There are a few non-profit advocacy groups and individuals who will represent that my explanations of who I am and what I am doing is bragging or egotistical, in an attempt to marginalize me and/or my work, or that my critiques of their failures is unreasonably condemning of their so-called ‘good works’.
Make no mistake; I do agree there are a few good things coming from some animal protection organizations. For instance; Friends of Animals, whose litigation supporting an initial ESA listing for one herd of wild horses will hopefully bear fruit. Nevertheless, the much larger issue at hand is not being addressed.
But as it is correctly said; results are everything, and even a blind person can see what the results of 40-years of wild horse non-profits using over $100-million in donations has yielded; massive roundups and wild horses heading into extinction.
Because the people and businesses on the other side of the wild horse management debate, who have influence and say in the matter, haven’t been provided with what ‘they’ view as an acceptable alternative management plan to simply eliminating wild horses from all HMAs and public lands.
Eliminating wild horses from public land is obviously the present course of events based upon the so-called ‘Path Forward’, which includes these final nails in the coffins of the wild Ones:
1) Reduce wild horse populations in management areas to levels below the hard minimum populations of breeding adults required to maintain any chance for genetic viability; that number, is 250 breeding adults (hard minimum).
The reduction of herd populations below 250 breeding adults results in inbreeding and homozygosity in the relatively few remaining horses in HMAs; and,
2) Treating the few remaining wild horses with chemical contraception (PZP and GonaCon) adds insult to injury and is scientifically known to:
a) Cause social disruptions and breakdown of family bands; and,
b) Causes selective breeding that favors mares with poor immune systems, setting the stage for disease to overcome the few remaining wild Ones on public lands. Mares with poor immune systems can still foal after being treated with PZP, resulting in selective breeding that supports offspring with poor immunity as a trait. And the so-called contraceptive chemical GonaCon causes irreversible infertility in mares.
Fortunately, I am not like the many paid advocates at non-profit wild horses organizations.
It’s inconvenient truth that these paid advocates are influenced to some extent or another by money (and some by ego) and hanging on the purse-strings of donors and their donations for their own personal survival, and are thereby influenced by money, which arguably taints their perspective.
By not being beholden to anyone’s money and influence, allows me the freedom to make a clear unbiased assessment of the situation, and saying whatever needs to be said. Because for me the priority is about the survival of the wild Ones; their survival is the only thing that matters…
And that’s because so much of the co-evolved flora and fauna in North America also depend upon the continued existence of wild equids on the American landscape, living naturally and unmolested by humankind.
The empirical results we are seeing today across the public lands (the horrific decimation of the remaining wild horses in America), empirically proves that 40-years of organized, donation-funded non-profit advocacy has largely failed.
And their best idea, using PZP, is exactly what the minds behind the ‘Path Forward’ want, because they know what it really does…. it enhances the demise of the genetic vigor of America’s remaining wild horses.
I grew up in the life of ranching and forest management in the mountains on the Oregon-California border before attending Oregon State University as a pre-med science major.
After a long career spanning several professional vocations, I am now retired, living in a cabin, off-grid, in the mountain wilderness of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument on the Oregon-California border, living among and studying free-roaming native wild horses.
As far as I can determine, I am the only researcher in America that is living-among and studying free-roaming wild horses in a natural wilderness ecosystem, complete with apex predators (co-evolved predators of wild equids) and have been doing so for the past 7-years, 24-7, 365, four seasons a year.
The wild Ones have taught me a lot over the course of that continuous long-term intimate exposure to their otherwise secret lives in the wilderness. And it seems that not a day goes by without them teaching me something new, and I have so much more to learn from them.
Some of what the wild Ones have taught and shown me have been integrated into my study paper; “Impact of Wild Horses on Wilderness Landscape and Wildfire’ , which even though I have granted pro-bono publication thereof, most non-profits wont publish or share the paper with the public because it’s not their own work or idea. Why? Worry it may erode their donation income? Maybe. Ego? Probably.
Nevertheless, ReWilding Europe has published my initial revealing study about wild horse behavioral ecology at their online wildfire focused journal: GrazeLIFE:
I continue to live in my little cabin in the wilderness, and using a page from Jane Goodall’s book, I am continuing my study of the secret lives of wild horses.
My payment, which in my humble opinion is huge, is given daily via the privilege of the friendships I enjoy with the local wild Ones.
Most people don’t understand that periodic observations over a telephoto lens only provides a glimpse into the lives of wild horses. In reference to Jane Goodall; she pioneered the observational methodology of ‘the embedded observer’ when she did her groundbreaking study of the Apes in Gombe Africa.
Thanks to what I learned from Jane Goodall’s example and results, in 2014, I embedded myself into a wild and free roaming herd of native species wild horses in the wilderness (there are horse fossils in my study area), where I have been accepted by most of the lead mares and stallions as a sort of ‘symbiont’.
Gaining status with the herd families took nearly a year and many sacrifices, which I am hoping can now benefit the greater advocacy with new information that can inform and provide the proper background for implementing a greatly improved wild horse management paradigm that would offer the government agencies and livestock producers an acceptable alternative to the current catastrophic failure in management paradigms (roundups & chemicals), that is quickly pushing the wild Ones into extinction.
These days, I am seen by the herd as a friend, and I am accepted to the point where I can walk among them, sharing breath with band stallions and lead mares, pulling-off ticks, and making very close observations of condition, parasites, injuries, and intimate behaviors and communication between family members and family groups.
Not long ago, I made and published a novel discovery about wild horses!
Wild horses are expert botanists.
Wild horses know what all the plants in their ecosystem are good for; in the case at hand, the herb Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium).
Pennyroyal has been used for time immemorial by the local Shasta Natives as an insect repellent.
And thanks to my ability to be in very close proximity to the wild Ones, I was able to smell the odor of Pennyroyal on the members of several family-band members, who had rolled in the herb to control pests and parasites.
This is just one example of many I could make about why period studies at distance and/or using telephoto lenses, or with wild horses already separated from wilderness and nature, provide less than optimal information into their behavioral ecology.
Naturally, I was amazed when I had observed first-hand that horses are keen botanists, and I believe this is a previously unknown, unpublished discovery.
American wild horses (and burros) are OUT OF TIME:
I am hoping that more wild horse advocates will now join me in bringing these important insights to a larger audience and help convince the large non-profits that there is a genuine long-term Natural solution for wild horse management, if they would merely move past their current myopic perspectives and empirically-proven failed management proposals.
I am an independent researcher, using my own retirement funds, so I will not be seeking any funding or donations, via your support. The wild Ones are depending on the humans who are listening to them, not the people who are blinded by money, ego and the limelight.
My only goal is to help the people on both sides of the wild horse management circles towards a more enlightened paradigm that fully considers the great importance of wild horses as keystone herbivores on the American public landscape.
“Failure Is Not An Option” ~ 1995 film, Apollo 13