Guest OpEd by William Simpson
Recently, American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) has promoted a Petition proposing to take some management role of the free-roaming native species American wild horses at Pokegama area of Oregon.
Photo: Naturalist William E. Simpson II studying native species wild horses symbiotically grazing wildfire fuels from a forest floor.
In that Petition, they state: “Speak up for the Pokegama wild horses today – There is a better way!”
A better way to address the problems of America’s wild horses is not achieved by subjecting them to chemicals that have adverse effects on wild horses, which have been pointed out by Dr. Cassandra Nunez and many others.
The people at AWHC are supporters of the notion that treating native species American wild horses with chemicals, allegedly as ‘contraception’, using the chemicals PZP and/or GonaCon is acceptable. I
That dogma alone tells me that the AWHC organization fails in their understanding of the evolutionary science, biology and behavioral ecology of native species American wild horses.
“I stand against any proposal for any management input of the Pokegama area herd by AWHC” ~ William E. Simpson II – Naturalist
Unlike the people at AWHC, I actually live among some of the free-roaming native wild horses at the edge of the Pokegama HMA, and have been studying them for the past 7-years, virtually on a continuous basis.
That ongoing study over the past 7-years represents more than 20,000 hours of close-observational study (not through a telescopic lens or binoculars on a field trip), which has provided me with unique insights into the intimate behaviors of wild horses, some of which are unknown to the people at AWHC.
Being Johnny-on-the-spot is critical in the observation of wild horse behavioral ecology because some behaviors may only exist for seconds or minutes every so often. And catching these important moments requires intensive continuous on-site observation at very close range. It cannot be done with occasional field trips to HMAs or BLM holding areas, reading books, watching videos, or via wild horses already taken out of their natural ecosystems and placed into controlled environments.
From my perspective, AWHC simply does not have needed background and empirical experience with free-roaming native wild horses in a wilderness area, which is a critical prerequisite in order to oversee any kind of management of these treasured free-roaming native American wild horses.
Furthermore, as I point out in my recent article, some wild horse activist groups arguably have a ‘conflict of interest’ when it comes to wild horse advocacy.
Please share this press release to help inform others who should have all available information BEFORE signing or supporting any petition or initiative by AWHC, or any other organization that promotes the use of chemical treatments on America’s vanishing native free-roaming wild horses.