Carol Walker, WHFF’s Dir. of Field Documentation, opposes elk hunting on open space

As always, we are very proud of Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF)

Source:  dailycamera.com

Carol Walker lives near Rabbit Mountain and does not approve of a proposal for limited elk hunting on the Boulder County open space. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)

Boulder County elk hunt on open space triggers some dissent

by Charlie Brennan

A Boulder County proposal to create a limited season for hunting elk at Rabbit Mountain Open Space is stirring the passions of people on both sides of the issue.

Carol Walker has lived within a mile of Boulder County’s Rabbit Mountain Open Space northeast of Lyons for the better part of two decades, on property where she cares for three formerly wild mustangs, which she adopted.

A photographer specializing in photographing wild horses across the Rocky Mountain West, she sees the elk as her neighbors, and is appalled at the idea that the counting would permit a limited hunting season as a program for managing a herd that wildlife officials see as having grown out of control.

“I think there absolutely should never be hunting on open space. It is just too dangerous,” Walker said. “I also worry about hunters wandering around over here, horses getting hurt, neighbors getting hurt. I’m worried about that. And out-of-state, out-of-town people who are just wandering around.”

The county’s draft proposal, which is endorsed by and would be implemented on about 5,000 acres in and around Rabbit Mountain in cooperation with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, first came to light in March and was the subject of an open house conducted April 6 at which more than 100 people showed up to learn about the plan — and made their feelings known.

A hearing on what the county labels a “public harvest program” is set before the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee on Thursday evening, at which public comment will be heard, and the committee will possibly make a recommendation on how to go forward. Those who wish to speak are asked to sign up in advance.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Wild Adobe Town Mares with Radio Collars Released in BLM and University of Wyoming Study

SOURCE:  Wildhoofbeats.com

“18 months is a long time to wear these old fashioned, bulky and dangerous collars.  And I hope that if any of these mares do run into trouble that the researchers at University of Wyoming are actually able to release the collars before the mares die.  I still very firmly believe that the best way to study wild horses is in the field, without capturing them and removing them from their families, without endangering their lives with these dangerous radio collars.”  –  Carol Walker

The line of vehicles

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

On Saturday morning, on a very cold day, I joined up with the BLM, researcher from University of Wyoming and a BLM ranger as we caravaned out to Adobe Town to release wild mares that had been fitted with radio collars on Thursday.  There were also some mares that had been being held for several weeks at the Rock Springs corrals, and I was very glad that they were finally being released.  As usual, I was the only member of the public attending.

Meryl jumps out of the trailer

Her friend is just as eager to get out

We turned off at Bitter Creek Road, and started down the road, which was in good condition until after we passed Eversole Ranch. Then, as we continued south more and more big drifts of snow covered the road.  The big truck towing the horse trailer in front was breaking through the drifts for the rest of us.  After about 10 miles, we stopped, and let out the first collared mare, a light grey color, I am calling her Meryl.  She jumped out and then her friend, a bay mare jumped out behind her.

Meryl turns to look at us

Meryl and her friend do not look concerned

Together

Even though she was being let go about 20 – 25 miles from where she had been captured, at least she had a friend with her, unlike most of the mares who had been released before, all alone.  They went a little way from the trailer, then turned around and looked at us, then casually strolling and exploring.  They did not seem alarmed.

We got back into our vehicles, then stopped after 2 miles.  After checking with the researcher, we got back in – despite the worsening road conditions he wanted us to go further away – they want these mares collars to be “spread out.”  We kept going another 2 miles until stopping at a big snow drift – the truck and trailer were stuck in a huge snow drift!  So they decided to let the remaining mares out here, just past Cow Camp, a collection of old derelict buildings.

A sorrel mare jumps out first

The mare with the radio collar and friend

Read the rest of this article HERE.

The BLM Continues Lack of Transparency in Adobe Town Wild Mare Radio Collar Study

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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Only 3 mares in the trailer?

