to consider that wild horse populations are dynamic due to isolation and have varied rates of reproduction and survival due to changing climates, forage, competition, disturbance and environmental conditions. All these are factors that can lead to varied herd growth rates and each herd should be evaluated separately.

This research paper is supported by previous studies using age structure data completed by Michael L. Wolfe, Jr. in 1980 titled “Feral Horse Demography: A Preliminary Report”. Mr. Wolfe cited observations in 12 HMAs, over a period of 2 to 5 years, and covered a much broader range over six Western states. He questioned the annual rate increase of 20%, and found that first-year survival rates to range between 50% and 70% (Wolfe, 1980).

Other supporting research includes The National Academy of Science National Wild and Free-Roaming Horse and Burro report of 1982, which states, “…several biases in the (BLM) census data, cited or calculated rates of increase based on a number of published values for reproduction and survival rates, as well as sex and age ratios, and concluded annual rates of increase of ten percent or less” (NAS, 1982).

The NAS 2013 report also used age structure data to estimate population growth. However, the report used foaling rates to draw conclusions about the population growth; rather than first year survival rates (NAS, pg.51-52 2013). This and other studies challenge the assumption that the 20% foaling rate provides an adequate measure of population growth.

The BLM bases their management decisions on environmental assessments that cite inflated population estimates. As shown in this study and previous research, the BLM’s assumption of a 20% annual wild horse population growth rate is not based in science; leading to unsubstantiated population estimates with no evidence of excess wild horses.

REFERENCES

National Academy of Science 2013, “Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program A Way Forward”
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=13511&page=R1

Johnston, J. (2011). California’s, Wild Horses and Burros: Twin Peaks HMA.

http://csusdspace.calstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/10211.9/1492/WHB_Thesis_Final%2011.30.11.pdf?seq uence=1

“Feral Horse Demography: A Preliminary Report”, Michael L. Wolfe, Jr.

http://www.jstor.org/discover/10.2307/3897882?uid=3739560&uid=2&uid=4&uid=3739256&sid=2110368888 4451

National Academy of Science 1982, “Wild and FreeRoaming Horses and Burros”

http://books.google.com/books?id=Q2IrAAAAYAAJ&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management Freedom Of Information Act (2012). FOIA BLM FY12-011 1278.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management Freedom Of Information Act (2012). FOIA BLM- 2012-00934.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management Freedom Of Information Act (2012). FOIA BLM 2012-01046.

U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management Freedom Of Information Act (2012). FOIA BLM 2012-00250.

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55 replies »

  1. So the average increase due to births that live for at least a year is 10%. We don’t know the decrease due to deaths, but if the average wild horse lives to age 20 we would see 5% decrease due to deaths. Higher percentage if the average death is at a younger age. So actual herd growth is some where around 5% a year.

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  2. When an Agency is not following or using Scientific Protocol in its evaluations, one knows they are just throwing out numbers to fit their own needs , these people are dealing with the Precious LIVES of beings, this is grounds for Dismissal, complete disbandment !!!!

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  3. The recent National Academy of Science (NAS) report on the Wild Horse and Burro Program determined that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has no evidence of excess wild horses and burros; because the BLM has failed to use scientifically sound methods to estimate the populations (NAS, 2013).

    You got it!

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  4. There is a missed conception about wild horse and burro population growth rates in the wild. Regardless of mortality rates, or growth rates, populations in the wild will always balance out with predators and competitive grazers. NAS studies show mortality rates, again 1st year, to be 14% to 50%, and adult, 5% to 25%, which means mortality in the wild , during any given year can be anywhere between 19% and 75%. Putting this aside , however, we have to remember that populations of any given species, in the wild will reach a peak, at which point they are balanced out with all other competitive grazers, based upon the carrying capacity of the land. It’s called Density Dependent Inhibition. Whatever that peak is out there, as far as numbers are concerned it will always balance out with competitive grazers, and predators. So… Nature is dynamic, with positive and negative feedback mechanisms, from the major mammals down to the microbial. If annual growth seems to be 5% at a given time, it won’t last, because the density of competitive grazers in the same area, will cause the density of the wild horses to reach a plateau, so to speak, yet because nature is dynamic and not static, you can never never never pl
    ace a fixed number on anything, even wild horse population growth or decline. One year the numbers may decline, and another increase, according to nature’s mechanisms, but always in balance, according to the carrying capacity of the land. This is why we have to keep our hands off and let nature dictate.

