Idaho’s Caribou Teach a Harsh Lesson

By as published on The Denver Post

“Thanks to the unfathomable blood-lust of the BLM our native Wild Horses and Burros could be the next to disappear forever.” ~ R.T.

To steal a line from the poet T.S. Eliot: This is the way the world ends / Not with a bang but a whimper. Worse yet, extinction comes without even a whimper, only a click and a yawn.

The end of the line seems imminent for the last caribou of the Lower 48. Woodland caribou once roamed the forested northern tier from Maine to Michigan to Washington state, as they had for centuries. One herd has struggled for decades along the border of Washington, Idaho and British Columbia, in the Selkirk Mountain Range. Although I have seen the distinctive footprints of these caribou, I never caught up with any of them on the hoof.

Now, my chances may soon be over. Biologists recently completed their winter survey of these animals and found only three individuals in the Selkirks. This is down from nearly 50 a decade ago. All three caribou are female. You don’t need a degree in biology to know how this story ends.

Even if those animals happen to be pregnant, the outlook is grim, said biologist Bart George, who works for the Kalispel Tribe of Indians.

“We are all in mourning,” George told me.

The southern population of mountain caribou in British Columbia, Alberta, Washington and Idaho is in a tailspin. The Selkirks are one of perhaps 15 mountain ranges that face similar problems, though some are not quite as dire.

I’ve been writing about these caribou for 30 years and reading about them my entire life. In my business — conservation and journalism — I write about extinction frequently. But it’s usually an abstract concept, something that could happen in the future, or has already happened in the past. This is happening now, on our watch.

Mountain caribou are uniquely adapted to life in snowy mountains. They thrive so well in harsh winter climates that they migrate up the mountains in the winter, surviving on certain types of lichen that hang from low tree branches. It’s a precarious way to make a living, though, and it doesn’t take much to impact their survival.

Caribou get killed by cars and poachers and cougars and wolves. But these are tiny nicks in the population compared to the slashing wounds of the large-scale clear-cut logging that has swept over British Columbia, Idaho and Washington since the 1960s. I don’t intend to point fingers; I print words on pulp, live in a wooden house and have friends and neighbors who make a living cutting and milling trees. But clear-cuts are killing the caribou. It’s just a fact.

I believe that people have a right to log trees, but also a responsibility not to push our fellow beings into oblivion. That was the idea behind the Endangered Species Act. Extinction can be a natural process, but not when it’s driven by human greed and consumption. The Endangered Species Act is sometimes described as the “emergency room” of conservation. Unfortunately, critical care appears to be coming too little and too late for our caribou.

I could tell you all about how humanity’s fate is tied to our natural world, how healthy forests are crucial for clean water and “ecosystem services.” But forget all that. I’ll just say this: Caribou have a right to be here, and our nation is poorer without them. Extinction doesn’t always come about with a meteor strike from outer space. It’s usually a slower process — a trickle of bad news that comes gradually to a stop.

A few decades ago, there were about 50 caribou in the Selkirks; now, there are maybe three. Today, there are less than 100 bighorn sheep left in the Teton Range near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. There are about 75 resident orca whales in Puget Sound off Seattle. When population numbers get this low, conservation gets expensive, and the odds of survival grow increasingly long.

The Endangered Species Act is important, but the way out of this cycle is to not end up relying on it so heavily in the first place — to keep the land and water and wildlife healthy enough to not need the emergency room. For that, we need to acknowledge that wildlife habitat has a value, whether we are weighing it against cheap oil and a policy of “energy dominance,” or the growth of another foothills subdivision, or just the price of a two-by-four at the lumberyard.

Only a tiny handful of U.S. news outlets have even mentioned the crisis of the Selkirk caribou. I guess extinction in our time cannot compete against the latest tweetstorm from Hollywood or Washington, D.C. There is only a whimper, or maybe a few tears. I want to believe that America can do better than that. For the sake of our grandchildren, I hope I am right.

