Please Comment to Protect Wyoming’s Wild Horses from the Devastating 2017 Checkerboard Roundup

Source:  wildhoofbeats.com

Adobe Town Family

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

Please Comment by April 4, 2017 on the Checkerboard 2017 Roundup

The BLM was unable to roundup wild horses from Salt Wells Creek, Adobe Town and Great Divide Basin in 2016 because we won a lawsuit that prohibits the BLM from managing the wild horses in the Checkerboard using only Section 4 of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which allows them to remove wild horses from private lands.  Because the Checkerboard includes public lands, it is illegal to manage them as if they were privately owned by the ranchers demanding these roundups.  In order to legally roundup wild horses from the Checkerboard, the BLM must prove that the numbers are above Appropriate Management Level, or AML.  Now, they are not even conducting a census to prove this, instead they are “projecting” that the horses are over the high end of AML.

Roundups cause the destruction of hundreds of wild horse families, as well as injuries and death to the horses as they are chased by helicopters and flee in terror into traps.  These captured wild horses are chased into trailers and taken away from the only home they have ever had to end up spending the rest of their days languishing in holding corrals with no shelter.  Only a lucky few are adopted by members of the public and these do not always mean good homes – the return rate back to the BLM for adopted or purchased wild horses is over 50%.  Many many of these horses will end up at slaughter in Mexico.  There is no good reason to roundup and remove these horses from Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin.

I have been following and observing and photographing the wild horses in these three herd management areas for the last 13 years. These horses are uniquely suited to this sometime harsh high desert environment.  They are the last three largest herds in Wyoming, and they deserve to be preserved on our public lands.  Although the Checkerboard presents challenges to BLM management because of its pattern of public alternating with private lands, that is no reason to cave into petty demands from the Rock Springs Grazing Association, which is made up from less than 25 members.  These wild horses are valuable to us, the American public, and so every effort must be made to preserve them here where they were found at the time the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act was passed.  These horses were here long before the Grazing Association, and now what needs to happen is land swaps to consolidate blocks of public land that the horses can continue to roam upon.  Managing the wild horses on the range, on our public lands where they can continue to roam free and making these necessary land swaps happen is what the BLM needs to be working on, not perpetuating this every 3 year pattern of roundup, removal, then warehouse our wild horses.  The Field Manager of the Rock Springs BLM Field Office has been quoted as saying: “For all intents and purposes, we consider the Checkerboard private.”  But it is NOT private.  In fact, over half of the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas are public land, that belongs to us, the citizens of the United States of America, not the Rock Springs Grazing Association.

Great Divide Basin Family

This time, the BLM wants to remove 1029 wild horses: 584 removed from Salt Wells Creek, 210 removed from Adobe Town, and 235 removed from Great Divide Basin.

They are not even calculating their numbers from an actual aerial census – they are making these numbers up.  Every year, the BLM conducts and aerial census in late April, but now they are just “projecting” the numbers.

Read the rest of this article and find out how YOU can comment HERE.

Wild horses face extinction in Namibia

Namibia is a country in southern Africa.

Source:  namibian.com.na

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

Namib wild horses face extinction

by Staff Reporter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the rest of this article here.

 

 

Myths and Facts about Wild Horses and Burros

Stallion of Antelope Valley HMA ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

by Bonnie Kohleriter

MYTH 1   26,500 wild horses and burros are to be on our public lands in 10 states, as that number was on our public lands in 1971 when the Wild Horse and Burro Law was passed.  Wild horses and burros are in AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, and WY.

FACT 1  No census of numbers of wild horses and burros was done in 1971 when the Law was passed in December of that year.  The 1971 Law did not say the number of wild horses and burros that could be on our public lands.  26,500 is an arbitrary, non-evidenced based number.

MYTH 2  Wild horses and burros are on our public lands everywhere and they are destroying our public lands.

FACT 2  The BLM manages 245 M acres of our public lands.  About 3 M livestock are on 160 M acres, wildlife is everywhere, and wild horses and burros are limited to 29 M acres in areas called Herd Management Areas (HMAs).  Within the HMAs about 400,000 livestock that reside here as well are allocated 82% of the forage while the wild horses and burros are assigned 17%.  In 1971 the wild horses and burros were in Herd Areas (HAs), but the BLM said those areas were too difficult to manage so they drew circles within the HAs and called them HMAs.  Unbeknown to the animals where the boundaries are when they go into HA land, they are fodder to be removed without question.