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  5. I really doubt that a wild horse would live to age 20. More like 16. I had one who was captured at two. She had a difficult life in captivity. She died at 18.

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    • Actually it’s not unusual for wild horses to live into their 20’s. I know of several in Sand Wash and the Pryors that are in their mid-late 20’s.

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  6. I apologize, that this last comment was poorly written, however, the truth remains that there is a tendency for mankind to want to place a fixed value on nature, whether it be population growth, or decline. Because nature is dynamic, and not static ( or fixed), continuously adjusting, values will always change. One year population growth may be 5%, and another year a decline, but it will always be in balance with predators and competitive grazers, based upon there density ( or numbers) and the carrying capacity of the land. In other words we can’t dictate what nature is going to do, or assume it will operate according to our plans. Population growth or decline will always fluctuate according to natures mechanisms. There will always be declines and always some growth, but it will bounce back and forth based upon the carrying capacity of the land. Wildlife species populations, will never, never, never grow continuously, including the wild horse and burro populations. We have to get that concept out of our brains. There has been much said about wild horse populations trying to make these massive comebacks, after roundups. Yes nature does have a tendency ,” IF” , the factors are there to make a comeback, but never continuous, or out of control. Sadly, after the roundups, so many of the wild horses are removed, bands are broken up, mares are PZPd and sex ratios are adjusted, by the BLM, that nature can never make a comeback. The only true answer is, stop the roundups, restore back to the wild all of the wild horses and burros, that are in holding, to the areas that they were taken ( they will settle back into their old lives) and leave our hands off. Remove the restrictions on nature and let nature determine what happens out there.

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    • Dear Robert C. Bauer, beautifully said , I loved the part PUT them back in the areas they were taken, wow……………….they will adjust !!!!

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      • thank you Robert..as I pointed out to Sally Spencer, in my negotiations to buy the adobe town stallions and mares-20 % was unrealistic,and if that were the case I should have been raising wild horses instead of QHs and saved my self 200,000 in vet fees trying to get mares pregnant and to get foals to a year old..thats with around the clock care..The very nature of horses-without any predators-can account for a significant injury to death rate…raising the stallion ratios In the herds-has resulted in more injuries and deaths to studs- as recorded by photographers who spend considerable time out there..and follow bands

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  7. I Am not surprised at all at this information. Does anyone for one minute think the blm has ever presented accurate information? Its disappointing and troubling that this arm of our government gets away with this. Advocates have for years rejected these stats. I’m with marge and the rest. The blm needs to be totally dismantled and done away with. There is no accountability here and they function in a rogue fashion. Nevada politicians have allowed them to get away with this as well as our federal government. The corruption is like a cancer that just can’t be eliminated. It is very sad that wild horses and burros are being caught up in this. One day all these folks will meet their maker along with all the animals that they have killed or allowed to be slaughtered. Truly disgusting, but can never give up the fight for them.

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  8. morning everyone , well how many of us had a good idea this is how the report would turn out . we need to start calling again for the s.a.f.e. act again . and the other bill to get it out on the floor . it’s the ok. rep that is holding it up . we need a petition signed by a number of other congress folks to sign the petition to get it moving . ya”ll need to be aware too is a nasty little bill introduced by heekim jefferies and the bill is h.r. 3878 and its a bill to curb freedom of speech we need to make this one front and center for our rep.s don’t vote the wrong way on this one,for sure . the b.l.m. has got some more really nasty plans going to. but the ones we are asking to protect us really don’t give a crap about us but we need to be the thorn that just keeps aggrivating them to no end. go to d.c.clothesline and infowars and there are other washington watchdog reports thing are going to get nasty .

