Horse News

ACTION ALERT: Please Send Comments to Help the Fifteenmile Wild Horse Herd In Wyoming

by Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management has released the Environmental Assessment for the Fifteenmile Herd Management Area in northern Wyoming, proposing rounding up and removing wild horses down to the low end of the Appropriate Management Level, 70 wild horses, or 100 if the AML is adjusted up, but which would leave the herd at well below the number needed to maintain genetic viability, which is 150 adults.

The Fifteenmile Herd management Area is a wild and remote place, consisting of 70,534 acres of public land, and it is 35 miles west of Worland. It is a starkly beautiful and, with mesas and buttes and hoodoos and red rock, and very few people visit the horses there.

This area is unique because these wild horses have been unmolested for 10 years, with the last roundup and removal taking place in October of 2009. The horses are truly wild, most often running from the sight of vehicles even miles away. They are very colorful, and and very healthy despite living in such harsh, dry and inhospitable lands.

The last count of the herd according to the BLM was done in January of 2016, and even with the statistical adjustment of the “simultaneous double count” method the BLM uses to adjust up the direct count, they only estimated 284 wild horses. If this number is accurate, then the BLM’s projections of increasing herd size 25% every year is completely inaccurate. The BLM estimates they left 100 horses in 2009. If the population increased as they projected, there should be 472 wild horses in the HMA in 2016.

The numbers that the BLM cites for increasing herd size are ridiculous. They project that the herd will number 337 in 2017, 404 in 2018 and 485 in 2019. They are basing the need for this roundup on a lie.

You can read the Environmental Assessment here:

https://www.wildhoofbeats.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/Fifteenmile_EA_FINAL_01282019.pdf

Many people have maintained including the report the BLM commissioned from the USGS that constant roundups actually boost the birth rate of wild horses. In this case, with this herd being left virtually untouched for the last 10 years and the birth rate increasing very slowly, this seems to prove that out. This herd can provide an incredibly valuable resource to study managing a herd without roundups and removals as a much more cost effective, more humane for the horses alternative to the constant destructive cycle of every 3 years rounding and removing more wild horses.

The excuse of range degradation does not exist for removing wild horses here. The BLM’s own survey shows that 97% of the range is is in good shape and the 3% that is not is not due to wild horse or livestock degradation.

I do understand the need to remove wild horses that have strayed onto private land. But that should be accomplished by low impact low stress bait trapping on those private lands. Resources are sparse in this HMA so baiting the horses in should work well.

In the Proposed Action the BLM discusses changing the AML to a low of 100 and a high of 230 wild horses. This is much better than the 70-100 range that now exists. But I suggest changing the AML to 150-300 wild horses. I suggest doing a 5-10 study of the herd, and seeing what the population does to keep itself in check due to changing weather, forage and range conditions, and water availability. I asset that this herd has found its own equilibrium – therefore let us benefit from this and study what is working instead of destroying the herd.

Something that the BLM never considers or mentions or accepts as a viable concern is the welfare of the horses that are rounded up and removed. With the current policy of shipping every horse 5 years old or older off to private facilities, and then possibly selling them to slaughter, most of these horses are condemned to death once they are removed from their home. They belong on the range, on our public lands.

I am completely opposed to skewing the sex ratio 60% males to 40% females to “slow population growth.” The BLM has absolutely no proof that this works, and I have seen the damage that doing this skewing does to a neighboring herd, the McCullough Peaks Herd. It stresses the herd in a very negative way, increasing fights and conflicts between stallions and decreasing the stability of wild horse families and it should never be done on wild horse herds.

Please comment by March 4 on this plan, and choose the No Action Alternative, and request that they raise the AML to 150-300 wild horses, and begin a study of this unique herd.

The most effective thing you can do is to use your own words – the BLM says if you use a form to comment that they count all the forms received as one comment.

Comments should be received by March 4 at 4:30 MT and can be emailed to:

blm_wy_fifteenmile_hma@blm.gov

(please include FifteenmileHMA in the subject line) or mailed to Wild Horse Specialist, BLM Worland Field Office, 101 South 23rd Street, Worland, WY 82401.