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

On Sunday morning I waited at the parking lot next to the corrals at the Rock Springs BLM facility. It was 1 degree above zero, and I was bundled up accordingly. I am the only member of the public there, unaffiliated with the BLM or University of Wyoming. One trailer and two trucks drive in front of me, and I am waiting for the other trailer. There are only 3 mares in this trailer, I am assuming three of the four mares that had radio collars put on on Friday. But there were 5 other mares that I had been told by Kate Schoenecker of USGS had not been collared because they were too young. In the Environmental Assessment, it states clearly that they were only going to collar mares 5 years old and older. Young mares who are still growing can be strangled by the collars. But where were the 5 other mares? They flagged me to follow, and I pulled out of the facility. When we took a break I asked where the other mares were. I was told they were still at the Rock Springs facility and they were being “re-evaluated.” What does that mean? They are either too young for the study, under 5, or they are not. Are they being kept for some other purpose? Both the EA and the BLM’s own press release state that none of the horses from Adobe Town are to be removed – they are all supposed to go back to the Herd Management Area. So what is the BLM not telling us?

These mares need to be released back to the area where they were trapped IMMEDIATELY.

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Robin comes out of the trailer

We drove to Bitter Creek Road, which is about 30 minutes from Rock Springs, and we started down the road. After we got off of the paved portion of the road, conditions got worse, from occasional mud to water and ice flooded areas. It was a challenging drive. After we passed Eversole Ranch, about 10 miles later the trailer stopped and the first mare was released, a little bay I named Robin. She ran as fast as she could once she hit the ground, only turning back to look at us when she had gone what she thought was a safe distance. There were no other wild horses in sight, and I learned that all three of the mares had been trapped about 30 miles south of this area.

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Robin looks back at us

We got back in our cars and continued driving for about 8 miles before stopping again to let another mare out of the trailer, this time a little sorrel I named Felicity. She turned around immediately after jumping out, looking for her friend, the grey mare in the back of the trailer. I noticed a cut over her eye that looked swollen. Any time you transport wild horses there can be injuries. It did not look deep and it did not prevent her from running off when one of the contractors shooed her away. There were no other horses around her either.

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Felicity comes out of the trailer

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Felicity looks back at her friend in the trailer

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Felicity finally runs away

Read the rest of this story HERE, including this:

One thing that really puzzled me was that I saw piles of panels used for traps, all stacked on a semi. Neither team of contractors had a new trap set up. When I asked they told me some decision was being made at 7pm this evening, they did not tell me what. According to the BLM’s own web page on the bait trapping, they had trapped for only 5 days, starting Sunday February 5. They gathered by their own report 27 horses over the four days, and shipped 9 mares to the Rock Springs corrals. The information on the study in the EA said they would be trapping in 3-5 locations. Why then were they only trapping in two locations, and had not set up any traps after Thursday? In the EA, the BLM had written that if bait trapping “fails” they would go to a helicopter roundup. I hardly think that 5 days only is enough time to “fail.” it takes time to accustom wild horses to a trap and to let them get used to it and come in. That is what they are currently doing in Sand Wash Basin, where they have given far longer than 5 days to trap the horses.  This seems to me to be a setup to fail. If they are not continuing to bait trap then they are getting ready to bring the helicopters in. Wild horses are injured and killed when driven with helicopters. There is no justification for subjecting the wild horses of Adobe Town to a helicopter roundup when they are not even over the Appropriate Management Level for their area.

The BLM should continue to use bait trapping if they have to finish getting 16 more mares for this ill-conceived research study, or better yet, they need to go back to the drawing board and redesign the study so that the researchers use non-invasive, safe direct observation, not dangerous radio collars.

Link to Daily Gather Reports:

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/2017-Adobe-Town-Wild-Horse-Gather

Stunning Lack of Tranparancy in BLM’s and University of Wyoming’s Adobe Town Wild Horse Study

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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USGS holding radio collars, the one on the right is for the study

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

The BLM and the University of Wyoming are conducting a Radio Collar Study on wild mares in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area. I have done several blog posts about this study, calling for people to send in comments and calling for more clarification on how this study is going to be conducted. Some of my concerns are the the health and well being of the mares that will be captured by bait trapping, trailered to Rock Springs, put into squeeze chutes and have these collars put on. These collars will remain for 2 years. Then the mares will be transported back supposedly to where they were captured and released. This alone will be very traumatic for the mares and their families who will lose a family member.