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  9. “When in doubt, just double it” is apparently BLM’s motto & MO. In fact, a senior BLM official admitted as much at an agricultural conference in CA last spring when explaining to an ag & cattle audience how they came up with their wild horse & burro population numbers. The official actually admitted that they typically multiply by two to offset the presumption of a chronic undercount -referring to actual head counts. Hence, to know how many horses/burros BLM has actually counted or even extrapolaed recently, you really do need to divide by two. This works perfectly for wild burros.

    The last time I talled the total of all wild burro herds listed on BLM’s website the total was in the 3300 range. However, every time BLM publicly pronounces how many burros are left in the wild it is in excess of 6600, along with 34-35,000 horses. Independent analyses of how many horses are left on BLM lands, -often relying heavily on BLM’s own published numbers come out around half that number, ie. in the 17-18k range, or exactly half of BLM’s officially pronounced population estimate in the 34-35k range.

    One way to view this is that BLM always fudges the numbers and that there is no way of knowing how many horses or burros are left on BLM HMAs. Another way to look at it is to take them at their word, i.e. that they double whatever numbers they come up with on the ground -which themselves are not necessarily based on actual head counts. The point is that there seems to be a consistent pattern of BLM doubling whatever “hard numbers” they have -whatever they’re actually based on, whenever they publicly proclaim how many horses and burros are left in HMAs.

    The key thing to keep in mind is that BLM is often factoring in population increases of 20%/ year for each herd -regardless of what the true rate may be, whether 15, 10, 8 % or less. Hence even their hard numbers may be greatly inflated in many cases, particularly if they’ve mathematically increased herd populations by 20% year since the last roundup and actual head count of some sort. Hence, even their “hard numbers” may be inflated by 50% or more.

    The rule of thumb then is to divide by half whatever aggregate HMA numbers BLM provides, for starters, Then bear in mind that they’ve probably increased the last actual known population count of each herd by 20% year since it was last ‘gathered’. In other words even the 17-18k horses 35k divided by half) may still be as optimistic & unrealistic a number as 3300+ is for wild burros( 6600/ 2= 3300). In all probability then we’re probably looking at less than 20k wild horses and burros combined on BLM HMAs after correcting for BLM’s self-admitted multiplier and annual population increase formula. If I haven’t confused the issue, then you’ll finally be able to see the logic and consistency in the BLM’s ‘numbers game’ and also to come up with a more plausible population estimate for individual HMAs and also for all wild horses and wild burro herds combined.

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    • Hmm. Carl, you got me wondering if this “doubling” effect is connected with the BLM mantra that horse populations double every four years… since four years seems to be the time from for management scenarios in some HMAs. Maybe it’s just a shorthand way to “manage” based on their own, not the horse’s, four year plans.

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    • Carl, I was reviewing the NAS report today, here’s something relevant from their brief (sorry I can’t color or make anything bold here, but am intending to focus on the “cut and paste” reference here).

      Click to access wild-horses-report-brief-final.pdf

      However, the results depend on the values of input parameters — for example, age-specific foaling rates or the sex and the age composition of a herd — and various management options selected by the user when setting up the simulations. These parameters were rarely provided in gather plans and environmental assessments, and in most of the reviewed documents WinEquus output was copied and pasted with no explanation or interpretation of the results. It was difficult to determine if results were used to make management decisions or were offered as justification for decisions that were made independently of modeling results. A clear description of the input parameters and options selected by the user would help the public assess the reliability of WinEquus modeling results. In addition, a clear explanation of whether or how results of population modeling were used would improve transparency.

