Latest Roundup in Wyoming Exposes Flaws, Failures in BLM’s Wild Horse Program

by Wayne Pacelle as published on Humane Nation

“As most of you are aware, our Wild Horse Freedom Federation‘s Director of Field Documentation, Carol Walker, has spent the last several weeks observing the destruction of Wyoming’s last wild horse herds at the hands of the BLM.  None of it was, or is, pretty…’disgusting’ is perhaps a better word.  Although no prominent HSUS observers were noted at the roundup the following article by Wayne Pacelle does have some very salient points and is well worth the read.  We concur with the bulk of what is stated…the time for the brutality to stop has long past.” ~ R.T.


BLM terrorizing what's left of Wyoming's wild horses. ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM terrorizing what’s left of Wyoming’s wild horses. ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

At least 10 animals, including four yearlings, are dead after a poorly conducted and strategically suspect government roundup of approximately 800 wild horses in Wyoming. This loss of life, and the stress and trauma for the survivors, could have been avoided had the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) put in place a more humane and economically viable management plan for wild horses throughout the West.

The current roundup is being conducted in the Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Herd Management Areas in Wyoming. The BLM’s records show that one yearling was found dead in a holding pen having suffered an acute neck injury, a three-and-a-half month old filly was found dead in a holding pen of unknown causes, and a six-month-old colt died in a horse trailer from pre-existing lung injuries that were exacerbated by the helicopter drive gather.

The HSUS has long argued that the BLM, which conducts these round-ups, should be working with the humane community to manage wild horses using fertility control methods. The broader implementation of this strategy would come with some costs, but those would be offset and then some by reducing the need for removals and the housing and feeding of tens of thousands of horses in short-term and long-term holding facilities. Implementing aggressive fertility programs is a solution supported by most stakeholders and the National Academy of Sciences. It would be much more humane for the horses if the government opted for this strategy.

It is a well-known fact that the BLM’s wild horse roundup program is a case study in mismanagement. There are now more than 40,000 free-roaming wild horses in the United States, most of them in Wyoming and Nevada, and the government has been rounding up and removing them, ostensibly to control these wild populations and minimize their ecological impact. Over the years, they have built up a captive horse population that now numbers in the tens of thousands, at short-term and long-term holding facilities. The cost of the roundups and housing and feeding the animals is now cannibalizing about two-thirds of the budget for the entire program…(CONTINUED)

Pictorial: Day 12 Wild Horse Checkerboard Roundup ~ Lost Freedoms, Families and Futures

Eye Witness Observations by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Today was a very tough day for me for a number of reasons. But no matter how tough it was for me, I always keep in mind, it is a thousand times tougher for these horses who lose everything dear to them, their families, their homes and their freedom all at once.”

Waiting to head out to the next observation point for the Checkerboard Roundup. It is a little later in the morning. I will be posting updates if I have cell service out there.

We have been waiting for almost 2 hours at the Point of Rocks exit for the Cattoors to come and set up the next trap site. Now we moved to Bitter Creek Road and the helicopters are looking for a trap site for the last few horses in the Great Divide Basin Checkerboard area. I was told they are waiting for an archeologist to come and clear the site and it may be another 2 hours before the helicopters fly driving the horses into the trap. We are headed to a coal mine where apparently about 16 horses have been living for many years within the fenced area around it. Why on earth I wonder, do they have to remove these horses? How are they disturbing the operation of the mine? It is a huge area.

The BLM vehicle speeds up Bitter Creek road so fast that dust billows up in spots, because it is so dry here. Several times I slow, and fall way behind the vehicle in front so that I can see. The road is so dusty following the BLM to the trap. I am concerned I might lose them because I have no idea where we are going, but I am more concerned that I do not fly off the road into the steep ditch next to it because I cannot see it. At one point I could not see anything at all except the boiling dust, so I stopped because I was afraid of going off the road into the ditch, and suddenly there is a bang, and the Ranger’s truck behind me rear ends my car. We stop and get out to see the damage. We keep going to a junction in the road where we still have cell service and then wait for the county sheriff to come and file a report on the accident. This was not at all how I thought this day would go.