Ben Long is a contributor to Writers on the Range, the opinion service of High Country News. He is senior program director for Resource Media in Kalispell, Montana.

https://www.denverpost.com/2018/05/12/idahos-caribou-teach-a-harsh-lesson/

Analysis: 490,000 Pounds of Toxic Pesticides Sprayed on National Wildlife Refuges

PR by The Center for Biological Diversity

Pesticide Use on Crops Grown in Refuges Spikes in California, Oregon, Arkansas, Tennessee, Maryland

WASHINGTON— America’s national wildlife refuges are being doused with hundreds of thousands of pounds of dangerous agricultural pesticides every year, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by the Center for Biological Diversity.

The Center report, No Refuge, reveals that an estimated 490,000 pounds of pesticides were dumped on commodity crops like corn, soybeans and sorghum grown in national wildlife refuges in 2016, the most recent year for which data are available. The analysis was conducted with records obtained by the Center under the Freedom of Information Act.

“These refuges are supposed to be a safe haven for wildlife, but they’re becoming a dumping ground for poisonous pesticides,” said Hannah Connor, a senior attorney at the Center who authored the analysis. “Americans assume these public lands are protected and I think most people would be appalled that so many pesticides are being used to serve private, intensive agricultural operations.”

The pesticides include the highly toxic herbicides dicamba and 2,4-D, which threaten the endangered species and migrating birds that wildlife refuges were created to protect. Refuge pesticide use in 2016 was consistent with pesticide applications on refuges over the previous two years, the Center analysis showed.

America’s 562 national wildlife refuges include forests, wetlands and waterways vital to thousands of species, including more than 280 protected under the Endangered Species Act.

Yet intensive commercial farming has become increasingly common on refuge lands, triggering escalating use of highly toxic pesticides that threaten the long-term health of these sensitive habitats and the wildlife that depend on them.

In 2016 more than 270,000 acres of refuge land were sprayed with pesticides for agricultural purposes. The five national wildlife refuge complexes most reliant on pesticides for agricultural purposes in 2016 were:

  • Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge Complex in California and Oregon, with 236,966 pounds of pesticides;
  • Central Arkansas Refuges Complex in Arkansas, with 48,725 pounds of pesticides;
  • West Tennessee Refuge Complex in Tennessee, with 22,044 pounds of pesticides;
  • Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge Complex in Tennessee, with 16,615 pounds of pesticides;
  • Chesapeake Marshlands National Wildlife Refuge Complex on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and Virginia, with 16,442 pounds of pesticides.

Additional findings from the report:

  • Aerial pesticide spraying: In 2016, 107,342 acres of refuge lands were aerially sprayed with 127,020 pounds of pesticides for agricultural purposes, including approximately 1,328 pounds of the notoriously drift-prone dicamba, which is extremely toxic to fish, amphibians and crustaceans.
  • Glyphosate: In 2016 more than 55,000 agricultural acres in the refuge system were treated with 116,200 pounds of products containing glyphosate, the pesticide that has caused widespread decreases in milkweed plants, helping to trigger an 80 percent decline of the monarch butterfly over the past two decades.
  • 2,4-D: In 2016 more than 12,000 refuge acres were treated with 15,819 pounds of pesticide products containing 2,4-D, known to be toxic to mammals, birds, amphibians, crustaceans, reptiles and fish and is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of endangered and threatened salmonids.
  • Paraquat dichloride: In 2016 more than 3,000 acres of corn and soybean crops on refuge lands were treated, mainly through aerial spraying, with approximately 6,800 pounds of pesticides containing paraquat dichloride, known to be toxic to crustaceans, mammals, fish, amphibians and mollusks and so lethal it is banned in 32 counties, including the European Union.

“These pesticides are profoundly dangerous for plants and animals and have no place being used on such a staggering scale in our wildlife refuges,” Connor said. “The Interior Department needs to put an end to this outrage and return to its mission of protecting imperiled wildlife, not row crops.”

Contact: Hannah Connor, (202) 681-1676, hconnor@biologicaldiversity.org

The BLM Releases Plan to Congress that will Ensure Extinction of Wild Horses and Burros on Our Public Lands

From Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management just released its plan to Congress for managing wild horses and burros on our public lands.