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    • This what I have found too, Carl…a consistent fudging and inflation of the numbers. The Calico Mt roundups of 2009 to 2010, a perfect example. Claimed in 4 years an increase from 575 horses, about half females, and most of those PZPd, to 3055. They found only 1922, I believe, yet even with 1922, a standard 5% mortality that the BLM uses, and factoring in % females, and female foals needing a couple of years before they begin dropping a foal, along with affects of PZP, it required 125% annual reproductive rates to reach 1922. This doesn’t even get to the actual mortality on the range, and environmental conditions that would put a cap on reproduction ( the wild horses and burros aren’t stupid). Everything I come up with using BLM numbers we are in the low teens of wild horses out there, if that. If BLM can brain wash the public, and government ( i.e. appropriations committee), into the idea of overpopulation, whether fudging figures, overestimating, creating low AML’s, or just plain lying, the BLM can keep the Wild horse and burro program going and continued roundups. The Battle cry of the BLM is ” Overpopulation”. BLM will use public sentiment also, proclaiming emergency situations, yet the moment mankind begins to alter an ecosystem , artificially, that system begins to break down, maybe a small bit at first but eventually with continual tampering, it will never recover.

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    • This “doubling every 4 years” began in the BLM theory in the 70’s. Once established as their baseline, they’ve never left it. And i agree–when in doubt, double it. In some of the herds, their numbers show that all the horses would have to reproduce every year–including stallions. Rachel Reeves has done a great statistical piece on the White Mtn. herd near Rock Springs on this very subject. I quizzed a member of the NAS team about that 20% because the Pryors is more like 10% since mortality is well-documented in that herd, as well as many other herds now. And she agreed that 20% was maybe high–maybe more like 15%. So why didn’t they put that in the report????

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  10. TWIN PEAKS

    https://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/08/28/exclusive-wild-horse-and-wild-burro-good-news-and-bad-news-from-twin-peaks-hma/
    Exclusive: Wild Horse and Wild Burro Good News and Bad News from Twin Peaks HMA

    Exclusive report from “Grandma” Gregg, Environmental Researcher and Jesica Johnston, B.A., M.A in Biology and Environmental Planning
    “The forage has grown back from last summer’s fire and there is an abundance of food…”

    There seems to be few remaining wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks HMA. In our two days of ground observation the BLM’s mantra of the term “excess” was on our minds as we traveled numerous miles; most of which had no wild horses or burros or even signs of wild horses and burros.

    This public land is set aside by Congress principally for wild horses and burros, but there are very few that remain since the roundup of 2010. It is hard to believe when the BLM says there are 1,750 out here again…
    Click https://app.box.com/s/dww4fuk1bctrvbz21j1z for the entire independent observers’ summary report and many photos.

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  11. https://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/08/28/exclusive-wild-horse-and-wild-burro-good-news-and-bad-news-from-twin-peaks-hma/
    Exclusive: Wild Horse and Wild Burro Good News and Bad News from Twin Peaks HMA
    Exclusive report from “Grandma” Gregg, Environmental Researcher and Jesica Johnston, B.A., M.A in Biology and Environmental Planning
    “The forage has grown back from last summer’s fire and there is an abundance of food…”

    There seems to be few remaining wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks HMA. In our two days of ground observation the BLM’s mantra of the term “excess” was on our minds as we traveled numerous miles; most of which had no wild horses or burros or even signs of wild horses and burros. This public land is set aside by
    Congress principally for wild horses and burros, but there are very few that remain since the roundup of 2010. It is hard to believe when the BLM says there are 1,750 out here again…
    Click https://app.box.com/s/dww4fuk1bctrvbz21j1z for the entire independent observers’ summary report and many photos.

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  12. Independent aerial flight shows very few wild horses and burros on their legal land. By law, the land was to be “devoted PRINCIPALLY but not exclusively to their welfare”.

    Independent aerial flight shows very few wild horses and burros on their legal land. By law, the land was to be “devoted PRINCIPALLY but not exclusively to their welfare”.

    Counting Wild Horses – An Aerial Tour of Wild Horse and Burro Habitat
    from Ney Grant
    the wild horses and burros live?
    I did this flight over the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area for LightHawk (lighthawk.org) and wildlife scientists and experts Craig Downer, Jesica Johnston and Cate Scott. The purpose of the flight was to assess a recent burn area, and to observe and estimate the number of wild animals. We didn’t fly over 100% of the range, but they will look at our flight map, number of observations and density of animals (scarce food and water keeps the density low and constant) and make estimates of the number.