We headed finally to the trap in the mine area. We missed 4 horses coming in while meeting with the county sheriff but there are at least 12 more they are trying to get. It is wild and beautiful and quiet out here with gorgeous view of Black Rock and the surrounding mountains.

After we arrived to our observation point a half mile way but with a view of the trap for a change, I observed the longest chase I have ever seen, over an hour, of 8 wild horses by the helicopter in the coal mine area. These eight wild horses including a foal were running up and down steep hills and ridges in the hottest part of the day. They finally went into the trap with lots of close pressure from the helicopter at the very end. He had to circle back to get a line black horse trotting slowly who almost ran back out but finally went into the trap. By this time I was pulling for the horses to finally be caught and end this for the sake of their health. Never before in all my years as an advocate and in the 10 years I have been observing roundups have I been pulling for the horses to go INTO a trap, just to make it stop.

There seems to be a major problem with this trap, despite the fact that the archeologist Ok’d it, the Cattoors don’t seem to have selected it wisely to conform to the landscape and make it easy for the horses to enter as they usually do. The hills are so very steep, and the horses are heading up this one ridge which overlooks the trap, and naturally when they see the trap, they do not want to go in, they run off, and then the helicopter has to chase and chase and chase to get them to approach it and go in.

Helicopter just drove in a family of 6 the brave red stallion in front who kept looking back at his family and three foals and two mares came in after going up hills down in the mine up ridges down valleys and up on a really scary ridge where luckily they stopped then turned around. The red stallion finally led his family into the trap and I sighed with relief I did not want to see them run any more when the intention is to get them all.

We are told they are leaving the two horses who are still in the mine there, and we think they might be done for the day.

But suddenly the helicopter flies out in a direction I have not seen him head, behind us, and we see a family of four pop up over the ridge. The bay stallion is in the back, sorrel mare and foal in the middle, with a black mare leading, and they are running very fast. They fly across the terrain. They are finally driven on top of the ridge near the trap, and they run right by it. The helicopter chases them around the ridge and finally at the top of the ridge they wheel and turn, the helicopter wheels too and from our angle it looks as though it might hit them, but our perspective is distorted, and it is hard to see in the dust. It looks as though they were all going in the trap, but it is only the elegant black mare, who trips somehow and flips over. She gets up and continues into the pen at the end of the trap. On the other side of the hill the foal pops out, and I wonder if he has become separated from his family, but no his mother joins him. The stallion runs as fast as he can in the opposite direction, and I hear that they are letting him go. The helicopter pulls up and flies off, and the exhausted mare and foal slow to a walk, and we wonder, is it really over? Can they actually go free? Down below the Cattoors are packing up the trap, which seems to be answer enough. We watch the bay stallion top a ridge, and pause, looking down, as if he is wondering if it is safe. He trots down to his mare and foal, and they trot up to join him. It is such a very bittersweet moment. I am feeling joy for this small family, that at least the three of them are reunited and will live at least for now in their home in Great Divide Basin. But it is a harsh and cruel reminder of all the horses like the black mare in their family who will never roam free there again.

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Checkerboard Wild Horse Roundup Day 11: The Carnage Continues

Eye-Witness Report by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“The rider throws a loop and catches the foal, who bucks when he feels the rope then as it grows taut he is thrown to the ground…”

We are about 20 miles in from I80 on County Road 19 and about 1/2 mile from the trap which is on public land for a change. We can see the trap from here the back of it anyway but not the approach to it, that is on the other side of the ridge from us. They caught 105 horses here yesterday so just expect to get stragglers today. This area is so remote there is no cell service.

It is a beautiful day, we can see the mountains clearly, and we spotted a small band of horses just across the ridge, peacefully grazing , with no idea what fate awaits them. One helicopter flew over starting the search for horses.

Soon I hear a helicopter in the distance, behind the ridge that hides the trap. He goes back and forth several times, leading me to believe that he is having trouble getting the group he is driving into the trap. Suddenly, a lone black stallion pops up over the hill. Apparently he escaped the group, and he runs over the hill ignoring the helicopter, in the direction of the small group we saw on the hill.

