Equine Rescue

Wild Horses: Please Comment on BLM’s Plan to Reduce North Lander Complex in Wyoming Herds to Dangerously Low Numbers

by Carol Walker~Director of Field Documentation at Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Published on: Wild Hoofbeats and Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Horses in the North Lander Complex Herds in Danger of Extinction

The Bureau of Land Management’s Lander, Wyoming Field Office has released a Scoping Document for the North Lander Complex in Wyoming. The most current population count has the numbers of the wild horses in the North Lander Complex to be 1026. They do not differentiate between foals and adult horses in their number, they say 1016 “individuals,” so it is misleading – the BLM is not supposed to count the current year’s foal crop because mortality is high for foals in their first year.

Here are the four Herd Management Areas in the 368,000 acre Complex:
Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte, Muskrat Basin, Rock Creek Mountain
They call it a “complex” because “there is no geographic separation of the HMAs and the gates between them are left open a significant part of the year.”
This is the excuse given for bringing the numbers in 3 of the 4 herds down way below the level needed for genetic viability. However, if there is no separation at all, why are there four different herd management areas?
Horses tend to stay in familiar areas, areas they know where the waterholes, shelter and grazing are located. I would seriously doubt that there is very much intermixing of herds – when visiting the Red Desert Complex, where there are adjacent areas, the horses tend to stay in their range, and there is very little intermixing.

They plan to bring the herds down to these numbers:
Conant Creek 60
Dishpan Butte 50
Muskrat Basin 160
Rock Creek Mountain 50

and end up with a total number of horses for the North Lander Complex of 310.
According to Gus Cothran, the leading geneticist for wild horses, a herd needs a population of at least 150 adults to maintain genetic viability. This plan of the BLM’s which not only brings all but one of the herds down to dangerously low levels also includes giving birth control to all the mares that are released. If the herds are at dangerously low levels it makes absolutely no sens at all to give them birth control. Herds below the minimum number of wild horses for genetic viability should NOT be given any type of birth control. That is dooming them to extinction.
The other issue is that fall is the exact wrong time of year to give PZP to the mares – it should be done in January – March to ensure that it works – they are planning the roundup for the fall of 2017.

They are planning to use helicopters to round up the horses – using helicopters to terrify wild horses so that they run into traps and injure themselves is cruel and inhumane. If they need to round the horses up they should use the far more humane and far less costly method of bait trapping. And they need to keep the families of horses together – this is much less stressful for the horses.

My recommendation is to not remove any of the wild horses from the North Lander Complex, keep the herds at genetically viable levels, and to use bait trapping to round them up and give birth control to the mares at the correct time of the year. If they are going to give them PZP they need to follow up in the next few years because otherwise they will not be able to maintain the numbers of the wild horses. Management of these wild horses should be done on the range. Wild Horses should not be removed from their families and their homes and warehoused at holding facilities with no shelter where they become a burden on the taxpayer and are likely to end up at slaughter. Yes, the Scoping Documents and Environmental Assessments should include what happens the the wild horses that the BLM proposes to remove after they are removed – this is extremely relevant to the action that they are proposing.

Please comment by January 31, 2017 by 4pm Mountain Time, and use your own words – the BLM counts the group emails that you sign your name to as one.

Here is the scoping document:


and here is where you can send your comments:
Please email your comments to:


Comments may also be mailed or hand delivered to:

Mr. Clay Stott
Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
Lander Field Office
1335 Main Street
Lander, Wyoming 82520
(307) 332-8400

This scoping notice and all other future documents corresponding with this action will be posted on the BLM’s ePlanning site at:


The website can be accessed by the general public. The EA will be posted to this site and there will be a 30-day comment period at that time.

You may obtain a paper copy of these documents by contacting the BLM Lander Field Office at the address or telephone number listed above.


28 replies »

  1. I think the heards are being depleted so fast and so much that the genetic pool is low, and unfortunately the BLM is goung to be responsible for the wild horse’s being so small that the genetics are never going to be the same. We will be losing so many horse’s that we will never have what we have left ever again. Why do they need to be rounded up so much ? Every week another heard another State. Do not allow any more horrendous roundups and running these horse’s to extreme lengths some to exhaustion and even death. This should never be even considered another roundup. Why are you making these decisions, and whst are they based on? I see no reason to put these horse’s through this horrendous act of cruelty. Why you have so many now you don’t know what to do with them. Some are left in holding pens in extreme weather conditions without shelter. Young foals taken from there mothers. For what reason, let them alone, let them enjoy there freedom. They are not hurting anything or anyone. They our not your horse’s it is not your land , it’s ours the American people, who are you to say what happens to the lives of these horse’s. We need to think about there future and not just devastate the genetic pool any more than it has been. Leave the horse’s alone, PLEASE!

    Sincerely Lorie Schoen

    On Jan 24, 2017 7:52 AM, “Straight from the Horse’s Heart” wrote:

    R.T. Fitch posted: “by Carol Walker~Director of Field Documentation at Wild Horse Freedom Federation Published on: Wild Hoofbeats and Wild Horse Freedom Federation Wild Horses in the North Lander Complex Herds in Danger of Extinction The Bureau of Land Management’s Lander”


  2. I stay out of the politic thing, with everyone hating each other over Trump. I do believe that his administration will deliver the death blow to mustangs and burros. We now are governed by an oligarchy where only the wealthiest count and they want our Public Lands. Nothing we say matters, no amount of protesting will stop it. Such a sad state of cruelty and demoralization in this country. I will never understand this mindset. I do believe it is over. I will fight to the end but I believe it is over. I’m not usually a defeatist but this destruction is now on the fast track and unstoppable.