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  13. The truth exists that there is a tendency for mankind to want to place a fixed value on nature, whether it be population growth, or decline. Because nature is dynamic, and not static ( or fixed), continuously adjusting, values will always change. One year population growth may be 5%, and another year a decline, but it will always be in balance with predators and competitive grazers, based upon there density (or numbers) and the carrying capacity of the land. In other words we can’t dictate what nature is going to do, or assume it will operate according to our plans. Population growth or decline will always fluctuate according to natures mechanisms. There will always be declines and always some growth, but it will bounce back and forth based upon the carrying capacity of the land. Wildlife species populations, will never, never, never grow continuously, including the wild horse and burro populations. We have to get that concept out of our brains. There has been much said about wild horse populations trying to make these massive comebacks, after roundups. Yes nature does have a tendency,” IF” , the factors are there, to make a comeback, but never continuous, or out of control. Sadly, after the roundups, so many of the wild horses are removed, bands are broken up, mares are PZPd and sex ratios are adjusted, by the BLM, that nature can never make a comeback. The only true answer is, stop the roundups, restore back to the wild all of the wild horses and burros, that are in holding, to the areas that they were taken ( they will settle back into their old lives) and leave our hands off.

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  14. Please forgive the repetitious comment. had trouble getting the site to take a comment. R.T straightened everything out.

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  15. The wild horse is much like the African zebra which simply cannot be tamed to ride, pull a cart or be loaded up so heavy it can’t even walk like you see all over third world countries. A number of years ago there were ranches that were breeding horse and Zebra crosses that could be used to pull a wagon or cart. But the mother had to be a tame horse or else the foal would be as wild as the Zebra stallion.
    That’s what is wrong with the low adoption rate of the horses the BLM has rounded up. Most of the horses are over 5 years old from the descriptions of them at a holding facility in Burns, Oregon, in one of the photos of some of the animals in a pen I saw what liked like Zebra stripes on their hind legs. Most people don’t want to try to train a animal that simply can’t be trained, the foals under a year old seem to adapt well to training since they are the ones the BLM hires trainers to teach to lead and to tie, at least at the Burns holding that is what they do, because I emailed them and suggested they do just that because of the low adoption rate at this place. They answered back saying that was what was being tried.. Every yearling they had was bought by someone for a lot more that the hundred and twenty five dollars, some of these young horses sold for eight or nine hundred dollars each. I know this for a fact because I always had the sale information emailed to me. I didn’t see many of the older horses sold at all, the next year when I was sent the sale information the same horses were put up for adoption only a year older. I wonder to just how many of the older mustangs that are sent to the prisons to be trained actually make it through the training period or are some of them that are simply not trainable replaced with another horse? That’s what I think goes on all the time.

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    • Barbara, you may know this but the dun factor includes zebra stripes on legs, and sometimes brindling on the body.

      I’m not sold on adopting wild horses off the range in large volumes; I’ve seen plenty end up with people who have big hearts but thin wallets and even thinner experience with horses. While it can and should be part of the strategy, I think adopting IN PLACE is a more viable option for many reasons.

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      • Found one here, makes no sense. Pennies a pound for $50k worth of horses?

        http://www.yourcentralvalley.com/story/d/story/suspected-horse-thief-is-now-behind-bars/23816/YgoOcPvY9UudqiWMkvH65Q

        A suspected horse thief is behind bars tonight.

        The Madera County Sheriff’s Office says 27-year-old Summer Tex turned herself in Saturday morning.

        Tex is a brand inspector for the California Department of Food and Agriculture.

        Deputies say Tex stole two horses valued at more than $50,000 last year.

        She’s suspected of shipping them out of state for slaughter.

        The two horses have not been found and the case is still under investigation.

        The Sheriff’s Office says your tips are making a difference. They say several people called Crime Stoppers after it was reported on CBS47 news Friday night that Tex was wanted.

