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

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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Only 3 mares in the trailer?

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

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

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

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Robin comes out of the trailer

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

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Robin looks back at us

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

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Felicity comes out of the trailer

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Felicity looks back at her friend in the trailer

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Felicity finally runs away

Read the rest of this story HERE, including this:

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

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

Link to Daily Gather Reports:

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

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

Source:  Wild Hoofbeats

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

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

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

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

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Moving the mares into the shed to put collars on

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

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The geldings in the front corral know something is going on

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

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Mares that were not collared

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

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Where the collaring was done

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

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

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Tracking device to track collars on the ground

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

Wild Horses: Portrait of the Wild Stallion Tecumseh from McCullough Peaks

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

“It’s ‘Feel Good Sunday’ and our own Carol Walker shares a bitter-sweet wild horse story both through pictures and her words.  Truly stunning and an educational read suited for all audiences.  Enjoy!” ~ R.T.


Click on image to view photos and to read Carol's complete story

Click on image to view photos and to read Carol’s complete story

I have been visiting and photographing the McCullough Peaks Herd in northern Wyoming since the summer of 2004. In June of 2005, I met a plucky, curious yearling colt with extraordinary markings who I later heard was named Tecumseh.

Tecumseh and his family spent their time in the Red Point Area of McCullough Peaks, which is the area most easily accessible from the main road. Sometimes bands of horses would be visible from the highway, and locals and visitors have enjoyed  visiting and following the activities of the horses in the herd. Locals and the BLM give names to the horses. Over time, as I got to know more and more horses in the herd, Tecumseh has always been one of my favorites…(CONTINUED)

Wild Horses – Photographing the Wyoming Checkerboard Horses in Canon City

SOURCE:  wildhoofbeats.com

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

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The beautiful boys 1-4 years old in pen 3 were curious about us

As many of you know, it was quite a process obtaining permission to photograph the wild horses rounded up last month in Wyoming’s Checkerboard Areas who are now in Canon City Short Term Holding at the prison facility.  However, on Monday, no one could have been more helpful and accommodating than Fran Ackley and Brian Hardin, who spent 4 1/2 hours with us, taking us to every pen, and making sure we could get good angles, tag numbers, and good views of the horses.  They want these horses to go to good homes.

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Fran Ackley was an excellent guide

I did my best to photograph as many horses as possible and have their tag numbers visible for people interested in adopting them.  I did not photograph every horse – some were behind other horses, and the sheer number was overwhelming.

You are welcome to download and use the photos for identification purposes and to send to Lona Kossnar, but please respect my copyright and do not use them for anything else without my permission.  You are also welcomed and encouraged to share these with anyone who is interested in adopting a horse or horses.

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Beautiful young mares 1-4 years old in pen 21

 

I have broken the photos down into age groups.

First are the foals and weanlings in this link:

http://www.livingimagescjw.com/CLIENTS/14NovemberCanonCityWeanlings/

Images 1-5 in pen 13A, images 6-57 are in the two adjoining weanling pens, 36C and 36D, images 146-149 are in pen 23.

Then the young mares, ages 1-4 in this link:

http://www.livingimagescjw.com/CLIENTS/14NovemberCanonCityYoungMares/

Images 59-93 are in pen 21, images 94-100 are in pen “No Man’s Land”, images 101-125 are in pen 22 and images 126-145 are in pen 25.

Then the young stallions, (soon to be gelded) ages 1-4 in this link:

http://www.livingimagescjw.com/CLIENTS/14NovemberCanonCityYoungStallions/

Images 150-155 are in pen 8B, images 156-225 are in pens 3 and F, images 226-246 are in pen G.

The older mares, ages 5 and up are here:

http://www.livingimagescjw.com/CLIENTS/14NovemberCanonCityOlderMares/

Images 339-387 are in pen 26, images 388-441 are in pen 18. You may notice hip brands on some of these mares – this is because they were treated with birth control, PZP either in December of 2013 and/or October of 2010.

The older stallions, 5 and up:

http://www.livingimagescjw.com/CLIENTS/14NovemberCanonCityOlderStallions

Images 247-313 and 327-338 are in pens 19b and 19C, images 314-327 are in pen 9.

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2 of the older stallions                                                      Older mares

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Two stunning weanlings, a dun 9135 and a grulla 9133 in pen 36C

 

You can use the neck tag numbers on the horses for identification purposes.

Some notes about the horses – the 9000 numbers are from Great Divide Basin, the 7000 numbers are from Salt Wells Creek and Adobe Town.  They do not list any horses as being from Adobe Town, but there are Adobe Town horses mixed in with the Salt Wells Creek horses.