The options offered in this report would not lead to sustainability but instead would lead directly to the extinction of wild horses and burros on our public lands with the next 10-20 years.

False claims such as thousands of starving and dying horses on the range, and the horses being the source of any and all range degradation are at the heart of their argument. The BLM proposes to remove 50,000 wild horses and burros from our public lands. They want to remove protections from our wild horses and burros that will lead to tens of thousands of wild horses being killed and slaughtered, and kill the wild horses and burros in holding facilities. This is not “euthanasia,” these are healthy wild horses and burros.

The BLM wants to continue to keep the public in the dark about its actions, seeking to lift requirements for study and public comment that protect our public lands as well as the animals that live on them.

The BLM also proposes to sterilize 80% of the wild horses and burros that live on our public lands, and they will use dangerous, cruel and inhumane methods to accomplish this. Wild horses and burros will no longer have the natural behaviors that characterize these family oriented equids, and this will bring the numbers of over 70% of the remaining herds to below genetically viable levels.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation will have a more detailed response to this plan over the coming days, and will include suggestions of what you can do to help.

To find out more about Wild Horse Freedom Federation and our work to keep wild horses and burros wild and free on our public lands visit

www.WildHorseFreedomFederation.org

Donate Here: http://wildhorsefreedomfederation.org/donate/

Breaking! Support Calls Needed This Week Before Iconic African Species Protection Act Advances To California Senate Committee On Public Safety On April 24th

BLM Ely District to also “zero out” all wild horses on the Caliente Herd Area Complex

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation
 ACTION ALERT!  Public comments are due Jan. 5, 2018.
In the BLM’s rush to drive wild horses to extinction, the BLM plans to remove ALL wild horses from the Caliente Herd Area Complex.  The BLM claims that the Caliente Herd Area Complex has an estimated population of 1,744 wild horses (including the 2017 foal crop).
The Caliente Herd Complex Area consists of nine herd areas; Applewhite, Blue Nose Peak, Clover Creek, Clover Mountains, Delamar Mountains, Little Mountain, Meadow Valley Mountains, Miller Flat, and Mormon Mountains.
The 30-day public comment period concludes Jan. 5, 2018.

Please be sure to mail or email your written comments to:

Bureau of Land Management Ely District Office
Attention: Ben Noyes, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
702 N. Industrial Way
Ely, NV 89301

Comments can also be submitted electronically at blm_nv_eydo_caliente_complex_ea@blm.gov.

E-mail messages should include “Caliente Herd Area Complex Wild Horse Gather” in the subject line.

You can read the Environmental Assessment HERE.
In this EA, the BLM again refuses to consider reducing livestock grazing on public lands in the Caliente Herd Area Complex.  On pages 40-41 of this Environmental Assessment, the BLM lists the 26 livestock grazing allotments on the Caliente Herd Area Complex.  Keep in mind that the BLM counts a cow/calf pair as only one animal, so the numbers of cattle below will likely be doubled.
The BLM plans to remove ALL WILD HORSES FOREVER WHILE:
  • allowing Delamar Valley Cattle (owned by the Mormon church) to graze 773 privately owned cattle for 12 months of each year on 100% public land on the Oak Springs allotment and 464 privately owned cattle  for 12 months of each year on 100% public land on the Delamar allotment. (1,237 privately owned cattle year round, and if it’s a cow/calf pair, this would be 2,474 cows)
  • allowing the Newby Cattle Co. of St. George, Utah to graze 481 privately owned cattle for 6 months per year on 100% public land on the White Rock allotment and 464 privately owned cattle and 5 horses for 6 months of each year on 100% public lands on the Garden Spring allotment and another 327 privately owned cattle for 4 months of each year on 100% public lands on the Sheep Flat allotment. (945 cattle for 6 months each year, and 327 for 4 months each year, and if it’s a cow/calf pair, this would be 1,890 cattle for 6 months out of the year, and 654 cattle for 4 months of each year).  Here is the 2012 EA the BLM did for these grazing allotments, and there was no mention of a lack of forage or water.  Ken Newby is name noted above the address for Newby Cattle Company.
  • allowing 232 privately owned cattle to graze for 6 months each year on the Henrie Complex allotment.
  • allowing 214 privately owned cattle to graze for 6 months each year on the Cottonwood allotment.
  • allowing 120 privately owned cattle to graze for 12 months each year on the Lower Riggs allotment.
  • allowing 118 privately owned cattle to graze for 5 months each year on the Pennsylvania allotment.