Then finally the helicopter pushes the group behind the hill into the trap – I see many horses running to the panels, and then being moved into the adjoining pen with lots of dust. I see some greys but mostly bay, black and chestnut, typical for horses from Great Divide Basin.

Meanwhile the other helicopter is following another group that cuts across the hill right in front of us. We see a beautiful grey stallion bringing up the rear, and one foal in the middle. They disappear over a ridge, going away from the trap. I am thinking we will most likely see them again, and we do a few minutes later and they have gained more horses behind them. They are in dramatic silhouette, lots of dust boiling up and two foals now. They head down the hill toward us but the helicopter stops them, heading them the long way around the ridge to the trap, out of sight.

About an hour later we see another group head up a ridge with a sorrel stallion in front and a white mare moving more slowly than the rest of the group. Then we suddenly see a sorrel foal all by itself, come over the hill pursued by the helicopter. At first he is running, but slows to a trot then a walk, and seems bewildered. He stops and I notice that a rider is heading down the hill toward him. When he sees the horse and rider he starts running toward them. Clearly he wants to be with another horse and not stay all alone! The rider throws a loop and catches the foal, who bucks when he feels the rope then as it grows taut he is thrown to the ground, he gets up and goes along with the horse and rider very quietly all the way to the trap.

We are told that the roundup is over for the day, and they are loading the captured horses onto 3 small trailers and one large one and as the trailers drive down the road I see their faces in the trailer – they have no idea what awaits them at the end of their journey.

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Checkerboard Wild Horse Roundup Day 3

On-Site observations by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“It is a short day for the Checkerboard roundup as the helicopters do the final sweeps to make sure they got every last horse in this area…”

14Roundup3 (7 of 61)-Edit

14Roundup3 (8 of 61)-EditHere I am again in the Rock Springs BLM parking lot before dawn waiting to head out to the trap. This is Day 3 of the Checkerboard Roundup in Wyoming. I was told last night they only have a few horses left to capture at this site, and I may or may not see anything given we cannot see the trap or the approach to it at this site.

This is in Great Divide Basin. I am hoping that group of beautiful bachelors that eluded capture yesterday are headed far far north outside the Checkerboard.

14Roundup3 (24 of 61)-EditI have been at the observation site for an hour. I finally heard both helicopters, and one was hovering for a while on the other side of the hill near the trap so I assume some horses were brought in out of my line of site. Now both helicopters are working at a distance looking for horses, needing to get the last few that remain in this area.

Just now two groups of three each with a stallion, mare and foal came through together and behind the hill with the trap. Then a grey stallion was driving a bay mare and a sorrel mare with a black foal lagging way behind. He was running, trying to catch up to his family the last I saw. He looked like he was at least a couple of months old and in good condition, so hopefully he caught up before his family was moved into the trap. Usually if a foal is separated from its family the Cattoors will send a rider to get the foal, but no rider has come out. I did ask about the foal and his family, and just found out that the little black foal was reunited with his family in the trap.

14Roundup3 (45 of 61)-EditIt is a short day for the Checkerboard roundup as the helicopters do the final sweeps to make sure they got every last horse in this area before they break down the trap and move it to another area in Great Divide Basin for tomorrow.

As I drive by Patrick Draw road where I had spent some time with 6 families who were peacefully grazing there three days ago, it looks so empty, with no wild horses anywhere to be found. This is the future of the rest of the Checkerboard lands in Wyoming.

