Wild Horses/Mustangs

BLM holds on to every last cow while planning to sterilize mares, geld stallions and remove 1,251 wild horses from the Pershing Complex in Nevada

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Public comments due July 12, 2017 by 4:30 pm PT on the BLM’s Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) plans for the East Pershing Complex in Nevada.
Once again, the BLM doesn’t want to discuss reducing any livestock, but intends to sterilize, geld and remove wild horses from their federally protected areas forever.
The East Pershing complex consists of 3 Herd Management Areas – North Stillwater HMA, Tobin HMA and Augusta Mountain HMA.  It consists of 4 Herd Areas – Augusta Mountain HA, Humboldt HA, East Range HA and Sonoma Range HA.  Of course, the BLM doesn’t have Herd Area Maps on it’s NEW (with much less information to the public) website.   This complex consists of 2,191,650 acres in Nevada.

BLM plans to reduce herd sizes from what they claim total 15,965 down to the low AMA of 345 horses, a removal of 1,251 wild horses.  Be sure to ask for all the raw data from any and all population inventory flights the last few years.  Since the BLM complains of too many FOIAs, let’s just ask them to provide the public with this documentation.

The BLM continues to experiment on wild horses.   About it’s horrible sterilization procedures, spaying is via ovariectomy surgery in temporary holding, or in the field or in BLM holding and the technique not specified.  This could include the inhumane colpotomies, so these inhumane experiments could be done in the field.  There was no mention of monitoring the mares after the procedures.
The BLM does say this:
“However, there is still uncertainty on whether the spayed mares would continue to remain with the stallion and band from which the mare was most recently attached. Overall the BLM anticipates that some spayed mares may continue to exhibit estrus behavior
which could foster band cohesion.  Nymphomaniac behavior in domestic mares was not always ‘cured’ following bilateral ovariectomy (Kobluk et al., 1995). It has been reported that 60 percent of ovariectomized domestic mares will cease estrous behavior following surgery (Loesch and Rodgerson, 2003).  Yet, the full repertoire of courtship and mating behavior has been displayed by ovariectomized mares and by anestrous mares during the nonbreeding season (Asa et al., 1980; Hooper et al., 1993).  Although the wild mare is expected to remain in a herd, additional consequential behavioral effects of spaying are unknown at this time.”
Let’s think about this… consequential behavioral effects of spaying are unknown at this time…hmmmm…sure sounds like the BLM is experimenting on our wild horses.
And lets remember that even though many mares have died from the colpotomy experiments, in this PEA, the BLM claims they don’t expect any problems.
The Alternatives presented are not NEPA-compliant because they are not genuine alternatives, they are basically Live/Die, not stating what the Action actually is.
And last but by no means least, on page 65 of this PEA, photos 10 & 11 show about a dozen horses drinking out of Logan Pond, then Logan Pond all dried up (like the horses drank every last drop of water).  This PEA doesn’t seem to address that a couple of geothermal power plants are near these HMAs, or mention the amount of water used by these geothermal plants.  We will be looking forward to more information about water use by ALL of the uses in this area, in the Environmental Assessment.

11 replies »

  1. There are some wonderful photos in this article

    Kamma Mountains Wild Horses of Nevada (excerpts)

    Several years ago, my husband and I had occasion to visit Pershing County, Nevada and, while there, decided to explore. We enjoyed the region and began to return regularly. Rosebud Canyon in the Kamma Mountains became a favorite destination and from there we gradually increased our explorations of the Kamma range, as well as the adjoining Lava Beds and Seven Troughs. The Kamma Mountains lie west of Winnemucca and north of Lovelock in a desert wilderness region of Pershing County.

    In August of 2012 as we drove through the Kamma Mountains at the southeast edge of the Black Rock Desert, a wild horse crossed the road in front of us to challenge a stallion with two mares. For me it was love at first sight.

    I cried for a long time as I watched. I cried because the research clanging in my head–the mustangs are feral, the mustangs are native, the mustangs don’t have a right to be on public lands, the mustangs are protected by legislation, they are protected but they eat too much, they are sick, they are starving, the mustangs will be better off in captivity–finally quieted, and before me, gleaming, muscled, proud and purposed was one of those horses and I knew then that I wanted only one thing from that horse: more. From that point on the Kamma Mountains wild horses became a major focus of our Nevada desert journeys.

    As cherished as it is, the experience of coming to know the Kamma Mountains mustangs has been bittersweet. Juxtaposed with our visits to the Kamma Mountains has been the removal by the U.S. government of thousands of wild horses from our western states, including Nevada and its Kamma Mountains. The Bureau of Land Management, field agency for the Department of the Interior, “gathers” the horses and, if they survive, places them in holding facilities. The gathers are held in response to protests from ranchers that the wild horses are consuming too much of the range’s forage. Ranchers pay the BLM a nominal fee to supplement grazing with forage on U.S. public lands.