    • I agree. The situation with the Pine Nut horses near Gardnerville in Nevada is an about face by the BLM telling them they are rounding up all horses in that area, they no longer can water the horses and they won’t resume the pzp darting even though this advocate group has formed a non-profit to water the horses and they all are trained to dart. These horses have been in the area for decades. The local rancher allows them to have to water tanks on his land. The horses are not competing with other grazers in that area. There is no reason to round them up. Nevada and Utah is ground zero for round ups. I went to the Mustang Magic at Fort Worth, TX last weekend and at the BLM’s booth on the wall they had a poster that said “Did you know as of March 1, 2016 there are more than 67,000 wild horses and burros roaming public rangelands- a 15 percent increase over the estimated 2015 population,” To me this statement insinuates they are intruders. I thought it was just called Public lands.


    • I agree about staying out – scares me, too. too easy to get drawn in – doesnt seem to be much bringing people together anywhere.


      • Maggie (and anyone) staying out is the only way to guarantee we will lose all our wild horses and burros. We would have lost them in the ’60s but for people like Velma Johnston speaking up and out, and not quitting. One line worth remembering from those times which brought us so many environmental and wildlife protections against overwhelming odds is this: If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.

        Divide and conquer is a strategy which we all know and should therefore be able to figure out how to avoid. Do what you can, from where you are, as bravely as you dare.

        We must not allow despair or internal bickering divide people who care about our public inheritance and the legacy we leave for those who follow us.


      • Icy, I didnt mean that I dont speak out & make my opinions known BUT getting into a knockdown, dragout argument (like some online) with someone who has the opposite viewpoint doesnt do anything to move the needle forward especially these days with social media – it does NO good to argue with someone who has made up their mind about something – thats been obvious with a couple friends due to this election! But no one I know or have contact with has ANY doubt about how I feel about our wild horses & burros, which I’m sure is true for you too!

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I got an email from Chilly Pepper this am – they are on their way back to SD – will be making several trips back & forth (1100 miles) and probably having to gather & sort horses at ISPMB. Not all of the 270 have been removed yet. Everything else dependent upon the court decision coming up. They are connected to Fleet of Angels & really need donations. Honestly – this rescue has certainly done its share & more to help the horses – on top of their other animals.


  4. Agree, must keep fighting against what sometimes seems like all odds. “Optimism is a political act. Those who benefit from the status quo are perfectly happy for us to think nothing is going to get any better…These days, cynicism is obedience.” – Alex Steffen

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is just not right. Someone needs to be held accountable for the continual round ups the BLM does in the same areas and the consistency in the removal of mustang and the returning of some.You turn them back out and then return to remove them again so it’s kind of depleting the herd numbers down way to low. The BLM needs to go and get actual hands on counts to prove the numbers are high enough for removal. They have been removing mustang from the same areas and these herds under their management are in danger of extinction. Stop the round ups and leave the mustang alone. The cattle can live somewhere else, like on the owners property, and the BLM can stop the management since they aren’t doing anything but killing off these herds.Utah, Nevada, Montana, Colorado,Wyoming,, Oregon, Idaho and Arizona needs to be put under protection and the counts in the areas that BLM removes the mustang from needs to have accurate to date counts before allowing them to remove any more of our wild horses and burros alike. The counts need to be verified so we all know the numbers aren’t falsified in order to kill of the population of these mustang. They are protected under federal law ” To require the protection, management, and control of wild free- roaming horses and burros on public lands. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress finds and declares that wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West; that they contribute to the diversity of life forms within the Nation and enrich the lives of the American people; and that these horses and burros are fast disappearing from the American scene. It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death; and to accomplish this they are to be considered in the area where presently found, as an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.” and “The Secretary shall maintain a current inventory of wild free-roaming horses and burros on given areas of the public lands. The purpose of such inventory shall be to: make determinations as to whether and where an overpopulation exists and whether action should be taken to remove excess animals; determine appropriate management levels of wild free-roaming horses and burros on these areas of the public lands; and determine whether appropriate management levels should be achieved by the removal or destruction of excess animals, or other options (such as sterilization, or natural controls on population levels). In making such determinations the Secretary shall consult with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife agencies of the State or States wherein wild free-roaming horses and burros are located, such individuals independent of Federal and State government as have been recommended by the National Academy of Sciences, and such other individuals whom he determines have scientific expertise and special knowledge of wild horse and burro protection, wild-life management and animal husbandry as related to rangeland management.” The BLM is failing to uphold this law and do their job. Manage not destroy!


  6. Since Wyoming seems intent on emptying itself of wild horses, maybe one better approach would be to let them — by providing equivalent acreage in some other state and moving the wild horses there forever. After that, NO federal funds or tourism dollars related to wild horses would be part of Wyoming’s economy. They’d probably have to change their license plate to a mutton buster, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That sounds like a good idea – now WHERE would there be a state that would actually speak up for & WANT those horses? And frankly, any state that has pictures of wild horses on their license plates & quarters? NOT allowed – unless they actually treat them principally!!!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. The BLM and their methods to capture the wild horses is SO inhumane.. these are America’s horses.. deemed to be Protected since 1971… American citizens have a right and a say in their treatment.. WE the people want NO harm to come to the horses… The BLM has murdered enough horses, burros and buffalos…. LEAVE ENOUGH ALONE!!


    • Interesting since the feds just approved two massive power transmission lines to NV which will take wind energy from near Rawlins in what is to be the largest wind farm in the world… Wyoming surely has more wind than anyone!


  8. Please stop these inhumane round-ups. Many horses are killed during these times, families are destroyed. Why don’t you care for these horses as you are supposed to. I cannot believe that caring people could be so heartless. If this Donald Trump believes that he is giving the country back to the people, then he should save the horses and burros, since 85% of Americans do not want our horses and burros rounded up , placed in holding pens, sent to slaughter and brutalized.


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