Beatys Butte 2015 wild horse roundup (photo: BLM)
by Marybeth Devlin
Arbitrary management level (AML): The “overpopulation” of wild horses is a concocted crisis.
Per the 438,140 acres — 685 square miles — of mustang habitat, BLM manages the Beatys Butte herd down to the AML’s low end — 100 — restricting the stocking density to one wild horse per 4,381 acres — almost seven square miles!
Sparsely populated, widely dispersed: Other herds in Oregon besides Beatys Butte are similarly restricted.
One wild horse per 5,062 acres — 8 square miles — Paisley Desert.
Most grazing slots given to cattle: Within Beatys Butte — where wild horses are, by law, supposed to receive principal benefit of resources — livestock occupy 90 percent of the grazing slots — called “animal unit months” (AUMs).
Normative annual herd-growth equals at most, 5%: Gregg, LeBlanc, and Johnston (2014) disclosed the average birth rate among wild-horse herds is 20 percent, but 50 percent of foals perish. The population-gain from surviving foals (10 percent) minus a conservative estimate of adult-mortality (5 percent) equals a normative herd-growth rate of 5 percent.
Fictitious figures: BLM’s herd-growth figures are falsified. Repeatedly, BLM reports one-year increases far beyond what is biologically possible.
- 170 percent — 34 times the norm — Stinking Water.
- 179 percent — 36 times the norm — Paisley Desert.
- 256 percent — 51 times the norm — Beatys Butte **
- 317 percent — 63 times the norm — Jackies Butte
** BLM reported that the Beatys Butte population grew from 117 horses to 416 horses in one year, an increase of 299. If so, to overcome foal-mortality (50 percent) and adult-mortality (at least 5 percent), that would mean each filly and mare gave birth to 10 or more foals.
Overpopulation is a false flag: Excess is found only on BLM’s falsified spreadsheets.