14Roundup3 (48 of 61)-EditAll photos by Carol Walker

Checkerboard Wild Horse Roundup Day 2

On-Site observations by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“Every wild horse is to be removed from the Checkerboard Lands in the Red Desert in Wyoming because the BLM at the behest of the Rocks Springs Grazing Association is treating this vast area of alternating tracts of private and public land as if they were just private land.”

photos by Carol Walker, music by Bill Webb

It is day two of the Checkerboard Roundup in Wyoming, and I am in a long line of cars with their lights on, as the sky is gradually lightening, headed down I-80. It looks like a funeral procession, and it actually even feels like one to me because I know there is no happy ending for the horses that will be rounded up today. At every other roundup I have attended in the past, at least some of the horses are released back into the range. They might give the mares birth control, or do something stupid ands skew the sex ration of stallions to mares, but still there was hope for some to remain free. Not this time. Every wild horse is to be removed from the Checkerboard Lands in the Red Desert in Wyoming because the BLM at the behest of the Rocks Springs Grazing Association is treating this vast area of alternating tracts of private and public land as if they were just private land. An the horses now must be removed not only from all private land on 2 million acres, but also from all the public land interspersed with it.

We are at the observation area for the first trap site at Great Divide Basin a mile and a half from the trap which we cannot even see. We are told the helicopters will bring the horses by us but I don’t believe it. There is a big group here today including reporter Dave Phillips from the New York Times and yes this is the Dave Phillips who originally lived in Colorado and broke the story about Tom Davis selling those 1700 mustangs to slaughter.

We saw one small group running on a ridge then just the helicopter. We were promised that the horses would run by us. I would call tho non-observation. This is hands down the worst location for viewing I have ever been stuck in at a roundup. – 1 1/2 miles from the trap and we cannot even see it – it and the approach to it are behind a hill.

Whoohoo we moved! We now have a much better spot and can see the large area on the other side of the trap and we are over the ridge that was blocking our view. We still cannot see the trap or the approach to it, but this is the area the horses were coming across earlier.

Now we can see on the ridge a small family led by a grey stallion, with a grulla mare, black foal and an old grey mare that I saw here 2 days ago. She is lame and they are tired, moving slowly toward the trap.

Troy Cattoor comes over on horseback to chat with us while waiting for the helicopter to bring the horses. We have seen the helicopter at a great distance but could not see horses at all for the last couple of hours. I am still here!

A group of 5 big bay and black bachelors ran right by us unexpectedly, Jay yells a heads up to me because I was getting water at my car, and I yell to the rest of the group while running back and we grab our cameras. Then the bachelor group circles around and heads out to the road.

Next two large groups with several families were driven into the valley in front of us along the far ridge and the two helicopters are together, working them all into the trap which is out of our view. There must be about 25 horses all at the same time headed toward the trap.

Finally we get the word that they have finished rounding up for the day. We are headed to the temporary pens to see the horses they removed today. We are told that we can see them after the horses receive food and water.

As soon as we are given the ok we drive into Salt Wells to the temporary holding area for the horses rounded up and Sue Cattoor gave us a tour of the horses. 63 total wild horses lost their freedom forever today: 24 mares, 20 stallions and 19 foals and yearlings. There were mercifully no injuries. The horses looked good, the babies were nursing, and all is pretty quiet except for a grey stallion who was calling to his mares and sparring with the other stallions in his pen.

The interesting thing about the roundup today is that the horses were very difficult to round up. Instead of the large groups they were anticipating, the horses came in in small groups and many only after a long hard chase and much driving back and forth. Most of the older horses have been through this before, and understandably want nothing to do with being trapped and having their families ripped away. And what happens when they are no longer more afraid of the helicopter than they are of being pushed into the trap? How then will the BLM keep rounding them up?

All day people have been commenting on my posts on Facebook, asking what is next, what can we do to end this? I wish I knew. There are no simple answers. I am here because it is what I can do for now.

Day One Checkerboard Wild Horse Roundup

On-Site Report by Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation

“It is just stunning and disheartening that a special interest group with only 50 members, the Rock Springs Grazing Association, has more influence on the BLM, the state of Wyoming and the courts than the tens of thousands of American people who want to see these horses remain free.”

Photography by Carol Walker, Music by Opus

As I was driving behind the BLM vehicles this morning on Bitter Creek Road I thought of the last time I was doing this, in December of last year on the coldest day of the year. I am so very tired of following the BLM out to trap sites where our beautiful, majestic wild horses are driven by helicopters into traps, separated from their families, and sent to holding pens to live out their lives. I am just sick of it, just sick.

