“Hay is used as bait to lure the horses into temporary corrals…”
“The few remaining wild horses in Colorado just can’t catch a break. For years we fought via lawsuits to stop the assault and efforts of the BLM to zero out the few horses in the area (in favor of cattle and extraction interests). But even after they managed to decimate the herd and break apart the families of wild horses, last year, they still launch propaganda and a mush-mash of bogus numbers and misstatements to ramp up ire towards the equines while they contradict themselves through-out this mainstream media mouthpiece. It is all truly unbelievable…if we, as advocates, pushed forward such tripe and BS we would be flogged and assailed by the powers that manipulate the press to the point that we would never be relevant again.
False News at it’s finest, or should we say lowest?” ~ R.T.
Wild horse herd reduced a year ago is already growing again
A year after the Bureau of Land Management removed 167 horses from the lands around Texas Mountain west of Colorado Highway 139, the herd has grown, possibly to as many as 212 horses.
The agency conducted a horse gather in September 2015 for the 167 horses, an effort that left about 200 horses in the 128,000-acre West Douglas Herd Area, which is not managed for horses.
BLM officials conducted a count five months later using a helicopter and made a direct count of 177 individual horses.
Factoring in reproduction brings the estimate to 212 horses on land that the BLM deems suitable for a maximum of 30 horses.
“If anything it’s probably an underestimate,” BLM spokesman David Boyd said. “In country like West Douglas, you probably don’t see them all.”
In theory, there ought not be any horses in the rugged West Douglas area for the lack of summer range in the rough-and-tumble territory, but the lack of predators for wild horses leaves man to deal with their populations.
The natural predators of horses — dire wolves, short-faced bears, American lions — all died out in the Eocene Epoch, which ended 39 million years ago, along with the horses of that time. Once horses were reintroduced to North America, there were no predators to control their populations.
“What’s controlled these wild horse populations has been people all along,” Boyd said. Wild horses “are not part of this natural ecosystem.”
No more gathers are scheduled in the West Douglas areas, but the BLM hopes eventually to gather all the wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area, along with an estimated 100 outside any territory associated with wild horses, and place them in the 161,300-acre Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area.
“We want to bring the population inside the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area to within the population range of 135 to 235,” Boyd said.
Piceance-East Douglas is now estimated to have 458 wild horses.
West Douglas and Piceance East Douglas are separated by Colorado Highway 139, and more significantly, miles of fencing along the roadway. Wild horses won’t jump fences, which means the horses won’t leave West Douglas without human help.
To keep the existing herd on the Piceance-East Douglas area, the BLM plans to reconstruct nearly a mile of four-strand barbed wire near Duck Creek to keep the herd inside and to redevelop a spring on the north side of the management area to provide a reliable source of water in wet and dry years.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking public comment on two projects the agency believes would benefit wild horses in the Piceance-East Douglas herd management area (HMA) in Rio Blanco County, Colorado.
The BLM plans to reconstruct nearly a mile of four-strand barbed-wire fencing near Duck Creek as part of a larger effort to ensure the 137-mile perimeter of the HMA is adequately fenced to reduce conflicts resulting from wild horses leaving the HMA.
Additionally, the agency said redeveloping Corcoran Spring could help ensure the spring provides a reliable source of water in both wet and dry years as well as help protect the spring source.
The preliminary environmental assessment of these two projects is now available for public review at bit.ly/2eQ7chG or at the White River Field Office, located at 220 East Market Street in Meeker, Colorado.
Comments can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and will be most helpful if received by Dec. 15, the BLM said.
For more information, contact range technician Melissa Kindall at 970/878-3842.
“…you can’t manage them (wild horses) if they are not there on the land…”
A group advocating for wild horse populations has filed an appeal to prevent the federal government from removing mustangs from the West Douglas herd area in northwest Colorado.
The Bureau of Land Management plans to move the herd, which numbers about 200 horses, to the Piceance-East Douglas herd management area, separated from West Douglas by state Highway 64 and fencing.
The BLM has no desire to eradicate horses from the West Douglas area in Rio Blanco County, said agency spokesman Steven Hall. “We want them near good forage, good water, and where we can manage them in balance with the other natural resources in the area,” he said.
The Piceance-East Douglas area has more abundant water on the federally protected land than is available in the West Douglas area, he said.
The appeal, announced Thursday by the nonprofit Front Range Equine Rescue, says the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 protects the horses from unwarranted elimination from the rangeland on which they live.
“The Act requires the preservation and management and protection, and you can’t manage them if they are not there on the land, some number of them at least,” said Bruce Wagman, a lawyer handling the appeal.