But what happens when the mare gets her foot caught in the collar, or it grows into her neck because it is being put on when she is at her thinnest, and she will put on weight in the summer especially if she is pregnant? How will they be able to release the collar if she is in trouble?

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Moving the mares into the shed to put collars on

These were not popular questions at the Q and A that USGS conducted yesterday at the Rock Springs corrals. I was told that they “left room” in the collars for the mares to gain weight – wouldn’t that allow her to get it caught on something more easily? And yes there were studies of mares being injured and dying in the field due to radio collars but supposedly this design was much improved. They do have a tag they can put into the mane instead but these will fall off too soon. I did ask about using direct observation as a way of gathering data but that was deemed impossible, even though it is much less intrusive. The researchers would rather track the mares on their computers rather than on the ground, in the field. I also asked weren’t they concerned about the mares being released all alone, not with their families? There was no answer to that.

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The geldings in the front corral know something is going on

Before I even went to Rock Springs I had been very concerned about the lack of observation of the whole process that the BLM was allowing. Public observation helps to prevent abuse of the horses, and I am a firm believer in this.  A week ago American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign asked attorney Nick Lawton of Meyer, Glizenstein& Eubanks to write a letter asking for the opportunity to observe the bait trapping and the collaring as well as the release of the mares, as well as giving sufficient notice of at least 2 days so I could get out there. The BLM did not change its stance on the bait trapping and the collaring or the notice but did say that “the mares will be held at the facility for 24 hours after they are radio collared, and the public will be able to observe the mares from the overlook during this time period.”

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Mares that were not collared

This did NOT happen. The mares after they were collared were being kept in a pen that was completely not visible from the overlook and when I asked it if could see the mares I was told no, that they have to be be kept quiet. Somehow all the torment that these mares went through was totally acceptable but having members of the public view them, even at a distance, was too hard on them.

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Where the collaring was done

I could see the heads of the mares that did not have collars on, and occasionally their bodies, using my long lens. Apparently they captured 9 mares who they brought to the facility, but 5 were too young. Even I could see one of the mares looked like a yearling or at the most a two year old filly – how on earth could the people trapping the horses not be able to tell the difference between very young and mature mares? And why put these poor young mares though the stress of taking them away from their families, hauling them to the facility then hauling them back, for nothing? If they had allowed me to observe the bait trapping I could have told them these mares were too young because I have spent 13 years observing these wild horses in Adobe Town.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HEREYou’ll want to find out more about this…

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Tracking device to track collars on the ground

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/blog/stunning-lack-of-tranparancy-in-blms-and-university-of-wyomings-adobe-town-wild-horse-study

Carol Walker on the BLM’s dangerous Radio Collar Study on Adobe Town wild horses, on Wild Horse & Burro Radio (Wed., 2/8/17)

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Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_LogoJoin us on Wild Horse Wednesdays®, Feb. 8, 2017

6:00 pm PST … 7:00 pm MST … 8:00 pm CST … 9:00 pm EST

Listen to the archived show (HERE!)

You can also listen to the show on your phone by calling (917) 388-4520.

You can call in with questions during the 2nd half hour, by dialing (917) 388-4520, then pressing 1.

This show will be archived so you can listen to it anytime.

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Wild family in Adobe Town, mare in front (photo: Carol Walker)

Our guest tonight will be Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation.  The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proceeding with a Radio Collar Study of wild mares in the Adobe Town Herd Management despite overwhelming public comment against it and an IBLA Appeal that was filed.  The BLM plans to use bait trapping to capture 30 wild mares in 3-5 different areas within the HMA to track movement.  Huge concerns have been raised about the welfare and safety of the mares because Radio collars are dangerous and can cause injury and death.  Carol Walker has spent 13 years observing and photographing wild horses in Adobe Town.

This show is hosted by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation.

To contact us: ppj1@hush.com, or call 320-281-0585

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/marti-oakley/2017/02/09/carol-walker-on-blms-dangerous-radio-collar-study-on-adobe-town-wild-horses

TO LISTEN TO ALL ARCHIVED WILD HORSE & BURRO RADIO SHOWS, CLICK HERE.