This time, even the courts provided no remedy, even though the BLM has broken piles of rules and laws.

All I could do was to be there to witness it, once again.

It cannot be stated enough that the BLM has nowhere to put these wild horses yet they are determined to remove from their homes and their freedom. As of October 6 the Gunnison, UT facility is no longer home to 1100 wild horses.

It is just stunning and disheartening that a special interest group with only 50 members, the Rock Springs Grazing Association, has more influence on the BLM, the state of Wyoming and the courts than the tens of thousands of American people who want to see these horses remain free.

I will be updating as I can, cell service permitting.

I am at the trap site in Salt Wells Creek or should I say 1/2 mile from the trap site. The trap site is on private land, and we are placed on public land. There is a group standing right over the trap on the rocks, a fabulous view point, and I can only assume it is the landowner and family. Even my very long lens is having a hard time getting any sort of a decent shot of the horses coming in.

They are starting here in this location in Salt Wells Creek for only 20 horses, then moving the whole operation tomorrow to Great Divide Basin. No doubt a very influential land owner demanded they start here first.

The first group of wild horses driven in by helicopter today was led by spectacular and proud black and white pinto stallion who did not want to go into the trap. We heard the helicopter circling around and moving the horses for over an hour before they made it into the trap. The horses looked so tired, heads hanging low, sides heaving. Then immediately the Cattoors pushed them into a trailer, and the stallions are fighting furiously. There is dust spilling out the sides of the trailer and I see the black and white stallion go down, and get trampled in the close quarters. Why on earth did they shove them all in there together? He finally gets up.

The next group has a week old baby foal running gamely in the middle, through the dust to the trap. The whole family runs into the trap, and then they flag the baby to separate it out so he will not get trampled in the trailer. Of course he is terrified and his mother is whinnying.

The last horse they tried to bring in today was a gorgeous black stallion with a bald white face – I called him Baldy – he bumped into the Judas horse, was very clearly surprised, jumped back and decided that he wanted no part of the trap – they tried to bring him back around 3x then let him go after he faced the helicopter. Jay D’Ewart, Wild Horse and Burro Expert for Rock Springs radioed and said “let him go.” Still wild and free! We all cheered.

This day has left such a sad bitter taste in my mouth that I decide to go see some wild horses in Salt Wells Creek. The beautiful families that are simply resting together on this gorgeous fall day lift my spirits. This is the only way I or anyone else should see wild horses.

Carol Walker, Plaintiff in Lawsuit to Stop Wyoming Roundups, on why this fight is personal

Wild Horses: Fighting to Save Wyoming’s Wild Horses is Personal

By Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

An Adobe Town Band Stallion Leads the Way

An Adobe Town Band Stallion Leads His Family

The fight to stop the BLM from its plan to eradicate wild horses from private and public land in three herds in the Red Desert of Wyoming is personal for me. On my first trip to Adobe Town in 2004, I fell in love with a gentle, battle-scarred grey stallion and his small, beautiful family. He ran right up to me and I waited, not knowing that this encounter would change my life forever. His filly came up next to her father and it looked as though she grinned at me. I had to keep coming back to see them, learn more about their lives, and photograph them as they as they are best portrayed, wild and free, at home in the dry, dramatic and isolated landscape of the Red Desert. I wrote my first book, Wild Hoofbeats: America’s Vanishing Wild Horses to let people know how magnificent these horses are, and that they deserve to live free.

The Grey Stallion and His Filly

The Grey Stallion and His Filly

Over the past 10 years I have traveled to Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin in all seasons of the year, even the depths of winter. One overwhelming thing stands out for me, after having driven thousands of miles on unmarked dirt roads in these Herd Management Areas – these horses are uniquely suited to this harsh and forbidding landscape and they belong there. They belong there more than the invasive and destructive cattle and sheep, and more than the land wrecking oil and gas drilling.