        If you have any information on this case, you are asked to call Crime Stoppers at 498-STOP.
        Copyright 2014 yourcentralvalley.com Nexstar Broadcasting, All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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    • Dear Icy, went to the site , OMG people with no idea, all they know is I a big person , i can shoot a horse !!!!! with birth control, everything said there is totally unfounded and without foundation or reservation, I did not see where to comment although I would love to !!!!!!

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  16. Why is it that these writers never seem to be able to investigate anything about the animals they are writing about? If someone pointed them to the scientific articles telling the reader about the DNA evidence proving the horse evolved on the North American continent millions of years ago I do believe they would call the scientific articles all lies. Disgusting people. They believe everything the BLM says without question.

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    • Barb – that’s one reason why we conducted the study: To get folks to ask the questions.
      Sure, a large HMA can produce 300 foals. But it’s what occurs during the first year of their lives that will constitute an actual herd increase – those that survive long enough to become contributors to the herds.
      So we have rough, rocky dangerous environments as nurseries for these infants. As difficult as it may be to consider, babies will perish in even the most protected circumstances. Some may never even take their first breath.
      These places DO have predators, regardless of whatever statement is considered fashionable (‘no predators’, ‘few predators’) and it’s the natural order that the weakest – the very young and the very old – will be the first chosen.
      And that’s another salient fact that seems to escape notice by the folks who make declarations about our wild horses and burros – that once they’re born, they just never seem to die.
      If we considered only a simple, blanket mortality of 5% (erring in the Bureau’s favor), more than 2,000 wild horses and burros of all ages will die on the range this year alone.
      With the eye toward massive PZP inoculations and field neutering of these animals as possible options in ‘controlling’ their growth, we must be as close to certainty as possible in how many are out there. Because we simply have NO proof. Flyovers detail a written log of horses and burros as stick figures. Flyover maps show colored dots where the animals were sighted. And it’s not only NOT enough – it isn’t valid. Show me the pictures; make the video available. Hell, I’ll buy the damn thing for $19.95 plus postage and handling. Just do not expect me to buy the BS because you ‘say so’.
      Holding costs, contractor obligations and now, millions offered for bids for physical and chemical sterilization make it impossible for the Wild Horse and Burro Program to be a necessary boots-on-the-ground field program – which might negate these other astronomical expenses altogether.
      Science tells this tale over and over again. What else must we do to get someone to listen?

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      • Lisa, like you I try every day to find some way to shift this unsustainable situation.
        One thing that is within reach others have suggested – installing security cameras at the holding areas to at least monitor the horses trapped there. Since we can’t get good population counts on the range and access is restricted in the holding areas though these are public property, the small expense of multitudes of cameras with a live-streaming website seems reachable. We know it’s done with wildlife cams of eagles hatching etc. so it can work. At a minimum it would let people who have the time and interest bird dog what is going on there. Since the BLM is supposedly wanting more transparency and public involvement (as pointed out by the NAS study as imperative) they should welcome the volunteer help monitoring those animals. This is something I think we need to find a way to get behind and make happen.

        Any ideas on how to go about it? I think many cameras on each site would be necessary, to provide backups and also to prevent someone taking out one or another at particular times on purpose. Safety in numbers!

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  17. This chart clearly shows (by BLM numbers) that only ONE HALF of the Foals live to be Yearlings. It also doesn’t account for adult mortality, which is estimated to be about 5%.
    Each Herd showed an increase of 10%. Now, factor in 5% adult mortality.
    This all shakes out to about 5% increase in Herd population…NOT 20%.

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    • True mortality on the range according to a NAS study of over 8000 wild horses came out to 5% to 25% for adults, but for wild horses up to the 1st year, mortality was between 14% up to 50%, understandable as this is a time when they are most vulnerable. BLM only wants to acknowledge a minimum of 5% to say that it is factoring mortality , but in truth in any given year there could be mortality anywhere between 19% and 75%, when you add up the minimum mortality of 1st year and adult and maximum mortality for the same. It blows you away as most think that there is a continual increase in population numbers out there whether it be 1% every year or 20% every year. There are annual mortality rates that exceed reproduction, so numbers out there will increase and decrease, and sometimes mortality will out weigh any increase by a wide margin. BLM flat out lie about the numbers. Again this is what makes the use of PZP so dangerous. It increases the opportunity for mortality rates to exceed reproduction by a wide margin. It is a recipe for extinction under any circumstances and the BLM know it., especially since BLM wants to use it continuously while it has dangerous side effects on top of everything else.