(All data above is from the BLM’s Rangeland Administration System)

Just two of the allotments listed above graze 1,357 privately owned cattle 12 months each year on the Caliente Herd Area Complex (2,714 cattle, if it’s a cow/calf pair) .  This means the number of cattle on only two grazing allotments outnumber the number of wild horses all year long.  From just the six allotments listed above, 3,193 cattle (6,386 cattle, if it’s a cow/calf pair) far outnumber the 1,744 wild horses for at least four months each year.  And, there are twenty other grazing allotments on the Caliente Herd Area Complex.
Again, the BLM admits they have failed to maintain a “thriving natural ecological balance” by claiming there is a need to remove all wild horses (an entire species) from this area due to a lack of “forage, water, cover, space, and reproductive viability.”
On page 7, how did the BLM determine that “trampling damage” was caused by wild horses, as opposed to livestock?
The BLM again cites language allowing the management of “0” wild horses in the 2008 Record of Decision on the Ely District BLM Resource Management Plan, signed by Ron Wenker (who was then BLM’s Nevada State Director but is a convicted pedophile and is currently serving 3 life terms in prison) and John Ruhs, who was the Ely District Manager at that time (and who is now the BLM’s Nevada State Director).   The BLM reverted Herd Management Areas to the Caliente Herd Area Complex.
The BLM is again “tiering” this EA to other older land use plans.
If you haven’t already read about the BLM Ely District office zeroing out other Herd Areas, read more HERE.

BLM plans to “zero out” Seaman & White River wild horse Herd Areas, while digging in heels to keep privately owned livestock grazing on these public lands

ACTION ALERT!

by Debbie Coffey, V.P. & Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) changed the Seaman and White River wild horse Herd Management Areas into Herd Areas in 2008.   Now, this proposed BLM Environmental Assessment (EA) is a 10 year plan for the BLM to “zero out” (remove ALL wild horses and leave “0” as the population) the Seaman and White River Herd Areas in Nevada.

Please be sure to send your personal comments to the BLM about their plans to remove the last, remaining wild horses from these two Herd Areas.  (DO NOT JUST SIGN A FORM LETTER PROPOSED BY ANY ADVOCACY GROUP.)  Write comments in your own words and email, mail or fax them to the BLM.

Comment submissions will be accepted until 4:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on Monday, Jan. 22, 2018.  All comments received during the public comment period will be fully considered and evaluated for preparation of the Final PEA.

Questions and written comments should be directed to:  Bureau of Land Management, Ely District Office, Attention: Ruth Thompson, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
702 N. Industrial Way, Ely, NV 89301

Comments can also be submitted electronically at  blm_nv_eydo_seaman_white_river_ea@blm.gov.

Email messages should include “Seaman-White River Herd Areas Wild Horse Gather” in the subject line.

You can read the Environmental Assessment HERE.

At a quick glance, some of the many things that chap me about this plan are:

1)  The BLM is removing the last 42 wild horses and foals from the Seaman HA, and the last 323 wild horses and foals from the White River HA (ALL WILD HORSES FOREVER) while:

still allowing the Blue Diamond Oil Corporation (Gary Sprouse, Pres.) to graze 5,590 sheep and 76 cattle for 5 months and 10 days each year (11/1 – 4/10) on the Fox Mountain allotment (100% public land),

still allowing Double U Livestock to graze 1,269 sheep for 6 1/2 months each year and 210 cattle for 5 months each year on the Needles allotment, and another 724 sheep for 5 months each year and 147 cattle for 4 months each year on the Dry Farm allotment.

still allowing Carter Cattle Co. to graze 650 cattle for 8 months each year on the North Cove allotment and another 650 cattle to graze for 8 months each year on the Wells-Dee Gee allotment.

still allowing 635 cattle to graze for 5 1/2 months each year on the Hardy Springs allotment, on 100% public lands.

still allowing 1,517 sheep to graze for 4 1/2 months each year on the South Coal Valley allotment

still allowing 226 cattle to graze for 10 months each year on the Forest Moon allotment.