Four Grey Mares Run from the Helicopter in Adobe Town in 2010

Four Grey Mares Run from the Helicopter in Adobe Town in 2010

I am a plaintiff on a lawsuit to stop the BLM from removing over 800 wild horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, and Great Divide Basin. The roundups are scheduled to start in two weeks. http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/info/news_room/2014/july/18rsfo-removal.html

Without any care for Environmental Analysis, land use planning, or NEPA, the BLM announced its plans to proceed with these roundups and gave the public no opportunity to comment on their plans. Of course, the BLM ignores public comments anyway, but we were not even allowed to make our voices heard. The roundup was announced only 1 month before the start date, barely time to get a lawsuit in place, but we did, and the violations of the law and procedure are so glaring that I believe we have a very good chance of winning and stopping the BLM in its tracks.

READ THE REST OF THIS STORY AND FIND OUT WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP HERE.

Carol Walker’s blog is wildhoofbeats.com

Carol’s website is www.livingimagescjw.com

 

BLM Poised to Eradicate Last Large Wild Horse Herds in Wyoming

US Congressman, Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), supports listing of wild horses as endangered species

Mares rounded up in Salt Wells Creek in December 2013 – photo by Carol Walker

ROCK SPRINGS, WY (July 23, 2014) – The Cloud Foundation (TCF) with 280,000 followers, as well as numerous wild horse and animal advocacy groups, condemns the Bureau of Land Management’s scheduled roundup which will eliminate all wild horses on 1.2 million acre checkerboard land (alternating one mile square sections of private and public land for 20 miles on either side of Interstate 80) within the Great Divide Basin, Adobe Town and Salt Wells Creek Herd Management Areas (HMA).  The roundup of 946 wild horses is the first step in the planned total elimination of all wild horses in Great Divide Basin and Salt Wells Creek. 

“Adobe Town, Salt Wells and Great Divide Basin are home to the largest free-roaming wild horse herds left in Wyoming,” states Carol Walker, renowned equine photographer and Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) Board member (Listen to Carol Walker TONIGHT on Wild Horse and Burro Radio, see below). Walker has photographed the unique southwestern Wyoming herds for 10 years. “Genetic tests link the Adobe Town herd to horses re-introduced to the America’s by the Spanish in the 1500s. Great Divide Basin wild horses are descended from Calvary remounts,” she continues.  “To lose the wild horses in this vast landscape known by local residents as the ‘Big Empty’ would be to lose touch with our western history, heritage, and the untamed spirit of the West.”

The roundups, aimed at appeasing the powerful Rock Springs Grazing Association (RSGA), are in compliance with a Consent Decree between the BLM and RSGA, a back door deal allegedly encouraged by then-Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar. According to the Consent Decree the BLM agrees to zero out Divide Basin and Salt Wells, arguing that these unfenced wild lands allow mustangs to freely roam into private land in the checkerboard areas. Yet even in the Adobe Town HMA, which contains only a small portion of land within the checkerboard, the BLM intends to slash the herd by 100% leaving only 500 horses on over 400,000 acres of federal lands.

While BLM and RSGA contend that 1,912 wild horses overpopulate the 2.4 million acres within the HMA’s, TCF and WHFF research reveals that 356,222 cattle and 45,206 sheep graze the same lands under federally subsidized grazing leases. While cattle and sheep are not on the range year round like wild horses, the monthly average of 68,740 cattle and 10,741 sheep is staggering compared to fewer than 2,000 wild horses.  Livestock, not wild horses overpopulate and degrade the rangelands

TCF and other advocate groups question the legality of BLM’s Decision to reduce herd levels far below Appropriate Management Levels (AMLs) set in their own Resource Management Plans, and without an Environmental Assessment as required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

“Wild horse and burro herds and the federal lands on which they roam are under fire from those seeking to control land currently owned by the American public,” states Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of TCF.  Since 1971 wild horses and burros have lost over 20 million acres of habitat. 339 wild horse herds were designated for protection on western ranges when the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed. Today only 179 herds remain. 70% of the remaining herds are no longer genetically viable due to their small herd sizes. The intent of the forward thinking, environmentally sound and unanimously passed 1971 Act has been totally ignored by the agency charged with protecting wild horses and burros. 