1/20/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on BLM’s plans to sterilize wild horse and burros. Listen HERE.

1/27/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, on threats to shoot wild burros in Arizona. Listen HERE.

2/8/16 – Representatives of 4 major wild horse & burro advocacy groups and advocates speak out against BLM’s plans for barbaric sterilization experiments on wild mares. Listen HERE.

2/10/16 – Jonathan Ratner, Western Watersheds Project’s Director for Wyoming, Utah and Colorado, talks about the environmental toll of privately owned livestock grazing on public lands. Listen HERE.

2/24/16 – Kirsten Stade, Advocacy Director for Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), on BLM’s skewed data minimizing the effects of livestock grazing on public lands. Listen HERE.

3/2/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League, joined by local wild burro advocates fighting to save the wild burros of the Black Mountain Herd Management Area in Arizona. Listen HERE.

3/23/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation interviews Susan W. Watt, Executive Director, Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary, located in South Dakota. Listen HERE.

5/4/16 – Gail A. Eisnitz, author of the book “Slaughterhouse” and Chief Investigator for the Humane Farming Association (HFA). Listen HERE.

6/22/16 – Charlotte Roe, Founder of Wild Equid League of Colorado, on BLM’s cruel experiments on wild horses and burros, including sterilization of pregnant wild mares, that are a launching pad for widespread use as “population suppression.” Listen HERE.

8/3/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League with guests. Listen HERE.

8/10/16 – Gene Baur, Pres. & Co-Founder of Farm Sanctuary, on factory farming and the Farm Sanctuary. Listen HERE.

8/17/16 – Advocates Carla Bowers and Bonnie Kohleriter on why 83% of wild horse and burro herds are on the brink of collapse. Listen HERE.

8/31/16 – Steve Hindi (President and Founder) and Janet Enoch (Investigator) of SHowing Animals Respect & Kindness (SHARK) on rodeo cruelty and more. You can see all of SHARK’s rodeo exposés on YouTube by clicking here. Listen HERE.

9/7/16 – Carol Walker, Dir. of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation , on BLM plans to remove all wild horses from three of the largest remaining herds in Wyoming. Listen HERE.

9/14/16 – Susan Wagner, Pres. & Founder of Equine Advocates, on how the upcoming Presidential election can affect the fate of wild and domestic equines and horse slaughter. PLEASE SIGN EQUINE ADVOCATES’ PETITION HERE. Listen HERE.

9/21/16 – Mae Lee Sun, co-author of “Brumby: A celebration of Australia’s wild horses” and Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist and the author of the book “The Wild Horse Conspiracy” on the culling of the brumbies (wild horses) of the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. Listen HERE.

9/28/16 – Laird Lucas (Executive Director) and Talasi Brooks (Staff Attorney) of Advocates for the West, a public interest, nonprofit environmental law firm with an 85% record of legal success protecting the wildlife and wild places of the American West. Listen HERE.

10/5/16 – Marjorie Farabee, Dir. of Wild Burro Affairs for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Equine Mgr. of Todd Mission Ranch (TMR Rescue) & founder of Wild Burro Protection League reports on the 2016 Donkey Welfare Symposium. Listen HERE.

10/12/16 – Nancy Watson, President of SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition, has been raising worldwide awareness to the loopholes in U.S. legislation that allows U.S. equines (horses, donkeys, mules and burros) which are laden with pharmaceuticals, into the global food supply. Listen HERE.

10/26/16 – Hilary Wood, Pres. and Founder of Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) and Bruce Wagman, a partner with Schiff Hardin law firm in San Francisco, talk about the BLM, horse slaughter and more. Listen HERE.

11/2/16 – Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist and author of the book “The Wild Horse Conspiracy.” Listen HERE.

11/16/16 – Elaine Nash, Founder and Director of Fleet of Angels, a grassroots movement of horse lovers who own trailers and help transport equines to safety when their lives are in danger, on recent rescue efforts. Listen HERE.

