Wild Horse Hater “Dinky” Zinke is a Clown Pretending to be a Cowboy

By Parker Heinlein as published on the Bozeman Daily Chronicle

“Zinke has apparently been tasked with dismantling every environmental safeguard he can…”

Dinky, “Hey, Horsy, I’m gonna have all your wild sisters and brothers SHOT and then we might even BBQ a couple, what do ya think of that?”

When Ryan Zinke was appointed Secretary of the Interior, I had no idea he was such a poser.

It bothered me a bit that he seemed to spend more time at his house in California than at his residence in Montana, but he was a decorated warrior and claimed to be a conservationist in the mold of Teddy Roosevelt.

I thought he might do a good job.

Then he showed up on horseback wearing a cowboy hat for his first day of work and I thought, hmmm, maybe not. This dude could be all hat.

I was right.

Instead of channeling Teddy Roosevelt, Zinke appears to be channeling another westerner, James Watt, Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Interior, who was known as an anti-environmentalist.

Zinke has apparently been tasked with dismantling every environmental safeguard he can, from reducing the size of national monuments to removing regulations on grazing land that protect sage grouse.

At least James Watt never claimed to be something he wasn’t.

Zinke would have us believe he’s a sportsman and actually cares about the land when it’s obvious he doesn’t. He’s simply a do-what-he’s-told kind of guy.

Zinke replaced Sarah Palin as the belle of the pro-development ball, dressed up like a little kid playing cowboy, his mantra little different than her shrill cry of “Drill, baby drill.”

Except he carries it off with a lot more pomp and circumstance. When Zinke is in his office — decorated with stuffed animals he didn’t kill on the walls — a flag is raised by a staffer. When he leaves, the flag is taken down.

Zinke also had a personalized coin minted to hand out to visitors. Secretaries of the Interior have had coins before, but never bearing their names.

I guess he didn’t want anyone to wonder who that clown in the cowboy hat is.

I wanted to think that a Montanan would do good things, would leave a legacy to be proud of, but Zinke is just paving the way to a high-paying lobbying job when his time as secretary comes to an end.

He’s kidding himself if he thinks in any way he embodies Teddy Roosevelt, an independent spirit and passionate hunter if there ever was one.

Zinke is a willing puppet of an administration that likes to dress him up like a cowboy and watch him dance.

He’s fine pretending he’s something he isn’t and seems to be fine with what he is — an embarrassment to Montana.

Running out of Lobbyists to Hire, “Dinky” Zinke Turns to Land Transfer Zealots for Top Interior Posts

by as published on Western Values Project

“…he is shaping the BLM to overwhelmingly favor the oil and gas industry at the expense of Western public lands…”

This week has seen leaders in the land seizure movement gaining traction at the Interior Department. Brian Steed, the former Chief of Staff to leading land seizure advocate Utah Congressman Chris Stewart, was appointed the acting director of the Bureau of Land Management. Meanwhile, Karen Budd-Falen, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s top pick to become the permanent head of BLM, will bring her land seizure road show to Hamilton, Montana today.

Plus, a scathing profile on James Carson, the associate deputy secretary at Interior, revealed how he is shaping the BLM to overwhelmingly favor the oil and gas industry at the expense of Western public lands. According to The Nation, “He wrote the Federal Register notice announcing the department’s controversial review of 27 national monuments, and he has been granted virtual carte blanche to set policy as it relates to the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”

Zinke Accountability Roundup:

Today, Politico’s cartoonists married the growing influence of the oil and gas industry at Interior with Zinke’s zeal for changing the department’s flag. Yesterday, The Washington Post exposed Zinke’s reckless and ethically questionable flying habits. On Tuesday, Huffington Post detailed his affinity for using taxpayer money for interior design à la taxidermy. Meanwhile, Sen. Dick Durbin is still not happy with Zinke’s national monuments review.

Department of Interior Roundup:

A former Interior employee is suing the department for refusing to release information concerning his own reassignment and that of several of his former colleagues. Meanwhile, a Senate staffer offered inside information on the likely reduction of Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. While information continues to leak out, the review process has been largely hidden from the public thus far.

Trivia: What current Interior nominee vocally supported drilling off the Virginia coastline while serving as Virginia’s Secretary of Natural Resources?