As recently as July 10, Utah Representative Chris Stewart introduced HR 5058, The Wild Horse Oversight Act of 2014 which, according to a Salt Lake Tribune article,could allow states to sell wild horses to slaughter.”  

“Apparently, Congressman Stewart is not satisfied with the sweetheart deal welfare ranchers have had for decades, in which they pay virtually nothing to run their cattle and sheep on land owned by the American public,”  Kathrens says. She also attributes the dire situation to BLM’s bungling of the Wild Horse and Burro Program. “BLM has turned their back on management practices that would allow for the animals to live out their lives in freedom, rather than languishing in costly holding pens and pastures.”

“Wild horses are between a rock and a hard place.  The BLM wants to eliminate them in Wyoming, and Utah Congressman Stewart wants states to have the authority to eliminate them on federal rangeland,” states Paula Todd King, TCF Director of Communications. “This is why The Cloud Foundation joined Friends of Animals in filing a Petition to List North American Wild Horses under the Endangered Species Act.”

“With the myriad of threats posed to the remaining wild horse herds in America, it is past time that we look to science to guide their management on our public lands,” states US Representative Raul Grijalva (AZ).  “I support The Cloud Foundation’s call for wild horses to be federally protected under the ESA.”

The ESA petition’s introduction states:

The primary threats to wild horses on federal public land are habitat loss, inadequate regulation, and excessive round-ups and removals. Overall, wild horses on federal public lands face the threat of extinction due to at least four factors identified in the ESA. First, habitat loss, particularly from cattle grazing, mining, energy exploration, and urban expansion, endangers the distinct population segment (“DPS”). Second, human utilization threatens the species, specifically removal and sterilization to reduce the population and allow commercial grazing. Third, existing regulatory mechanisms are inadequate to manage the threats that face wild horses and may, in fact, constitute an independent threat to their survival. Finally, other natural and manmade factors also threaten the continued existence of wild horses in the United States, including their artificially fragmented range and small population size. Thus, it is vital to the survival of this population segment of wild horses that it becomes federally protected under the ESA

Livestock vs WH

Wild_Horse_Burro_Radio_Logo

WEDNESDAY, JULY 23, 2014

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

Listen Live (Here!)

Call in # 917-388-4520

This is a 2 hour show, and you can call in with questions during 2nd hour of the show.

The shows will be archived, so you can listen anytime.

Our guest is CAROL WALKER, Director of Field Documentation, Wild Horse Freedom Federation, talking about the DIRE SITUATION for Wyoming wild horses: the decimation and ZEROING OUT of Herd Management Areas next month in Wyoming.

BLM Releases 2014 Roundup Schedule Devastating to Red Desert Wild Horses

By Carol Walker ~ Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation
as published on Wild Hoofbeats

“Week by week, month by month and year by year the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) chisels away at what few herds of wild horses and burros remain on public lands while giving more and more concessions to welfare grazing interests.  While screaming that they have no money nor room for former free equines the BLM announced last week that they are going to rip yet another 2,500 equines from their rightful homes and virtually “zero out” or totally destroy several long standing Wyoming herds.

Equine photographer, and Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation, Carol Walker has taken the time to put the the math to the BLM schedule and sheds light on a very serious situation in her latest blog post.  Please check back often as we will attempt to keep you abreast of this rapidly developing story as the future well being of thousands of wild equines hangs in the balance as the BLM dances with the law and climbs into bed with private, profiteering grazing interests.” ~ R.T.


Mares rounded up in Salt Wells Creek in December 2013 ~ photo by Carol Walker

The BLM has finally released its roundup schedule for 2014:

http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/herd_management/tentative_gather_schedule.html

On this schedule are three roundups in Wyoming:

Adobe Town 8/20 – 8/24, plan to remove 177 wild horses

Salt Wells Creek 8/24 – 8-28, plan to remove 228 wild horses

Great Divide Basin 8/28 – 9/10,  plan to remove 541 wild horses

This is despite having just rounded up and removed 586 wild horses from Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town in December 2013.