11/30/16 – Keith Nakatani, California Oil & Gas Program Manager, and Matt Davis, California Communications Director, of Clean Water Action, on fracking wastewater being used to irrigate crops, and aquifer exemptions that allow certain oil and gas and mining activity to occur in groundwater that would otherwise be protected as a drinking water source. Listen HERE.

12/7/16 – Nick Jans, author of “A Wolf Called Romeo.” Listen HERE.

12/14/16 – Amy Hanchey, Pres. of Pegasus Equine Guardian Association, that is striving to protect the wild horses on the main post at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Listen HERE.

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The Adobe Appys: How Did the Fillies Get Their Spots?

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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Sundance and his Family

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

Last week I drove to the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. My last trip to see the Adobe Appys was in September, and I was very excited to see them in the new snow that had fallen the day before.

I found it hard to believe that it has been almost 2 years since the 10 horses in three families had been rounded up, sent to a holding facility, then were reunited here at the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary. Of course there were now 13, with three fillies born here at the Sanctuary.

Sundance and his family were the first I saw. Their pasture was blanketed in white, and they were easy to spot as I drove in late Wednesday afternoon, as most of them were in the lower part of the pasture, with very few other horses around.

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Sundance and Aurora, Storm is behind him

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Sundance and Storm

When I got out to see them the next morning, the first thing I noticed was that Snowfall was hanging around Diamond Girl and their filly Zarina. As the filly and her mother started toward me, I thought Zarina had snow on her face, but as she came closer I realized it was spots! The filly did not seem to mind as I burst into laughter, delighted with her new spots. She came very close, checking me out, and even had to taste my jacket.

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Snowfall, Diamond Girl, and their Filly Zarina

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She has spots!

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She came very close

READ THE REST OF THIS STORY HERE.

Equine Advocates and Animal Welfare Groups Challenge Adobe Town Wild Mare Experimentation by BLM and Wyoming State University

Press Release

“if the BLM had any concern at all for the safety and well-being of the wild horses under its care they would not use dangerous radio collars…”

Rawlins, WY – On December 8, Appellants Wild Horse Observers Association (WHOA) and Citizens Against Equine Slaughter (CAES) filed an Appeal and Stay Order with the Interior Department’s Board of Land Appeal (IBLA) to stop the BLM from collaring Adobe Town wild mares and using helicopters inappropriately in an unnecessary, unsafe and wasteful experiment. The BLM in partnership with Wyoming State University (UWY) plans to capture and fit some 30 mares with radio collars to see if they will move into the void created by the 2016 Checkerboard roundup.

16CarolWalker002Carol Walker, WHOA member, noted that the 2016 Checkerboard roundup never took place due to a recent 10th District Court decision that the Wyoming roundup was in violation of the law. She added that: “if the BLM had any concern at all for the safety and well-being of the wild horses under its care they would not use dangerous radio collars and insist on either bait trapping or rounding up the wild mares with helicopters in the coldest part of winter, but would instead hire Interns to observe and document the movement of the wild horses in Adobe Town.”

Former BLM manager Lloyd Eisenhauer of Cheyenne, WY, another WHOA member, stated that “harassing the Adobe Town horses and upsetting their natural behavior for no valid scientific reason is not research, it is abuse.“ The plaintiffs point out that the BLM’s decision to proceed is not supported either by the evidence, by the record, or by a consideration of alternatives; it is simply a case of “this is what we want to do and we’re going to do it anyway.”

Organizations endorsing this Administrative Appeal and Petition of Stay include: In Defense of Animals, Mobilization for Animals, Pity Not Cruelty, Wild Equid League of Colorado, Wild Horse Freedom Federation, and Union for the Preservation of Wildlife.

This is the second time CAES and WHOA have worked together on an IBLA appeal, winning the first to stop cruel experiments to sterilize wild mares. Notably, other organizations such as environmental and animal welfare groups have also joined in supporting these legal actions to protect the horses! We will continue working to improve and preserve life for American wild and domestic horses.