A)    Doug Domenech

B)    Jason Larrabee

C)    Aurelia Skipwith

D)    Austin Ewell

Answer: A) Doug Domenech! Currently the nominee for Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Insular Affairs, Domenech called the potential Atlantic oil reserves like “‘looking at a bunch of Christmas gifts that are wrapped.’” Read more about him here.

Interior Decorator: “Dinky” Zinke’s Push To Redesign Flags And Accessorize With Dead Animals

Urgent: Our Horse Nation Needs YOUR Help

Our nation is at a critical juncture and America’s wild horses and burros are in the crossfire. Following the troubling news that the President’s budget request for 2018 would strip federal protections for wild horses and burros and put over 80,000 healthy wild horses at risk for slaughter, wild horses are now in danger more than ever before. We were deeply troubled to discover that dangerous language that would reopen the door for horse slaughter was quietly inserted into the U.S. House’s massive spending bill for next year’s budget.

Click (HERE) to join Wild Horse Freedom Federation, The CANA Foundation and many other wild horse and burro advocacy groups in taking ACTION to save the last of the few herds that still remain alive and free!

House Committee Chairman Attacks Reporter for Doing His Job

By Greg Zimmerman as published on Medium’s Westwise

Rep. Rob Bishop goes after Washington Post’s accurate account of Bishop’s legislative agenda

Utah Congressman Rob Bishop, chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, has made no secrets about his disdain for America’s foundational conservation laws.

On the Endangered Species Act: “I would be happy to invalidate [it].”

On the Antiquities Act: “It is the most evil act ever invented.”

On the Land and Water Conservation Fund: it is a “slush fund” and we should instead “plow some money back into [the oil and gas industry] to make sure that it’s there.”

(See the bottom of this post for for a summary of each law and its importance to American conservation.)

Even though these positions are extremely unpopular with voters across the West and the American public, Congressman Bishop has built his political career proudly working to undermine national public lands and weakening or invalidating a slew of environmental laws.

That’s why it was so bizarre when the House Natural Resources Committee personally attacked a Washington Post reporter for simply writing a story about Rep. Bishop’s agenda. Darryl Fears, a reporter with more than three decades in the news business, published a piece about the congressman’s work on the Endangered Species Act. The article is summarized by the story’s headline:

Fears is reporting on the five pieces of legislation (HR 717, HR 3131, HR 1274, HR 2603, HR 424) that Rep. Bishop has moved through his committee to accomplish the stated goal of defanging and, ultimately, “invalidating” the Endangered Species Act.

Rather than owning his agenda, Rep. Bishop and his staff at the House Natural Resources Committee decided to attack Fears and his reporting. In its weekly email blast — The Source — the committee doesn’t dispute the accuracy of Fears’ story, but nonetheless accuses him of “fervently [swallowing] the tired shticks of the radical Left.”…(CONTINUED)

View story at Medium.com

Scandals Pile up for Interior Secretary Zinke

by Rebecca Worby as published on HCN.org

“This article does a very good job of chronicling the current and ever growing list of  ‘Dinkie’ Zinke’s indiscretions and questionable behavior but it falls short of describing his checkered and horse hating past.  We will bring information forward that provide verification that Dinkie does not only hold disdain in his heart for the American tax payer but also harbors a sick blood-lust for our equine companions be they domestic or wild.  He needs to be removed from his position before he forever damages the beauty of our public lands and the wild life that lives therein, he has got to go.” ~ R.T.


Ryan Zinke faces a range of accusations, and some investigations are underway.

In recent weeks, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has taken a lot of heat for his decisions. Conservation groups have lambasted him over the secretiveness of his department’s monuments review. The final review has yet to be made public, though a draft of the report leaked to the press in September. Conservationists have also critiqued his moves to undo years of collaborative planning for sage grouse protection.