The appeal is the latest volley in an ongoing battle between the agency and advocates for the animals, who dispute the BLM’s assertions of overpopulation.
In its appeal, the equine rescue group requests that the Interior Board of Land Appeals “prohibit BLM from continuing its unlawful practice of eliminating all wild horses in the West Douglas Herd Area from protected public lands.”
“This roundup showcased the inhumanity of helicopter roundups.”
As the U.S. Bureau of Land Management sees it, last month’s removal of 167 wild horses from a rugged, remote area in Rio Blanco County was a success, easing the strain on damaged range lands and substantially reducing a herd that had become too large to be sustainable.
“We like to think of Colorado as being more in tune with humane treatment of animals,” says Ginger Kathrens, executive director of The Cloud Foundation, a Colorado Springs-based advocacy group. “This roundup showcased the inhumanity of helicopter roundups.”
The roundup, which took place south of Rangely over the course of a week, came after federal courts rejected a series of legal challenges by The Cloud Foundation and Wild Horse Freedom Federation. The BLM contractor employed to remove the horses, Utah-based Sun J Livestock, has drawn complaints over the use of electric prods, buzzing helicopters too close to exhausted horses and other alleged abuses, prompting numerous observers from animal rights groups to follow the latest procedure closely.
One member of the West Douglas herd died as it was being moved into a trailer for transport, after being trampled by another horse and getting its neck broken. But many observers were more outraged by the other death — a foal that Kathrens says was chased for an hour before it was roped. A report prepared by the BLM claims that a Sun J employee “successfully and gently roped the colt” — but the animal then bolted and fractured its right front leg. Yet video taken by observers indicates that the colt was already injured before it was roped, and a BLM spokesman confirms that version of events. The colt was subsequently euthanized.
The BLM has prepared numerous plans over the years to “zero out” the West Douglas herd, claiming that its removal is necessary “to establish, maintain and preserve a thriving ecological balance” in accordance with the 1971 law directing the agency to manage America’s wild horses. But critics of those plans have vigorously disputed the BLM’s assertions about overpopulation, starving horses and environmental damage, while lawmakers have questioned the cost of removal. Since the number of horses captured far exceeds the demands for adoption, there are now nearly as many horses in government-financed holding pens and leased pastures as there are in the wild. (Targeting 167 horses for removal from West Douglas reportedly matches the number of horses that the Department of Corrections was willing to accept.)
Activist groups maintain that ranchers, who also use BLM land for livestock, and energy interests are behind the push to remove more horses. “The reason these horses were removed is because the livestock permitees didn’t want any competition in there,” Kathrens says. “It’s the classic stuff that goes on all over the West. The permittees pay almost nothing to use the land. They trash it and then they blame the horses for range degradation.”
The BLM estimates that up to 200 horses still remain in the West Douglas Herd Area, which the agency believes can support only about thirty horses at best. Kathrens disputes those figures, saying they’re based on wildly inflated reproduction estimates. “There may be a few remaining, but I think they cleared almost everything out of there,” she says. “It already has been zeroed out.”
If the West Douglas herd is all but gone, that leaves four smaller, managed herds in western Colorado: one near Craig, another outside Grand Junction, one in southwest Colorado, and the Piceance-East Douglas herd, separated from West Douglas by fencing along a county road. BLM claims 377 horses in the East Douglas bunch, but Kathrens is skeptical of that figure — and the future of the iconic mustang in the state, given the fate of the West Douglas horses.
“I just don’t know how they can justify what they did,” she says. “People are really upset. This was unnecessary and regrettable.”
A controversial horse roundup conducted by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) ended Wednesday after 167 horses were removed from Colorado’s West Douglas Herd Area.
The BLM used helicopters and bait traps to capture the horses. Two were killed during the roundup. A stallion fell while being loaded onto a trailer and another horse stepped on his neck. Also, a young foal broke its leg after being roped while trying to run away. He was eventually captured and then euthanized.
A lawsuit was filed in an attempt to stop the roundup but the federal judge allowed the BLM to move forward with their plans.
The lawsuit was brought by The Cloud Foundation (TCF), Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF), The Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition (CWHBC), Dr. Don Moore and Toni Moore of Fruita, CO., and Barb Flores of Greeley, CO, to protect this herd and the neighboring Piceance East Douglas herd. “Sadly,” states Toni Moore, “the courts did not view the loss of an entire herd of wild horses as ‘irreparable harm.’ “
“Wiping out the West Douglas herd erases a whole distinct set of genetics, separate from nearby East Douglas horses,” states Linda Hanick, TCF Board member who testified in the Sept. 11 hearing on the case. “The roundup disregards the importance of the historic recorded documentation of these horses since Sept 1776. This roundup closes the door on an important piece of Colorado’s wild horse history.”