(REMEMBER, the BLM counts a cow/calf pair as only 1 animal, so all of the numbers above will likely double):

There are many other allotments listed on page 36 of the EA.  On this page, the BLM omitted informing the public of the number of “public acres” on each of the allotments – many of the allotments are on 100% public acres.

2)  The BLM refuses to consider reducing livestock grazing on the Herd Areas.  In section 2.4.5 of this EA:

“2.4.5  Remove or Reduce Livestock within the Seaman and White River HA 

This alternative would involve no removal of wild horses and would instead address the excess wild horse numbers through the removal of livestock or reductions in livestock grazing allocations within the Seaman and White River HA. This alternative was not brought forward for analysis because it would be inconsistent with the current land use plan. This gather document and subsequent Decision Record is not the appropriate mechanism for adjusting the authorized livestock use within the allotments associated with the Herd Areas in order to reallocate forage to wild horses.”

3)  The BLM once again mixes apples and oranges: while the BLM states the estimated number of wild horses and foals on the Herd Areas, the BLM only describes livestock (privately owned cattle and sheep) by AUMs, the amount of forage the livestock eat per month (Animal Unit Month).  This makes it more difficult for the general public to actually figure out the number of privately owned livestock grazing on public land, compared to the number of wild horses on public land.

4)  The BLM cites its authorization to zero out (remove all) wild horses as the Ely District 2008 Resource Management Plan (RMP).  The Record of Decision was signed by John Ruhs, who was then the BLM’s Ely District Manager (and who is now BLM’s Nevada State Director), and Ron Wenker, who was then the BLM’s Nevada State Director (and who was arrested in 2012 for sexually abusing a girl – a relative –  from the time she was 8 years old until she was 13 years old, when he was finally caught by the girl’s brother.  In May, 2013, Wenker was sentenced to three life terms after pleading guilty to Sexual Assault and Lewdness with a Minor Under the Age of 14.  He will be eligible for parole in 2043.In my opinion, all decisions signed by Ron Wenker on behalf of the BLM should be reviewed and revised.

Five parties filed protests to this 2008 RMP:  Cindy MacDonald (a great wild horse & burro advocate and researcher.  Be sure to see the blog she still maintains at American Herds), longtime wild horse & burro advocate Craig Downer, Center for Biological Diversity, Clay Iverson and Western Watersheds.  However, the BLM determined that only two of these parties “had standing” as defined in the BLM Land Use Planning Handbook (H-1601-1).

On pages 3 & 4 of this EA, the BLM states “The Ely District Record of Decision (ROD) and Approved Resource Management Plan (RMP) (August 2008) at Management Action WH – 5, which states: “Remove wild horses and drop herd management area status for those … as listed in Table 13.” Seaman and White River were reverted from Herd Management Area (HMA) to Herd Area (HA) status with this management action and identified the need to have all excess wild horses from these HAs (manage “0” wild horses).

The management action of achieving 0 wild horses within the Seaman HA as well as White River HA result of a management evaluation using multi-tiered analysis from the Ely Proposed Resource Management Plan/Final Environmental Impact Statement (November 2007) table 3.8 – 2 and page 4.8 – 2. The EIS (November 2007) evaluated each HMA within the Ely District for five essential habitat components and herd characteristics: forage, water, cover, space, and reproductive viability. If one or more of these components were missing, or there was no potential for a stable shared genetic pool, the HMA was considered unsuitable. The Seaman HA as well as White River HA have inadequate forage, marginal to very little water on public lands, and inadequate reproductive viability. The combined Seaman HA also has no summer habitat and inadequate cover.”

So, the BLM admits that it has failed to maintain a “thriving natural ecological balance.”

You can read this 2008 RMP HERE.