Amid all this, several events have come to light that raise questions about Zinke’s ethical practices. The now-revoked Whitefish Energy contract for grid repair in Puerto Rico — though the tiny firm hails from his hometown, Zinke denies any involvement — is only the latest example. Some of his rumored transgressions have quickly dissipated; for example, he reportedly laughed off claims that he threatened Alaska senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan before a health care vote. He tweeted a photo of himself and Murkowski sharing beers a few days later. But some of the controversies — including allegations that Zinke has mixed professional and personal business, dodged campaign finance laws and generally demonstrated dubious ethics — have led watchdog groups to call for investigations. Here are the Zinke scandals we’re watching…(CONTNUED)

Click the link to read more about Dinkie Zinke and his exploits:

http://www.hcn.org/articles/scandals-pile-up-for-interior-secretary-zinke

Stop the Execution Order for Wild Horses and Burros

In Defense of Animals has produced a one click means of contacting your U.S. Senators

Photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild horses and burros are facing the greatest peril since the mid twentieth century, when hundreds of thousands were run down or shot from helicopters and made into pet food. The government is now making moves to gut legal protections intended to stop mass wild horse killings so they can kill wild equines and push them to the brink of extinction. We can’t let this happen!

The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burros Act gives wild horses and burros the right to live freely on public lands, but they now occupy only a small fraction, while cows and sheep are grazed by ranchers on the vast majority. The Bureau of Land Management has removed wild equines from 22 million acres historically designated for their use and continues the relentless roundups that are dangerous for horses and expensive for taxpayers. This failed policy causes population spikes and leads to more suffering.

The majority of Americans oppose equine slaughter and want wild horses and burros to be protected, not eradicated.

In July, the House Appropriations Committee flaunted the will of the people under the guise of cost-saving and “population control.” It approved an amendment by Representative Chris Stewart of Utah that authorizes “euthanizing” healthy wild horses and burros, unlimited selling of those held captive including sending them to slaughterhouses, and lethally removing “excess” wild horses on the range.

In essence, the House version of the 2018 budget bill for the Department of Interior calls for government-sponsored extinction of wild horses and burros.

Lawmakers who approved the mass horse execution are doing the bidding of the ranchers, extractive industry executives, and trophy hunters who want to use more and more of our public lands for their private gain. This rich, greedy lobby put its muscle and money into persuading House members to choose eradication and slaughter.

Supporters of In Defense of Animals and allied advocate organizations have spoken up, but we are in an uphill fight. In a few days, the Senate Appropriations Committee will decide whether or not America’s wild horses and burros will fall victims to this despicable plan. We can make a difference with bold, timely action!

What you can do:

 

 

1) If your senator is on the Appropriations Committee, please call his/her office. If your state is not represented on the committee, call one of more of the key senators starred. State your name, telephone number and organization you’re affiliated with, if any. Be courteous and respectful.

You may wish to say:

Wild horses and burros are living memorials to our history and love of freedom. They do not deserve to pay with their lives for government mismanagement. Americans do not want to go back to the days of mass extermination.

Please reject the House-passed Stewart amendment language. I ask you to maintain the Congressional ban on killing or euthanizing healthy wild horses and burros and on unlimited sales of captive animals. We want solutions, not slaughter!

Senator

Phone

(CHAIR) Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)  202-224-5054
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL)  202-224-5744
* Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)  202-224-6665
Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) 202-224-4843
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)  202-224-3841
Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT)  202-224-4041
Sen. Chris Coons (D-DE)  202-224-5042
* Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) 202-224-3041
Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HW)  202-224-3934
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL)  202-224-2152
Sen. Jerry Moran (R-KS)  202-224-6521
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  202-224-2541
Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA)  202-224-4623
* Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)  202-224-2523
Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)  202-224-4654
Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO)  202-224-5721
Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT)  202-224-2644
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT)  202-224-2651
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH)  202-224-2841
* (RANKING) Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) 202-224-6621
Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND)  202-224-2551
Sen. James Lankford (R-OK)  202-224-5754
* Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR)  202-224-3753
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)  202-224-4642
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC)  202-224-5972
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)  202-224-4944
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 202-224-0238
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)  202-224-2621
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) 202-224-5653
Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)  202-224-6472
Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)  202-224-3954

Click (HERE) to go to Letter

https://secure2.convio.net/ida/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=3124

Along with Wanting to Slaughter America’s Wild Horses and Burros, Ryan Zinke is Erasing ‘Public’ from Lands He’s Meant to Guard

as published in The Seattle Times

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s actions show his priority is to fossil-fuels companies and whether they will be able to profitably access the public lands they’ve long relied on for cheap natural resources.