“We’re very disappointed of course,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of TCF. “Wild horse families that have shared a history with this rugged Colorado landscape for hundreds of years will be swept away, while the real public land destroyers, the thousands of head of welfare livestock remain. It is terribly unfair, but we continue to fight for those wild herds that remain!”
“Sadly, we did not prevail in stopping the BLM from proceeding to zero out the West Douglas Herd,” states Carol Walker, Director of Field Operations for WHFF. “We continue to fight the mismanagement and decimation of our wild horse herds. Our voices count, and are the only hope they have.”
R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation responded: “For years the American public has attempted to keep these herds free on their rightful range and with a stroke of a pen their freedom, families and lives have been shattered. Once again American taxpayers have been betrayed by big government, big agriculture and big business; it is shameful.”
“I feel a deep sadness for any wild species on the brink of disaster,” concludes Kathrens. “These lovely wild horse families have no idea that the end of their wild lives is coming. They are simply the innocent victims of greed and power.”
Apparently, in spite of a horrific death when a horse broke it’s neck while being loaded into a trailer by BLM contractor Sun J, BLM spokesman David Boyd tried to spin the “news” to say the roundup was “going well.” It seems that the lives of wild horses mean nothing to the BLM.
133 Horses Gathered In Northwest Colorado Roundup
RANGELY, Colo. (AP) – More than 100 horses have been gathered as part of a roundup in northwest Colorado’s West Douglas Herd Area.
The Bureau of Land Management says as of Sunday, 133 horses have been gathered since the roundup began on Wednesday.
The BLM also reported the first death of the operation. A horse being loaded onto a trailer to holding corrals fell and was stepped on by another horse on Sunday, breaking its neck. The BLM estimates the sorrel stud was between 10 and 12 years old.
A federal judge allowed the roundup to start following a legal challenge from horse advocates, calling potential harm from the roundup “minimal.”
The agency is working with a contractor to collect 167 horses.
Sadly, we did not prevail in stopping the BLM from proceeding to zero out the West Douglas Herd. We continue to fight the mismanagement and decimation of our wild horse herds. Our voices count, and are the only hope they have. – Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for the Wild Horse Freedom Federation
SOURCE: The Daily Sentinel
BLM gathers 23 wild horses at roundup
Twenty-three wild horses were brought in during the first day of a gather on Wednesday, hours after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., rejected the notion that the federal government intended to “zero out” the West Douglas herd.
U.S. District Judge Christopher Cooper ruled that the public interest was better served by allowing the Bureau of Land Management to manage “wild free-roaming horses” over preventing potential harm from the gather, which the judge said would be “minimal.”
The BLM started the gather at 6:30 a.m., using bait and water to attract horses in the West Douglas area, as well as driving horses toward corrals using a helicopter.
“All of them looked healthy and there were no incidents coming into the trap,” BLM spokesman Christopher Joyner said Wednesday. “The contractor did a good job of ensuring the horses weren’t stressed.”
The agency will conduct the gather until it collects 167 horses — the number of spaces available in long-term holding facilities run by the BLM.
Cooper ruled that the BLM’s designation of all horses in the West Douglas Herd area as “excess” didn’t mean that the agency intended to remove all horses from the 123,000-acre area.
Excess animals are those that must be removed to preserve “a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands,” Cooper wrote.
The injunction was sought by The Cloud Foundation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation, The Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition, Don and Toni Moore of Fruita, and Barb Flores of Greeley. Don Moore is a veterinarian.
Several opponents of the gather — many of them from Arizona, which has a band of horses in Salt Wash — called reporters on Wednesday to question the gather, or roundup, of animals that played a significant role in U.S. history.
The plaintiffs filed suit on Sept. 4 and filed for an injunction on Sept. 6. Cooper presided over a hearing on Sept. 11 in which Flores and an official with The Cloud Foundation and Kent Walter, manager of the BLM’s White River Field Office, testified.
“This case has proceeded at a gallop,” Cooper wrote in his decision, in which he also cited a lyric from the Rolling Stones 1971 song, “Wild Horses.”
“(They) have (their) freedom, but (they) don’t have much time,” Cooper wrote, “So it is for a group of wild horses that, beginning tomorrow, are scheduled to be removed from two tracts of federal rangeland in northwest Colorado.”
You can call the roundup hotline at 970-878-3818 for information about daily public viewing “opportunities.” (like this is a big gift to you)
To find out about the daily number of wild horses removed, injuries and deaths, you can look here.
SHAME ON THE BLM.