15 replies »

  1. This roundup is such a rotten thing to do to a herd that has been managing itself all these years. The idea of what will happen to them if the BLM does this? Just makes me sick.
    Did comment (below)

    Considering that this herd has been left almost untouched for the last TEN(10) years and their birth rate increase has been so slow – it would seem to me that their reproduction has self-regulated. The fact that the USGS report that the BLM themselves commissioned stated that the constant BLM roundups are causing the birth rates to increase – would seem to say that the roundups are NOT the answer! This herd that has managed to stabilize its birth rates with NO interference from the BLM’s “management” – how about actually doing the kind of management that would be more cost effective (leaving the horses in the wild) and more humane for those very horses rather than this continuous devastating routine of rounding up & removing more wild horses every 3 years? It sure would be to the taxpayers advantage and absolutely more advantageous to our wild horses.
    Since the BLM’s own survey shows that NINETY SEVEN PERCENT (97%) of this range is in good shape & the 3% that isnt is NOT DUE TO WILD HORSE OR LIVESTOCK DEGRADATION! Considering the current policy of shipping every horse 5 years old or older off to private facilities (horses 5 years old are barely mature at that point) & condemning them to death once they are removed – these WILD ANIMALS deserve to live & die on their own range – our public lands. This experiment of skewing the sex ratio 60/40 only damages & stresses the herd, & there has never been any proof that it works – only increases fights between stallions & destroys the stability of the wild horse families – something that only causes MORE reproduction in the end.
    I choose the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Stand up America for our wild horses and burros why should they not be free. The blm betray people and our horses and burros for the welfare ranchers. The blm wants to get rid of our horses and burros in wy., the checkerboard ‘ll wild horse wipeout plan.We got to help our wild horses and burros all states now.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. There is a Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act. I want this acted upon. Laws are laws and the BLM has been breaking the law, This ensures PROTECTION for the wild horses and burros. Leave them where they are, no penning, slaughtering, chasing with helicopters, killing, the foals and old. Horrible, Evil, men who want to do away with these Wild Mustangs and our History!!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Dear BLM,I object to any Wild Equine being taken of of range and sold.There should be a replacement property for them where we can monitor them.Not right to say that they will be adopted when in reality will end up sold for slaughter.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I do not agree with any round-up of this herd. Their numbers do not warrant any attempt to minimize the size of this herd. Take no action on this. I don’t understand why the BLM continues to methodically initiate round-ups of herds of wild horses in the western states. This never seems to end, What can be done to stop these intrusions on the lives of wild horses and burros?

    Liked by 2 people

  6. BLM has been know to take nature in their own all the time without scientific facts , they do it to horses , wolves bears etc. All because they are holding to ranchers I seen this for the longest time. Since Bruce Babbit was Secretary of interior ,they have run wild since his time in office. The office of BLM should be shut down period. Including wildlife management ,both should be cut off they do nothing for wildlife ,only ranchers they protect.

    Liked by 1 person

    • And it’s Full Measure :Tracking the Money playing as if wild horses are fleecing America. Please push back with the Absolute truth so she understands she Has to Report Both sides.

      Like

  7. The Close Call -The Wild Horses of Fifteen Mile – Wyoming

    Ok here is the scene for this video: 2004 I think it was late spring. I had hiked/Crawled for about 30 minutes to get to a spot to film these horses. There were about 180 horses in the herd. The Fifteen Mile herd is so remote that the horses run at the first sight of a human. So I could not approach them walking upright. The herd was just below a rise and had been feeding in a direction that would put them on a hillside across from me. Once I got to a position to wait them out I heard something behind me. A Mare with a colt had came in from behind me and sounded the alarm. I looked back at where my vehicle was and it looked like a dot. As the horses ran towards me to see what I was, I figured I would get trampled lol. But instead I stayed sitting. The entire herd circle me over and over again. Then they just slow trotted away and I was all alone.

    Like

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