‘Dinky’ Zinke, “I’ve had a hankering to slaughter those wild horses and burros for years. Just check my past record, it speaks for itself you turkeys.”

Shortly after taking office in March, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke declared his department would work on increasing access to America’s public lands. This sounded laudable — of course it should be easier for Americans to visit and enjoy our forests, mountains, deserts and rivers. But there was a catch: Secretary Zinke wasn’t really interested in making it easier for families to visit our public lands, only in greasing the skids for the industries that exploit those same lands.

Last week the National Park Service announced it intends to raise the entrance fees at the 17 most popular national parks to $70 per vehicle starting next year. This would almost triple the entry fee to Mount Rainier and Olympic national parks, the two parks in our state that would be impacted. The price of a weeklong entry pass for a noncommercial vehicle would go up to an astounding $70 under the proposal, from the current $25.

This proposal, if implemented, will be a de facto barrier to entry for many of us wishing to visit some of the country’s grandest landscapes. National Parks visitation already skews whiter and older than the general population. The Interior Department has acknowledged this must change if our national park system is to remain relevant. But raising entrance fees by 180 percent will only further skew the demographics of park visitation.

Two other moves by Zinke show he is worried whether fossil fuels companies will be able to profitably access the public lands they’ve long relied on for cheap natural resources.

Back in March, Zinke rescinded the federal moratorium on coal leases on public land. The halt had no effect on existing coal leases or mining but prohibited the Interior Department from offering new leases. The moratorium had been put in place last year by Sally Jewell, the previous Interior Secretary under President Barack Obama, so that the department could evaluate coal’s impact on climate change (40 percent of U.S. coal comes from public lands).

Zinke, however, scoffed at the notion of a societal cost of carbon and claimed the moratorium was unnecessary. He quickly cleared this impediment to coal companies’ access to the resource under public lands.

Then, in August, he repealed an Obama administration rule that ended a scam coal, oil and gas companies had long relied on to make deceitfully small royalty payments to the federal treasury.

The rule put an end to the practice of these companies extracting natural resources from public lands, selling the resources to affiliated companies at artificially small markups, and then having the affiliates resell the materials at a substantially higher price. Royalties paid to the public were calculated on the low initial sales price to the affiliates rather than on the price of the resource on the open market.

After receiving “numerous comments from the regulated community,” Zinke repealed the rule. Fossil-fuels companies can once again shortchange the public out of its royalties.

What truly rankles about Zinke’s selective concern for public-lands access is that the additional revenues raised from jacking up park entrance fees would be more than lost by canceling the rule that had fixed the royalty scam. Interior estimates higher entrance fees would raise an additional $70 million, while Taxpayers for Common Sense has calculated lost annual revenue from reopening the royalty loophole at $75 million.

We can expect to see more examples of this one-sided concern for public lands access. Last month came reports that President Donald Trump will follow through on Zinke’s recommendation to shrink Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. Shrinking the monuments would open up additional public lands to fossil-fuels development while doing nothing to make those lands more accessible to the general public.

Be aware, when Zinke talks of improving public access to federal lands, he has an extremely narrow subset of the public in mind.

 What can we do? The good news is there’s still time for the public to fight back the proposed fee increase, as the National Park Service is taking comments until Nov. 23. More broadly, Congress needs to prohibit the Department of the Interior from giving special access to the fossil-fuels industries through rules that enable and encourage profiteering on our public lands.

Wild Horse & Burro Slaughter Endorser, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Is Embroiled In More Than One Scandal

by as published on ThinkProgress.org

“It started with trying to legalize horse slaughter plants in his home state and has only gone down hill from there…”

Dinky Zinke asks; “Filly Fillet in this hand and Bucking Bronc Burger in this hand, which would you pick?”

A controversial contract benefiting a small company based in his hometown is only the latest possible corruption scandal linked to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, who has come under fire for his spending habits as well as his connections to special interests and potential misuse of campaign funds.

On Monday, nonprofit watchdog group the Campaign Legal Center (CLC) accused Zinke’s dormant congressional campaign of dodging rules prohibiting individuals from converting political donations into individual revenue. According to an official Federal Election Commission complaint, the campaign allegedly purchased an RV from Zinke’s wife, then sold it to a friend at a steeply discounted price a year later, lowering the car’s price from $59,100 to $25,000. The recipient, Ed Buttrey, is a Montana state senator rumored to be in the running to be nominated Interior assistant secretary.