5)  On Page 16, the BLM also states: “While the BLM is authorized to remove livestock from HAs “if necessary to provide habitat for wild horses or burros, to implement herd management actions, or to protect wild horses or burros from disease, harassment or injury” (43 CFR§ 4710.5), this authority is usually applied in cases of emergency and not for general management of wild horses since it cannot be applied in a manner that would be inconsistent with the existing land use plans. (43 CFR § 4710.1)”

It is an EMERGENCY if the BLM needs to remove an entire species from an area because there is not enough forage, water or habitat.

6)  Everyone should ask the BLM to provide the Land Health Status for each of the allotments listed on page 36 of this EA.

7)  The BLM is planning to completely REMOVE these wild horses from these public lands FOREVER.  Note that the BLM is not attempting to relocate these horses to other Herd Management Areas or Herd Areas.

8)  Since the BLM complains about the cost of wild horses & burros in BLM holding facilities, and has a poor record of adoptions (many horses have been sold to slaughter), the BLM should leave these wild horses on public lands, where they can live and graze at no cost to American taxpayers.

 

 

 

 

 

Public comments needed to make sure wild horses & burros are protected in amendments to BLM’s Land Use Plans in CA and NV

(photo:  Carol Walker)

Your comments are needed to make sure wild horses and burros are protected in possible amendments to very important BLM Land Use Plans (LUPs) in California and Nevada.  You can cite this report: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/lup/90121/123510/150623/SO3353-report.pdf   (wild horses are noted on page 37, the second box from the bottom).  Tell the BLM you want our wild horse & burro herds to be maintained in viable numbers.  Per the equine geneticist hired by the BLM, Dr. Gus Cothran, the minimum wild horse and burro herd size should be 150-200 animals. Within a herd containing this number, about 100 animals would be of breeding age.  Of those 100, approximately 50 horses or burros would comprise the genetic effective population size.  Dr. Cothran has stated that 50 is a minimum number.  A higher number would decrease the chances for inbreeding.  (A decreased genetic effective population size leads to both inbreeding and the loss of alleles by genetic drift, increasing the probability of population extinction.)   Also, if the BLM skews the sex ratio to favor males, the number should be higher.

Members of the public can convey comments to the BLM via a website and via email.

For more information please contact Matt Magaletti, BLM Nevada State Office, at 775-861-6472

Source:  Elko Daily Free Press

RENO – The Bureau of Land Management announced opportunities for the public to comment and share issues on the agency’s consideration of potential amendments to its Nevada and California land use plans, specifically elements of land use plans that address greater sage-grouse conservation. Meetings cover Northern Nevada, including one slated for Elko on Nov. 8.

On Oct. 5, the Department of the Interior announced its intention to revisit land use plans in 10 western states to improve greater sage-grouse conservation and to strengthen communication and coordination between western states and the federal government. The existing plans, which were amended in 2015, provide guidance and direction to BLM managers in Nevada for the management of greater sage-grouse habitat.

The public scoping meetings will be held in Reno, Elko and Ely to provide venues in areas covered by the sage grouse plan. BLM staff will be on hand to gather information about potential issues to be considered related to any plan amendments.

Meeting Locations:

Reno

Location: The Nugget, Sierra Room 1, 1100 Nugget Ave., Sparks

Date and Time: Tuesday, Nov. 7, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Elko

Location: Elko Convention Center, 700 Moren Way, Elko

Date and Time: Wednesday, Nov. 8, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Ely

Location: Bristle Cone Convention Center, 150 W. Sixth St., Ely

Date and Time: Thursday, Nov. 9, 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Members of the public can also convey comments to the BLM via a website and via email.

For more information please contact Matt Magaletti, BLM Nevada State Office, at 775-861-6472.

BLM Releases Decision Record plan to wipe out the Red Desert Complex after they destroy the Checkerboard

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

BLM has announced it will be removing 2200 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex, starting in October 2017.  This would be after the Checkerboard Roundup, where the BLM is planning to remove 1560 wild horses starting in September.  This means 3760 wild horses will be removed from their homes and from their families, and this is over half the wild horses remaining in Wyoming.