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      • And add to that – over the past 5 years, roundups have taken an average of 21% of the populations per year.
        So where the hell are all these horses and burros coming from???
        (p.s. Nicely stated, Bob!)

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      • Yes Lisa, Amazing that according to the BLM numbers of wild horses out there, the reproductive rates would have to be astronomical, as you and I had discussed in our phone discussions. Know it is older information, as I mentioned, but during the Calico complex roundup of 2009-2010, for 575 horses, (approx. half being mares and most of those PZPd) to reach a number of 1922 ( numbers that they found, at which point they could find no others) would require, after careful calculation, a 125% annual reproductive rate, and that is only factoring in a mere 5% mortality. Other astronomical reproductive rates are coming up also, using BLM numbers. Then we factor in as you have brilliantly put together, numbers of those rounded up. Such reproductive rates do not, nor ever will occur in nature, so where are the horses coming from????, in these roundups. As crazy as some of you think I may be, I am not the only one to have figured this answer out, or witnessed it. The only way these horses can being showing up at these roundups, in many cases, is the simple fact that the BLM are moving them around, recycling them, or taking them out of holding or reservations and shipping them to the sites just beyond the hills , where the BLM won’t allow you to look ( they are very careful of stating that they don’t want you up looking over these hills and rises at the roundups), and putting them in temp. holding corrals, where they are released in front of the helicopter. Some of them even are domestics! I know.. It sounds crazy, and maybe I have had a bit too much caffeine, but too much evidence points to this fact. As I say, I am not the only one to see this, nor am I the first. It is a minor expense for the BLM to move horses around to perpetuate this masquerade of overpopulation, in comparison to the financial benefits of keeping this unneeded Wild Horse and Burro Program going , and appropriations coming in from Uncle Sam. This is another tactic, although not the only one, to brainwash the public and the government into believing that there is an overpopulation problem, added to the fudging of figures, unscientific and inaccurate counts, and the straight up lying about numbers. All of it, however is to eliminate the wild horses and burros, completely from the public lands. Sadly, after the Calico Mt complex roundup, after an aerial census and on the ground census, by advocates, only a few wild horses were found left, while the BLM were still claiming 600 horses out there. The Calico Mt Complex was pretty much dead, and void of any horse activity

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  18. Reblogged this on Pass the SAFE Act! and commented:
    Any other agency under govt. control uses science to determine viability, why would this agency be excluded? It is ludicrous to believe that their budget should be excluded from using scientific data to determine their budgetary needs.

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  19. ya every one has to answer to someone..whos blm answer too??looks like no one..and i think the people out there fighting for these animals know more about how many.where.when.n how old.they know these horses names..so in order to have names and naming them there isnt too many.i think too few.put them back….indian givers.to take back what wasnt theres in the first place.

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  20. Bob, we can’t thank you enough for all of your information, scary as it is. I had no idea the mortality rate could be so high but I and others have been trying to tell other advocates that fertility control wasn’t necessary as there is no excess and PZP, etc. would only help BLM with their”managing for extinction”. I hope they will listen to you and wise up before it’s too late..

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    • Thank you Barbara… You and your husband have been fantastic advocates and your friendship is very much appreciated

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  21. In the Wild and also domestic horses it is not an easy thing to conceive a foal, much less bring one to term, and in the wild even harder because of the elements, and many factors are not good/ and must be considered and taken into account, in any statistics , that is why there is no need for PZP< each foal born is a precious miracle……..that should be adored……….The BLM has never taken this or any other factors into any of their accounts……………… Precisely why their numbers are Bull crap………They HAVE NO SCIENTIFIC accounts being taken or even considered, therefore , they are fudging everything they say, WHY ????? they want the Mustangs gone !!!!!!!!!!!!!

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