Media Contact:
Theresa J Barbour
Citizens Against Equine Slaughter
Attorney pro se
541.315.6650

Call to Action: Please Comment to Stop the Dangerous and Cruel Adobe Town Wild Mare Radio Collar Study

by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Published on WildHoofBeats

“This herd is not even above AML by the BLM’s own count, only 648 adult horses in the flyover count in April 2016”

Adobe Town mare and foal - by Carol Walker

Adobe Town mare and foal – by Carol Walker

The BLM is planning to roundup wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area in 5 separate locations in order to put radio collars on 30-40 wild mares. The study will begin in December 2016 and end in 2020.

All the documents are here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage&currentPageId=80504

This study, which will be conducted by the University of Wyoming’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management  has the following purpose:

“The Proposed Action is to implement a five (5) year research study (Appendix 1) that would document habitat selection, movement between habitats, seasonal use, and migration patterns of wild horses, within and outside of the ATHMA. The research objective is to understand how horses move across the Colorado-Wyoming border, how the removal of horses from the checkerboard portion of the HMA influences the movement of mares from non-checkerboard portions of ATHMA (i.e. creation of a void), how horses select landscape resources relative to their proportional availability, and how site fidelity of horses is influenced by season.”

Originally they were considering using bait trapping to capture the mares which would have much less chance of injuring or killing the horses than a helicopter roundup. They do not even discuss it as an option in the EA despite the response to the public’ comments to the Scoping Document which requested them to use this much less stressful and harmful method. Bait trapping also allows the family bands to be kept together, intact, much more easily.

The BLM dismisses very easily any impact on the wild horses that are rounded up using helicopters. Many will be injured and die, most will lose their families, foals will be separated from their mothers, and they will most likely be disrupted in a very substantial way from their normal areas and routines which DOES impact the outcomes of the study. Helicopter roundups use fear to drive the wild horses which is inhumane and also leads to extreme fear of helicopters.

This herd is not even above AML by the BLM’s own count, only 648 adult horses in the flyover count in April 2016.

My second biggest problem with this study is the use of radio collars which in past studies have led to injury and death when horses become entangled with brush or on fences or get a hoof caught. They say that they have remotely detonated release mechanisms on the collars so they can release the collar if the collar stops moving – but there are a tremendous number of questions that are unanswered:

  1. Why are they not using breakaway collars that break if the horses re in trouble, which have been used successfully before?
  2. How close to the collar does the person have to be to trigger the remote release mechanism?
  3. Does it work from say 70 miles away at the Rawlins BLM office or does the person have to be within view?
  4. What happens in winter when it is impossible to drive into the area?
  5. If they cannot drive into the area do they have the funds to charter a helicopter to fly over so they can detonate the remote release? If so, have they considered the stress upon the horses when a helicopter gets near them?
  6. Will it work when the temperatures get below -10 Fahrenheit? I was at a “gather” in Adobe Town in December 2013 when they released 40 wild mares and it was -19 degrees before I got to the highway.
  7. Does it hurt the horse when the release remotely “detonates?”
  8. What if the remote release fails? How can they help the mare that is in trouble?
  9. How often are they monitoring the collars to see if one has stopped moving? What about weekends?
  10. What about the reactions of the mare’s family members to this strange device now around her neck? What if she is rejected by the other horses because of it?

(They cite testing the collars at a short term holding facility, Palomino Valley. This is a completely different situation than the horses will face in the wild. Horses are not in families in holding facilities and there are not brush and fencing to get hung up on).

  1. Why can’t they use a small GPS under the skin? This would be so much safer and less intrusive for the mares. These “collars” are very old and low tech.

For all of these unanswered questions and because wild horses have been injured and died because of radio collars in previous studies: https://www.nap.edu/read/18466/chapter/5  I again suggest that they do NOT use radio collars but instead use Interns to follow, track, observe and photograph horses from specific areas.

This would remove the need for a helicopter roundup, which would provide far less stress and injury on the horses, and if would also provide more accurate data from people on the ground. Ten horses in Adobe Town are very colorful, and easily distinguished, so it would not be impossible to follow specific horses. It does not matter than some horses are less easy to find and see because if they have a few horses from each area, it does not matter which horses are less easily observed. If you round them up by helicopter this will be a complete disruption to the horses’ families and movement patterns. If you observe them without rounding them up you will obtain much more accurate data on where the horses are and move to.