These are NOT all the horses brought in during the Checkerboard Roundup.  The other 600+ are at Rock Springs Corrals.  They are not ready for adoption there yet.  There are also about 100 weanlings and yearlings and two year olds from Salt Wells Creek that went to Axtell, Utah’s wild burro facility.

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There are no burros in Wyoming, Marjorie, but there are burros at Canon City! Ginger makes a few friends.

Several of us have photos posted of these horses out there, so there is no guarantee that a horse pictured will still be available.  I am not in charge of adoption, I am only the photographer.

The next adoption day event is November 21st (but you can call to adopt at anytime with an approved adoption application). Information about the event, how to find out more about individual horses or to download adoption forms can be found at these links:

http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/BLM_Programs/wild_horse_and_burro.html

https://www.blm.gov/adoptahorse/onsitegallery.php?horseCategory=99

Through the Canon City BLM office, the first 150 miles of shipping is FREE!  There are group shipping options as well for folks that are interested in the horses, but live a distance away.  Please contact the BLM office directly for specifics.

Lona Kossnar at (719) 269-8539, or email her at lkossnar@blm.gov

Please be kind to and patient with Lona – she will have LOTS of folks contacting her and I know she will do her very best to help all of you!

Pam Nickoles was also there photographing and you can view her images here:

(http://www.nickolesphotography.com/f106188461) entitled “Canon City BLM Checkerboard Horses”

And Amanda Wilder, who has images on her Facebook page with each horse identified by tag number:

https://www.facebook.com/amanda.wilder.9/media_set?set=a.956769531003850.1073741848.100000124357258&type=1&pnref=story

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The weather changed just as we were leaving – we had good timing!

 

Wild Horse Photographer Seeks Partners for ‘Galloping to Freedom’ Project

Press Release from LivingImages.com

Carol Walker’s Kickstarter campaign invites supporters to be part of the wild horse solution

America’s wild horse herds are in peril of extinction, but award-winning equine photographer Carol Walker is ready with viable solutions in her new book, Galloping to Freedom: Saving America’s Wild Horses. Through a campaign at web-based fund-raising platform Kickstarter, Walker invites wild horse supporters to be “part of the solution” by helping her print and distribute this important guide to ensuring the future of our legacy animals.

“My contributors can take satisfaction in their role in solving this problem,” says Walker.  “It’s my passion to preserve this important part of our American heritage,” she says. “There are solutions, and I want to get that information to the public.” An astute observer of horses in their natural habitat—and herself an adopter of three mustangs—Walker has made an intensive study of  Wyoming wild horse bands. “These herds are sustainable with reasonable management tools,” she says. “Round-ups ultimately make no sense. They jeopardize the animals’ genetic viability and result in tens of thousands of horses living out their days in miserable holding pens or other inappropriate facilities, at immense taxpayer expense.”

Galloping to Freedom provides pro-active approaches—collaboration, litigation, effective planning and support for sanctuaries—that will change the way the public and land managers resolve the wild horse dilemma. Presenting the serious argument for Walker’s proposed solutions, Galloping to Freedom is also a standout hard-cover coffee table book, filled with Walker’s evocative images of horses in the wild and in sanctuaries, all in vibrant color. Without doubt, Galloping to Freedom engages the reader’s intellect and emotions.

Donors to the Galloping to Freedom project will receive autographed copies of the book, be named in book, web and media acknowledgments, and (depending on the contribution level) will receive signed art prints of images from the book. Contributors can be assured that Walker will produce: She has a significant track record of successful publishing. Her first book, Wild Hoofbeats:  America’s Vanishing Wild Horses, earned numerous awards; her popular second book, Horse Photography: The Dynamic Guide for Horse Lovers, also continues to sell well.

Walker has selected online platform Kickstarter (www.kickstarter.com ) to manage her fundraising campaign. Funding is all-or-nothing; if the project doesn’t earn enough support in a specified time period, the offering is cancelled and no money changes hands. If Walker gains sufficient support, the book will be published in 2012 and will get the urgent message out to people who can help save America’s wild horses. As Walker says, “Time is crucial. Another year passing means more horses will be rounded up, taken from familiar ground and their family bands, and face an uncertain future. This is the right time for this book to reach publication.”

The time frame to support Galloping to Freedom is just 30 days—from now until July 20. Contribute online at http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gallopingtofreedom/galloping-to-freedom-saving-americas-wild-horses . For more information and to contact Carol Walker, visit www.WildHoofbeats.com.