Horse News

Cloud’s Herd Faces An Uncertain Future

An open letter from Ginger Kathrens of the Cloud Foundation

Dear friends,

As many of you know, I’ve been documenting the lives of the Pryor Mustangs for a very long time. In 1994 I had a chance encounter with the stunning black stallion, Raven. A year later Raven and his family brought their newborn colt out of the forest right in front of my camera. The pale colt tottered behind his stunning palomino mother, Phoenix. I named the fragile foal Cloud.

Cloud grew into a powerful fighting stallion. Until the very end he battled to keep his family together. He never gave up. And neither can we.

Please click below to watch the video, and take a few minutes to comment on this very dangerous plan for the Pryor herd.

Happy Trails,

Ginger Kathrens

Watch The Video

Click Here to Take Action

12 replies »

  1. Please president trump, please respect one of god’s most beautiful creatures, and leave them alone.they have every right to that land. It is called. “The Roam Act. Sincerey, Ruth m Coutu

    Like

      • Also, who are the best legal affiliates to donate to? ALDF, AWI, IDA, plus WHFF? I’ve received requests from the 1st 3 orgs. I want to donate to the legal funds who will TRULY FIGHT the law & the BLM! Need opinions here, plz.
        🐴❤🐴😣😪

        Like

  2. Genetic Decline and the Path to Extinction

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Co. (Sept. 16, 2013) – For over thirty years, the genetics of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd have been tracked by foremost equine geneticist, E. Gus Cothran. His first revelations linking the herd to the horses of the Spanish Conquistadors and Old World Iberian Horses were cause for celebration among local supporters of the herd who long believed that the primitive physical appearance of some Pryor horses were indicators of their Spanish ancestry. Cothran also indicated in earlier reports that the genetic diversity of the herd was good.
    But Cothran’s newest report issued on August 22, 2013 reveals a herd at risk of losing genetic variability. Cothran states that “compared to past sampling of this herd, variability levels for all measures has been in decline.” He further states that the expression of the Spanish heritage is “stronger than seen recently,” but we could be seeing “the very beginning of evidence of inbreeding.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • From The Cloud Foundation

      Indeed, equine geneticist Dr. Gus Cothran stated in an August 2013 genetic analysis of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range that “Genetic variability of this herd in general … has been in decline. This is likely due to the population size that has been maintained in recent years.”

      The “appropriate management level,” or the number of animals the BLM determines is “appropriate” for each individual herd, has been set at 90-120 animals for the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Dr. Cothran has long stated that populations must be maintained at 150-200 animals in order to preserve genetic viability. Additionally, the Billings Field Office neglected to increase the AML when the range was expanded to include the Administrative Pastures, increasing the amount of forage available to the herd.

      “Both observed heterozygosity and expected heterozygosity in the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range herd is above the feral mean. He is slightly higher than Ho which could indicate the very beginning of evidence of inbreeding.”

      Pg. 4, Genetic Analysis of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range, MT, E. Gus Cothran, 8.2013
      Additionally, Dr. Cothran notes that the variability of the herd is in decline.

      “Genetic variability of this herd in general is on the high side but compared to past sampling of this herd, variability levels for all measures has been in decline. This is likely due to the population size that has been maintained in recent years.”

      Pg. 4, Genetic Analysis of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range, MT, E. Gus Cothran, 8.2013
      Dr. Cothran has long stated that in order to remain genetically viable, herds must be 150-200 animals in size at a minimum (Ne50).
      “The best way to maintain current [variability] levels [in the PMWHR] would be to increase population size if range conditions allow.”

      Pg. 5, Genetic Analysis of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range, MT, E. Gus Cothran, 8.2013
      Dr. Cothran has been quoted many times over the last decade in reference to increasing the AML for what he calls “one of the most significant, wild-horse herds in the United States” (see Appendix 3):

      Please note that Dr. Cothran does not refer to reducing dominant lines. Rather he speaks of increasing the population size. Dominance is a part of natural selection, a basic tenet of evolution. A dominant line is successful because it is genetically strong. The best way to allow for weaker lines to persist is to allow for a larger population in which weaker lines have a chance to exist in spite of being weak. It is essential to have as large a population as the range will support.
      https://www.thecloudfoundation.org/comments-and-articles/pryor-ea-comments

      Like

    • Right Louie and something that many people don’t think about or realize is that the wild horse (or burro) herd that Dr Cothran gets his results from is from a gene pool that no longer exists. It is hard to explain but once you “get it” … you will see it clearly.

      Example, let’s just say there is a herd of 200 wild horses. The horses are captured and DNA samples are taken from some of those captured wild horses and those samples are analyzed by Dr. Cothran. So far so good?

      Then after the capture of those 200 wild horses let’s say 100 are removed and 100 are returned.

      So the DNA analysis is for a herd (of 200) that no longer exists. So although Dr. Cothran’s reports are important, they do NOT give accurate genetic health of the remaining smaller herd therefore even if Dr. Cothran says the herd genetically “healthy” … his reports then are moot.

      Like

Care to make a comment?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.