My final argument is that this study is in no way, shape or form in the best interests of the horses. The researchers are seeking to prove that wild horses will “move into a void” created by rounding up and removing horses from the Checkerboard, so they can “prove” that it impossible to remove horses from the Checkerboard and keep them out. They are also hoping to “prove” that wild horses degrade riparian areas. There is no attempt to account for livestock grazing. They do not care about wild horse behavior or band fidelity, or they would use human observers. This cruel and dangerous study which is slanted toward proving that wild horses have no place on the HMAs in the Checkerboard should not be allowed to move forward. Since BLM has now formally withdrawn the 2016 Checkerboard Removal Decision Record – which was not the case at the time it issued the Draft EA – BLM should not move forward with the radio collar research because a major underlying premise (that 500+ wild horses would be removed from the Checkerboard before the radio collar research began) has now been eliminated.  In other words, the entire purpose behind this roundup was to see how horses move in response to a Checkerboard roundup; since there will be no Checkerboard roundup, there is no legal basis for the radio collar research as currently described in the Draft EA.

Please select alternative 2.2 No Action

This study is poorly conceived and planned and does NOT take the well being and humane treatment of the wild horses involved into proper consideration. This is not managing wild horses in the least invasive way possible, as they are mandated by the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. They should spend the next few months revising the study and if then they do decide to move forward they should use another capture method, which is bait trapping which they said they would discuss in the EA but failed to do. It is far more humane and will result in many less injuries and deaths. They should come up with a new EA including Bait Trapping or no rounding up at all but using direct observation as alternatives. And they should use a newer, safer  technology if they do wish to proceed with tracking the horses and eliminate the proposed use of radio collars.

The earliest they could start this roundup is December. They should not do it in December – it can get very cold, the horses are at greater risk of colic and injury when run in extremely cold temperatures. They should wait until next year in late summer or fall and address the questions that I have listed about the study and issue a new EA.

Please send your comments to the BLM here by November 1, 2016 at 4pm Mountain Time:

Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
Bureau of Land Management
Wyoming High Desert District
Rawlins Field Office
1300 North Third Street
P.O. Box 2407
Rawlins, Wyoming 82301
Fax: (307) 324-4224

Electronic comments must be sent to the following email address to be considered:

blm _ wy _ adobetown _ hma@blm.gov

(Please include “Adobe Town EA Comment” in the subject line.)

From the BLM: Public comments are most helpful if they are specific. The regulations (40 CFR 1503.3), state that comments on a proposed action ‘ shall be as specific as possible and may address either the adequacy of the statement or the merits of the alternatives discussed or both.” The most valuable comments are those that cite specific actions or impacts in the document and offer informed analysis of what is presented.

Also, pleased do send personalized comments in your own words. The BLM will count all of the form letter comments as one, which is not helpful for the horses.

Another Big Landmark Win for Wyoming’s Wild Horses! Checkerboard Ruling Overturned by Federal Appeals Court

Source: Carol Walker as published on WildHoofBeats

Landmark Appellate Court Decision Stops BLM Wyoming Wild Horse Wipeout

Ruling Blocks Agency from Treating Over 1 Million Acres of Public Lands as Private Lands in Pursuit of Wild Horse Roundups

Denver, CO (October 14, 2016) . . . The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit today issued a landmark decision that stops the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from wiping out wild horses from over one million acres of public land in the Wyoming Checkerboard. The ruling holds that BLM violated two federal laws in its conduct of a 2014 wild horse roundup that removed over 1,263 wild horses from the area, and means that the agency’s plan to round up 500 more horses from the Checkerboard beginning on October 18 is also illegal. Plaintiffs American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, photographers Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, and Kimerlee Curyl and their attorney, Bill Eubanks of Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks, are hailing the decision and its precedential implications for wild horse management throughout the western United States.

“This ruling throws a wrench into the backroom deal between the BLM and livestock grazing interests to eliminate federally protected wild horses from over one million acres of public land in Wyoming,” Eubanks said. “With this landmark decision, the Tenth Circuit has permanently stopped the BLM from treating public lands as private and eliminating wild horses from public lands based on a request from private landowners. This sets a major legal precedent across the West and protects wild horses from ranchers who want to eliminate these iconic animals from our public lands in order to put even more domestic cattle and sheep on these public lands to the detriment of the ecosystem.”