This is insane.  Right now, Congress is considering the 2018 Budget which now includes language that will allow the killing of the 46,000 wild horses in short and long term holding as well as thousands more on the range.

Adding 3760 more horses makes absolutely no sense.  There is nowhere to even put this number of horses in short term holding unless the BLM has already begun shipping wild horses in holding to slaughter.

Rounding up and removing these horses is a death sentence to them if this budget passes without an amendment to protect the horses.

In the Red Desert Complex, the 5 herds will all be reduced to numbers below the 150-200 adults needed to maintain genetic viability. Stewart Creek will be at 150, Lost Creek at 60, Antelope Hills at 60 Crooks Mountain at 65 and Green Mountain will be left at the closest to the number needed, at 170.

The rationale is that the horses travel back and forth between areas so they consider the Complex as a whole at 480 wild horses.  But I dispute this.  There may be some mixing of the members of herds at the boundaries, but these are vast areas and horses tend to be territorial – they cannot guarantee that the horses will mix sufficiently to maintain genetic viability.  There is data provided on each herd’s genetic viability but most of this is very old data, not from the most recent roundup in 2011 and 2012.

Then they plan to use PZP-22 on all mares over 1 year old that are released back into the area.

This is a recipe for destroying these unique herds, not preserving them.

The BLM is making the worst possible decisions for the wild horses under their care, as they have been for decades.

Be sure to read Carol Walker’s blog, Wild Hoofbeats.

Wild horses face extinction in Namibia

Namibia is a country in southern Africa.

Source:  namibian.com.na

PREDATORS … Hyenas are threatening the survival of the Namib wild horses.

Namib wild horses face extinction

by Staff Reporter

THE feral horses of Namib Nauklauft in the Garub area are on the verge of extinction due to predation by hyenas.

This was revealed in a statement issued by the Namibia Wild Horses’ Foundation yesterday.

The foundation said no foal has survived since 2013, and that the horse population has steadily declined.

“Due to the drought, most of the other migratory game has moved north and east, looking for greener pastures, which leaves mainly horses as easy prey in the Garub area,” the statement reads.

Because of this, the rate of predation on the horses has increased significantly in the area over the past two months, which saw the number of mares dropping to 42.

“We estimate that at this rate, the wild horses’ population will be functionally extinct – some may still be around, but it’s inevitable that they will go extinct – by August,” the foundation said.

In its efforts to save the wild horses from extinction, the foundation intends to find suitable land that could be turned into a sanctuary in which the horses would live with the integrity of a wild population.

Read the rest of this article here.

 

 

The elephant in the room at BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board meetings

elephant-in-the-room

The elephant in the room (photo: bassamsalem)

This is a public comment letter that K.R. Gregg, Environmental Researcher, sent to the BLM’s National Wild Horse & Burro Advisory Board:

April 10, 2016

National Wild Horse and Wild Burro Program National Advisory Board Members

Attention: Ramona DeLorme, 1340 Financial Boulevard, Reno, Nevada, 89502-7147

whbadvisoryboard@blm.gov

I request that this letter be provided to all board members and also be included in the official minutes and the administrative record for the meeting.  Thank you.

Re:  National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board Public Comment

Dear Sirs/Madams:

I have heard people talk about the “elephant in the room” during BLM meetings and then ignore the REAL elephant in the room, which is that there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their congressionally designated legal lands.

Do not allow the BLM and USFS and Farm Bureau, the extractive and mining giants, hunting lobbyists and the domestic livestock grazing associations to pull the wool over your eyes. There are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.

Per the 1971 Congressional Wild Horse and Burro Act, the land is to be devoted PRINCIPALLY, although not exclusively, to the wild horses and wild burros’ welfare in keeping with the multiple-use management concept of public lands. 


Definition of “principally”: First, highest, foremost in importance, rank, worth or degree, chief, mainly, largely, chiefly, especially, particularly, mostly, primarily, above all, predominantly, in the main, for the most part, first and foremost.

There is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures … because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.

In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros, but even after 22,200,000 acres were stolen from the American people by government agencies, the remaining 31,600,000 acres could support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today.

It is currently independently estimated that less than 20,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.

 

There is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land.