Source: The Cloud Foundation
Speak Up to Keep Young Pryor Wild Horses on the Range!
Comments on the BLM Pryor Wild Horse removal are due April 24.
The BLM proposes to remove 30 Pryor Mountain wild horses aged 1, 2 and 3 using bait trapping this year.
The BLM is to be commended for its excellent PZP program, however, the current plan has not been in place long enough to achieve the desired result of balancing reproduction with natural mortality, thereby making removals unnecessary.
If 30 horses ages 1-3 are targeted, most of Cloud’s young offspring (Encore, Mato Ska and Ohanzee) could be removed from the mountain as well as many other unique, irreplaceable young horses, including Navigator, the only living offspring of the long- time band stallion, Custer who is 19 this year. We encourage you to politely speak out, urging the BLM to analyze alternatives to such a large removal.
Recommended areas of analysis for BLM to include in their forthcoming Environmental Assessment:
- Analyze incrementally removing 6-10 young horses in the 1-2 year old age groups for the next three years. (Removing only a limited number of young horses yearly will give them a greater chance of being adopted to quality homes.)
- Analyze whether darting all mares with two offspring on the mountain would balance reproduction and mortality in a more timely manner.
Pursue ALL alternatives to mitigate genetic damage resulting from the removal of horses:
- Removal of 30 horses exceeds the number that could be removed per the current PZP decision record which requires at least one offspring per mare, one year or older will be left on the range. There are not 30 young horses that could be removed without violating this requirement.
- Removal of 30 horses further threatens genetic viability.
- Analyze bait trapping in winter months when genetically over-represented bands are more easily accessible.
Re-examine Rangeland Expansion/Improvements to ensure adequate forage for a genetically viable herd:
- Negotiate for rangeland expansion with sister agencies, USFS and National Park Service (Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area).
- Immediately open Administrative Pastures and take down fences using adaptive management as justification. Use volunteers as needed.
- Remove all exclosures not being used for range monitoring to maximize forage available for herd. Use volunteers as needed.
- Carry out aerial re-seeding per the 2009 HMAP.
Request that the forthcoming EA include:
- All current range monitoring data.
- All PZP darting records.
- An updated census that includes all horses that have died since the fall 2014.
- All yearly death rate data since 2009 to substantiate the average loss of 6-12 horses year.
Evaluate Natural Management Alternatives:
- Coordinate with Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks to reduce mountain lion hunting in the PMWHR.
Please submit your written comments to:
Field Manager BLM-Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101