In its ruling issued today, the Tenth Circuit held that “the BLM violated both the [Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros] Act and FLPMA [Federal Land Policy Management Act] in carrying out the 2014 removal of wild horses from the Checkerboard.” The appellate court reversed the 2015 lower court ruling upholding BLM’s actions in the 2014 Checkerboard wild horse roundup.

Today’s decision is a closing chapter in an ongoing legal battle over the BLM’s plan to eradicate wild horses from a two million acre area of public and private land at the request of the Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA). The RSGA owns or leases the private land blocks in the Checkerboard and views wild horses as competition for taxpayer subsidized livestock grazing on the public lands in the area.

Last week, the plaintiffs filed another lawsuit to block the agency from proceeding with the next Checkerboard roundup, set to begin on October 18.

This is the third major legal victory for the groups in just over a month. Earlier this week,the Tenth Circuit threw out a lawsuit by the State of Wyoming to compel the BLM to remove hundreds of wild horses from non-checkerboard public lands in that state. In a precedential ruling, the Tenth Circuit held that the BLM is not required to remove wild horses from public lands just because their populations exceed outdated population limits.

Major Victory for Wild Horses – Federal Appeals Court Denies Wyoming’s Appeal Against Wild Horses

Source: Carol Walker as published on WildHoofBeats.com

“This is a major precedential victory that will have important implications for federal wild horse policy for decades to come,”

For Immediate Release

View online here.

Major Victory for Wild Horses: Federal Appeals Court Tosses State of Wyoming’s Anti-Mustang Lawsuit

PRECEDENTIAL DECISION HAS IMPLICATIONS ACROSS THE WEST

DENVER, CO (October 11, 2016) . . . Today, the U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands across the state. The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC), The Cloud Foundation, Return to Freedom, Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation and wild horse photographer Kimerlee Curyl were granted the right to intervene in the case and filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit against the BLM.

At issue in the case, first filed in 2014, were wild horses in the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek, Stewart Creek, Fifteenmile and Little Colorado Herd Management Areas (HMAs) in Wyoming.

The Tenth Circuit held, “We reject the State’s arguments… the [Wild Horse] Act does not define the phrase “appropriate management level” and thus does not equate it with any requirement to remove excess animals from a particular HMA… the BLM is under no statutory duty to remove animals from the seven HMAs at issue.”

“This is a major precedential victory that will have important implications for federal wild horse policy for decades to come,” said Bill Eubanks of the public interest law firm Meyer, Glitzenstein and Eubanks, which represented the intervenors in this case.

“The appellate court has clearly affirmed two important issues – first that wild horse populations in excess of the BLM’s arbitrarily established ‘appropriate’ management levels do not equate with overpopulation, and second that the BLM is not required to remove wild horses from the range even if it determines an overpopulation exists,” Eubanks continued. “Rather the agency has broad discretion to implement other management approaches, including implementation of fertility control to humanely reduce population growth rates and reduction in livestock grazing within HMAs.”

Eubanks said that this precedential decision will impact similar pending cases at the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and in U.S. District Court in Utah, and should serve as a deterrent to other states, including Nevada, considering litigation to compel the federal government to round up and remove thousands of wild horses from Western public lands.

The State of Wyoming lawsuit sought the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands in Wyoming, a state in where just 6,500 wild horses remain on 3.2 million acres of BLM-managed land. By contrast, hundreds of thousands of domestic cattle and sheep graze 18 million acres of BLM land in the state. Put another way, wild horses are present in Wyoming on just 2 percent of the BLM land grazed by livestock.

Eubanks is also representing the groups on separate litigation involving the BLM’s decision to wipe out wild horses from the Wyoming Checkerboard, a two million acre area of public and private land in the southern part of the state. The groups are awaiting a Tenth Circuit decision on a 2014 lawsuit and have filed new litigation challenging the BLM’s plan to conduct another Wyoming Checkerboard roundup, beginning as early as October 18.