The CLC cited the RV sale along with Zinke’s earlier hotel stays in the Virgin Islands and New York — trips he took on the Interior Department’s dime — as possible efforts to skirt federal contribution campaign rules.

“When you combine the disregard for campaign finance laws when Zinke was a candidate with the disregard that Zinke as Interior secretary has shown for the ethics laws, you certainly get a picture of an individual who may not be taking his responsibilities as an officeholder seriously,” said Brendan Fischer, who submitted the complaint on behalf of the CLC.

Zinke’s other ethical close-calls, as the CLC noted, are plentiful.

Last week, a two-person for-profit private company from Zinke’s hometown of Whitefish, Montana secured a $300 million contract to help rebuild Puerto Rico. The U.S. territory has struggled for over a month following a devastating hurricane and much of the island stills lacks access to power and water. But many officials questioned the decision to award Whitefish Energy Holdings the contract and even the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) criticized the deal. The company eventually lost the contract amid “significant concerns” about its ability to adequately perform necessary relief work, as well as increasing scrutiny and calls from Puerto Rico’s governor, Ricardo Rosselló, to cancel the deal. An audit of the deal is underway on both a federal and local level.

Zinke has denied any connection to the contract, blaming the growing scandal on coastal elitism and a bias against small towns.

“I had absolutely nothing to do with Whitefish Energy receiving a contract in Puerto Rico,” the interior secretary wrote in a statement on Friday.

“Any attempts by the dishonest media or political operatives to tie me to awarding of influencing any contract involving Whitefish [Energy Holdings] are completely baseless,” Zinke continued. “Only in elitist Washington, D.C., would being from a small town be considered a crime.”

But the Whitefish controversy has very little to do with the small town roots of Whitefish Energy Holdings and far more to do with alarm over possible corruption. Zinke has been connected to a number of other scandals — many of them ongoing and drawing increasing scrutiny.

As the overseer of approximately 500 million acres across the United States, Zinke plays a crucial role in crafting President Trump’s domestic climate policy. Under Trump’s budget, the Department of the Interior faces steep cuts, including an 80 percent reduction in funding for climate efforts.

Zinke himself has taken an apathetic approach to climate change and environmental protection on a broader level. He has called the Paris climate agreement — signed by virtually every country in the world apart from embattled Syria — a “badly negotiated deal” and has supported Trump’s decision to leave the landmark decision. He has also questioned the impact of climate change — claiming that “no models” exist proving the phenomenon’s impact on the planet — and sought to heavily downsize national monuments, despite outcry from activists and indigenous tribes.

As a Montana congressman, Zinke took thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from oil and gas companies, many of whom drill on the same public lands he now oversees. Zinke received a total of $345,000 between 2013 and 2017 from donors like these, with one oil-and-gas executive giving the now-secretary as much as $11,600, according to Federal Election Commission data. These numbers have caused many to worry Zinke’s stances are being shaped by oil, gas, and coal lobbyists, as well as by climate skeptics more generally.

The secretary’s lavish trips are also alarming watchdog groups. This summer, Zinke took a $12,375 chartered flight from Las Vegas to an area near his Montana home, when a commercial equivalent would have cost around $300. That trip was aboard a private plane owned by a Wyoming oil-and-gas exploration firm, once again concerning climate activists.

In March, Zinke also took a taxpayer-funded trip to the aforementioned U.S. Virgin Islands, where he attended a Republican Party fundraiser and donors paid up to $5,000 per couple for a photo with the secretary. That event was one of many Zinke attended with major donors and other political figures on Interior Department-funded trips, according to documents reviewed by Politico.

Earlier this month, 26 House Democrats wrote in a letter that Zinke’s trips “give the appearance that you are mixing political gatherings and personal destinations with official business.” Other figures have also expressed concern — Zinke’s Virgin Islands trip, which are mentioned in its complaint, attracted CLC’s attention three weeks ago.