  2. Nevada Desert Drought and Our Vanishing Mustangs (excerpts)

    The white-hot topic of drought is spreading across the northern Nevada desert this summer and wild horse activists are accusing the U.S. Bureau of Land Management of exploiting drought conditions to accelerate and expand its goals of removing hundreds of mustangs from Nevada’s ranges. The BLM has in past years already significantly diminished the mustang population in Nevada and throughout other western states, in what some activists allege is a contrived effort to ensure more forage for cattle. Cattle provide revenue to the BLM from ranchers who use public lands to supplement grazing.

    My husband and I recently returned from camping in the northern Nevada desert where the heat was oppressive. Heat ascended endlessly from the desert floor and filled every inch of air with an incandescent blur. In such incendiary conditions, every animal there is fighting for its life, including the cattle and the mustangs. The primary difference between those two is that cattle dependent upon ranchers are receiving the care they need, while mustangs are dependent on an agency that might have succumbed to a conflict of interest. Mustangs, however, have survived before in drought conditions, in Nevada and historically.

    There was a time in the western United States when one would have expected that the ranchers and the mustangs were on the same side. In truth, however, while ranchers have historically benefitted from mustangs by using the hardy and spirited horses to herd cattle and sheep, they simultaneously resented the competition for forage from those mustangs that remained on the range.

    While we can entreat ranchers to respond more empathetically to the mustangs, we expect the BLM to hold to legal and ethical standards
    Relative to the mustangs, the agency’s methodologies seem to contradict its purported mission.

    In recent years mustangs, which the BLM contends it is protecting from lack of forage, have been terrified and chased by helicopters for hundreds of miles through a Nevada desert terrain that is treacherous with volcanic shards. They have been transported to warehouses and held without hope of release. They have died in captivity of depression, the inability to digest non-native food, and illnesses or injuries born from overcrowded corrals. They have been castrated in captivity and in the field. The mares, in their physical or emotional stress, they have lost foals. The herds’ very sophisticated social and family structures have been ruptured, as some of the wild horses within a herd are captured and others remain on the range.

    Such blatant disregard on the part of the agency for the welfare of pregnant mares and their unborn foals can hardly be defined as ethical, much less caring, stewardship.



    Spring Creek teen awarded Safari Club International gold medal

    TONI R. MILANO tmilano@elkodaily.com
    Toni Milano
    ELKO When Toryn Reynolds was asked to go with his grandparents on an African safari, he had his answer ready.

    “No hunter could ever turn down this opportunity,” said Reynolds, 15, of Spring Creek, looking back on his 10-day trip last August that brought him a Safari Club International gold medal for harvesting a Cape Buffalo.

    In Limpopo, the northernmost province of South Africa, Reynolds, along with his grandparents, Andy and Kay Westby, hunted in a private game preserve, where he also harvested three impalas and kudu a day or two before the buffalo walked into his scope.

    Reynolds had some animals in mind to hunt, but did not think the buffalo would be as big as it was.

    “This one was well beyond what I imagined it would be,” said Reynolds. “It surpassed all our expectations.

    The harvest also brought him recognition from Safari Club International, ranking his buffalo 88th of all time, receiving a score of just over 121


  4. I live in Illinois and am very aware of the plight of the wild horses and burros in our western states. What I am puzzled about is why all residents of the western states are not in an uproar about the government trying to change the dynamics of the wild horse and burro population. I get info from several different horse rescue organizations who are doing all they can to rescue horses from being sent to auction thereby saving their lives. There are so many people who love and care about these iconic Mustangs of the west and the wild burros who have inhabited these lands longer than anyone currently working for the BLM/government. It seems that the cattle ranchers and other ranchers are using a much higher percentage of the grazing land than any wild horse or burro. They also don’t even eat the same grasses so why is the government so bound and determined to get rid of only the horses and burros? I have signed many petitions for the wild horses and burros to be protected as they should be under law but it seems that nothing changes for the good of these animals. What can a citizen do to keep our government from decimating our wild horse and burro herds?


    • Notice how it doesn’t come right out & say that is what is happening – just suggests:
      ” The extensive overpopulation of wild horses and burros routinely results in their starvation and death from lack of water.”
      Adobetown, Salt Wells & great divide HMAs – strange how we never see pictures of starving, dehydrated horses – only gorgeous, healthy fit animals.
      I sent my comment to the BLM – again.


  5. I cannot believe the pain these horses are being put through. They chase them with helicopters, neuter and spay them in the field no less and it is my understanding that many of the “excess” horses are sold to be slaughtered for food for foreign nations. I have been reading this and several other blogs for a long while now and have come to the conclusion that we need to get the wild horses and burros away from the insane BLM. I have owned and loved horses since I was 5 years old. As I sit here and type this, all I can think of is that these horses need our protection and by our I mean all of the people who read and comment on this and the other blogs trying to get the word out about what awful things the BLM is doing to the wild horses and burros. I don’t think the bureau will change its ways. I think we should begin to take all these animals in to be fostered and find homes for them. I know there are huge ranches up in the next western states that could home them. I shudder to think of the pain and confusion these sensitive creatures are going through at the hands of the BLM and their minions.


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