Looking at the numbers provided by the BLM, Great Divide Basin will be virtually zeroed out after this roundup and removal. The AML for the area is 415-600 wild horses. At their May 2013 count they said there were 439 horses and they estimated that there would be 579 in the summer of 2014.  Removing 541 would be almost all,  if not all, of them.

In Salt Wells Creek, the AML is 251-365. In their projected estimate before the 2013 roundup the BLM said there were 823 wild horses, they removed 586,  and they plan to remove 228. Even estimating a 20% population increase this year, this would bring the population below low AML.

In Adobe Town, the AML is 610-800 wild horses. The BLM projected the population to be 624 in 2013, they removed 14 in 2013 and they plan to remove 177, Even estimating a 20% increase in population this year, this would bring the population below low AML.

Currently, the Resource Management Plans for both the Rock Springs and Rawlins Areas are being revised. It is during the Resource Management Revision process that AML can be changed for herd management areas and herd management areas can be changed to herd areas, allowing them to be zeroed out. This process has NOT happened yet…(CONTINUED)

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Action Alert: Easy Way to Save WY Wild Horses

Release and Information provided by The Cloud Foundation

Comments Needed for the Divide Basin Herd

Divide Basin Family ~ photo by Carol Walker

With roundup season starting up again, it is imperative, now more than ever, that we all raise our voices in support of our wild horses and burros. BLM is still soliciting comments for their planned roundup in Divide Basin, a larger herd in southern Wyoming near Rock Springs. We ask that you submit your own comments regarding the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Divide Basin Herd Management Area (HMA). There are gross inadequacies and faulty data utilized in the scope of this EA which will come as no surprise. What is a bit more surprising is the rush to create a non-reproducing herd as an alternative, which is what they want to do to in White Mountain and Little Colorado! If a roundup is conducted this summer, the herd will be reduced to only 415 horses on over 700,000 acres with many of these horses being non-reproducers! The Cloud Foundation’s comments for this EA are available online here. Read on for a sample format!

Comments need to be submitted by Monday, June 20th, no later than the close of business at 4:30 PM Mountain Time. Comments can be submitted via mail at:

Divide Basin EA Comments
BLM Rock Springs Field Office
280 Highway 191 North
Rock Springs, WY 82901

or via email at: DivideBasin_HMA_WY@blm.gov– With “Divide Basin EA Comments” in the subject line.

REMEMBER: Please be sure to use your own words when writing your comments!

Subject: White Mountain/Little Colorado Environmental Assessment Comments

Dear Sir;

I do not support the removal of horses from the Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas and encourage you to select the No Action Alternative. Concluding that only 415 horses can live on this legal Wild Horse Herd Management Area, even though they roam on over 778,000 acres of public lands is truly unacceptable and unfair to the mustangs still living free, and to those of us who would one day like to see them in their natural environment in Wyoming. The idea of including an Alternative that allows for this herd to become a non-reproducing population is also unacceptable as well as dangerous for the horses and costly for those of us who pay your salaries.

I ask that you issue a new EA containing up-to-date, factual, realistic statistics with no discrepancies in acreage, census data, and reproduction rates before making a decision.

When you write your own letter, be sure to include some of the following points:

  • Increase the appropriate management levels (AMLs) and allocate a fair share of forage to wild horses over livestock.
  • BLM needs to address the clearly erroneous data they present for population stats
    • BLM statistics for FY2009 report there were 498 horses in the HMA, and the EA maintains that after a survey in April 2010 that the population was 1,004. This would mean that every horse, including stallions, gave birth and no deaths occurred
    • Using their 20% reproduction rate, a more accurate number of horses in 2011 would be 862 animals, not their estimated 1,640
  • Strongly urge the BLM to eliminate ‘Alternative D,’which would allow every horse to be rounded up and those slated for release would be spayed or gelded, resulting in a dead-end herd that would die out over time – very costly and dangerous for the mares and stallions.
  • Consider predator management as a viable population growth
  • Point out that taxpayers could save almost $500,000 in contractor fees as well as millions more from holding costs by not conducting this roundup!
  • Allow for a truly genetically viable herd with a 50/50 sex ratio
  • Protest the cruelty of removing old horses!

Sincerely,
[Your name]