“This activity constitutes impermissible solicitation of political contributions if event organizers conditioned the opportunity to take a photograph with Secretary Zinke on paying a higher fee,” CLC’s senior director for ethics, Walter Shaub, wrote to the Justice Department’s Office of Special Council. Shaub requested a Hatch Act investigation in order to determine whether Zinke violated rules restricting federal employees from partisan political events and dealings.

Monday’s complaint comes amid a Special Counsel investigation into Zinke’s spending habits, as well as a separate investigation opened by Interior Department’s inspector general.

Audits into Puerto Rico’s canceled contract with Whitefish Energy Holdings are also ongoing.

https://thinkprogress.org/zinke-scandals-papertrail-26c2e725f345/

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A Biologist’s View on Wild Horse and Burro Fake News

Commentary by Robert Bauer

“…any devastation of western rangelands, is due rather to an overpopulation of cattle, which have been found to outnumber the wild horses 100 to 1…”

photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

As a biologist, I have been involved in documenting the issues concerning this nation’s wild horses for years, along with many others. While keeping in mind the emotional effect that the wild horses have on millions, both in a negative and positive way, I have also devoted myself to understanding and communicating, from an objective and scientific standpoint, the truth about wild equine. Nature has proven herself to be able to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance, untouched and unmanaged, if allowed, without artificial intervention by mankind. This, also incorporates this nation’s wild horses. Wild horses and burros are not overpopulated as many have attested, nor are they a detriment, but rather an overwhelming benefit. On our western rangelands, indeed, any devastation of western rangelands, is due rather to an overpopulation of cattle, which have been found to outnumber the wild horses 100 to 1.

Photographic evidence has shown that the grazing habits of cattle, coupled with their physiological makeup, has caused an uprooting of vegetation, as well as the destruction of riparian habitats and other water sites. This in turn has had a destructive effect on wildlife, including the wild horses who use these same natural resources. The positive effects of wild horses on our western rangelands can be understood by reflecting on these following truths.

1. It must be realized that nature through its own mechanisms is fully able to maintain natural ecological balance, without human intervention. It does this through physiological differences, found within each species inside any given ecosystem. Each of those differences, contribute as a vital factor in a broad ecological equation, allowing each species, including wild equine to fill a vital niche in the balance of nature. It also accomplishes this through the numbers or density of any given species of animal or plant within that system, in conjunction with competitive species, and the carrying capacity of the land. Sterilization and or contraceptives have been proposed to check wild equine population growth disregarding the presence of its predators, natural environmental factors, and competitive grazers. Natural predation and environmental impacts are vital in regulating the numbers of ungulates and ruminants alike in any given area. Density dependent inhibition, however, must not be ruled out and plays an important role as well. In this scenario, the numbers or density of wild equine, versus competing ruminants, as the pronghorn antelope, will each fluctuate in response to the other based upon the carrying capacity of the land, yet always in perfect balance. The Pronghorn and other ruminants, therefore, need the presence of wild horses and burros and vice versa. Each population will have the effect of keeping the numbers of another competing population at levels that are ideal for the carrying capacity of the land. As an added note, it is deep in my heart to convey the truth that nature through its own mechanisms is fully able to maintain natural ecological balance, without human intervention to adjust it, even though it is necessary to monitor nature, communicate those facts, for the purposes of adjusting mankind to accommodate nature so that it can be itself.

2. Within the physiological and behavioral makeup of the wild horses and burros, there also exist what could be called self-regulating mechanisms. These mechanisms serve to govern reproduction and subsequent population growth or the lack thereof. An increase in the gestation period of wild horses, (delayed implantation), and spontaneous abortion come into play during periods of environmental stress within a system, as well as selective breeding by a stallion within a band, if indeed the stallion breeds at all. In short, environmental stress has the overall effect of limiting reproduction. Added to this are annual mortality rates established in a NAS study which range between 14% to 50% in wild horses up to 1 year, and 5% to 25% for horses older than this. These above mechanisms do, indeed maintain the proper density of wild horses in any given area, perfectly, in balance with competitive grazers and predators. It does this without sterilization, without the PZP contraceptive, and without roundups. It therefore establishes at any given time, nature’s own appropriate management levels, levels which nature adjusts continually, based on the above biological factors.

3. Also, what must be understood is that nature is dynamic, and not static. This infers that it continuously fluctuates and adjusts itself, through its own feedback loops, from the molecular, all the way up the scale of organisms. Because it is dynamic and not static means that its functions cannot be confined to finite thinking, and fixed statistics but must be allowed, through its own mechanisms to maintain itself, hands off, so to speak. In other words, nature cannot be limited at any given time to a given number, or average of numbers, that mankind deems appropriate. An example of this is the Bureau of Land Management’s, “Appropriate Management Level”, of wild horses in their legally designated lands. Mankind’s sole responsibility must be focused on keeping the restrictions off nature, so that nature can be itself, and not an offspring of man’s seemingly brilliance. The moment mankind seeks to alter nature according to a fixed number, or an average of numbers, is the moment that nature and balance itself begins to break down. At first it occurs little by little, yet as artificial alteration persists, the breakdowns become greater and greater. This has occurred in every branch of nature, where mankind has endeavored to manage natural balance, assuming nature to be static and not dynamic.

4. Another issue that must be considered is that the numbers of the wild horses remaining in the wild are not even in the teens of thousands anymore, contrary to the assertions to the contrary. This statement may seem bold yet is based upon Bureau of Land Management statistics, factoring in reproduction, PZP, adjustment of sex ratios, and the thousands of wild horses and burros that have been continually removed. Factored in also, are mortality rates, already mentioned above, both first year and adult, that nature herself applies. These issues combined, have driven numbers in most areas out west down to levels where genetic viability has been compromised and far below total numbers that the BLM have stated as still existing in the wild. Also, with continued use of the PZP contraceptive, population growth will be driven down even further. Reproduction will continue to decrease dramatically because of PZP, but mortality percentages will remain the same. With the use of the contraceptives, or sterilization methods, therefore, mortality will completely overwhelm reproduction, accelerating population decline in our wild equine.

5. It is said by some that because of the vast removals, nature compensates with a population explosion of wild horses, serving to reinforce the elevated population claims. Incorporated into this thought, are low levels of predators, in many areas. It must be remembered, however, that the varied mechanisms of ecological balance do not work independently of each other, but always in concert. Where one mechanism may lack, as the predators, other facets of balance will engage more vigorously yet always governed by the carrying capacity of the land. Predator, Prey studies and statistics have consistently affirmed that predator numbers and prey numbers follow each other. Simply speaking, when prey numbers are high, nature compensated by increased numbers of predator species. The opposite is true also. When predator species decrease, density dependent inhibition engages more vigorously, causing the prey species, in this case wild horses, to reach a limit based upon the carrying capacity of the land, and then decrease in number. Equine mortality on the range, as mentioned above is shown to be very high in the first year of life, not to mention adult mortality, again not all by predators. This and common sense reproductive facts of wild horses, oppose every allegation of population explosions in wild horses.

6. The free roaming habits and social behavior of the wild horses and burros, allow them to harmoniously coexist with every competing ruminant. Their physiological makeup coupled with continual movements have a revitalizing effect on soil and vegetation. This in turn positively impacts other grazers, and subsequently predators as well, who prey upon them. The presence of wild equine in a multitude of ecosystems has proven to result in a beneficial cascade effect, rejuvenating entire areas where they have been reintroduced, both in terms of flora and fauna. This has been documented in many geographical locations throughout the world. Noting these indisputable facts, the wild horses and burros can without question be considered a keystone species. Removing our native equine from their legally designated areas and or tampering with their numbers has and will continue to have a reverse and detrimental effect on our western rangelands.

Conclusion. The answer to ecological balance, therefore, in our western ranges doesn’t lie in experimentation, sterilizations, contraceptives, adjustment of ratios, the institution of removals, or mass euthanasia. The answer lies in the termination of all roundups and a release of the wild horses and burros, in holding facilities, back into the areas from where they were taken. All that is necessary for a “Thriving Natural Ecological Balance”, is to keep the restrictions off nature, and allow her to regulate herself untouched.

The wild horses and burros will continue as the powerful symbol of this nation’s freedom, yet vital components of ecological balance if, and only if, we allow nature alone, through its own dynamic methods to dictate the numbers in the wild that are to exist, at any given time.

Robert C. Bauer
Biologist