MYTH 3  The BLM has 177 herd management areas (HMAs) for wild horses and burros giving the illusion horses and burros are in those areas.

FACT 3  The BLM has only 160 HMAs where wild horses and burros are now found.  The other areas don’t have any horses or burros in them, or are part of the military or forest service or are double counted.  The BLM had 339 HMAs initially, but little by little has zeroed them out.

MYTH 4  The BLM sets “Appropriate Management Levels” (AMLs) for the wild horses and burros in each area.  It sets a low number at which the animals should be and allows them to breed to a higher number after which it gathers, removes and reduces the animals to the low number again.  The overall low number is 17, 810 and the high number is 27,500.

FACT 4  “Appropriate” is inappropriate.  Allowing only 17,810 horses and burros in 160 areas in 10 western states is a species that is threatened or endangered.

MYTH 5  The BLM says it strives to have healthy horses on healthy rangelands.

FACT 5  Dr. Gus Cothran, the retained geneticist for the Wild Horse and Burro Program, says the following: Conservation geneticists maintain a minimum of 150-200 animals is needed in a herd with 50 effective breeding animals to have sufficient genetic variability for continued long term viability.  Of these herds, only 28 herds have 150-200+ horses allowed in them, and of these herds, only 3 herds have 150-200+ burros allowed in them.  In other words, 82% of the herds don’t have appropriate allowable numbers in them for continued health and viability.

MYTH 6  The herd members intermingle with the herd members in other herds so the individual numbers within a herd don’t matter.

FACT 6  Intermingling of the herds has not been scientifically researched and validated, and established by the BLM.

MYTH 7  Horses and burros can be imported from other herds to sustain genetic viability.

FACT 7  The 1971 Law says the horses are supposed to be “where found.”

MYTH 8  The BLM strives to have a “thriving, natural, ecological balance” on our public lands with a multiple use mandate.

FACT 8  The wild horses and burros are not a thriving species, the arbitrary numbers are not natural, and the numbers are not in balance, (27,000 vs. 400,000) in the ecological environment in which they are to be distributed.  The National Academy of Sciences addressed this Myth in 2013, in Chapter 7 of its report, Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program.

MYTH 9  The BLM asserted 67,000 wild horses and burros were on our public lands in 2016 and 47,000 were in off the range holding facilities.  The number of livestock within the 27 M acres needs to stay there as they feed the world.  The number of livestock have been reduced by 35% from 1971-2014.

FACT 9  Livestock within the HMAs provide less than ½ of 1% of the United States meat.  The number of livestock have been reduced due to overgrazing and drought.  Cow/calf size has increased by 1 ½, offsetting the reduction in number of allowable livestock.  Though ways of counting wild horses and burros have improved, counting continues to be a challenge.  Reducing the number of livestock only within the HMAs and increasing the number of allowable wild horses and burros has not been explored.  The Cattlemen’s Association and now the Gas, Oil, and Mining Industries are powerful competitors and lobbyists for our public lands on which the wild horses and burros depend.

MYTH 10  The BLM is mandated by the 1971 Law to manage, protect, and control the wild horses and burros on our public lands.

FACT 10  Look at the BLM’s budget.  The BLM, unlike wildlife and livestock groups, does ever so little to manage and protect the wild horses and burros on our public lands.  The BLM doesn’t tend to water, forage, or space (fence) issues.  The BLM’s focus is on control, hiring contractors to gather and remove animals, hiring contractors to house animals off the range in short-term corrals or in long-term pastures, hiring contractors to move animals around the country for adoptions, and hiring administrators to complete the paperwork.

The BLM does not engage in using fertility control treatment (PZP) as a way to keep the wild horses and burros on the range though volunteers stand ready to help.  Up to now only four small herds have used this control method but now five more larger herds  are involved in its use.  In 2013, 509 horses received PZP, in 2014, 384, and in 2015, 469, paltry numbers.  The BLM does not engage in promoting recreational tourism on the range which could and would bring in money and in which volunteers stand ready to help.  The BLM has considered sterilizing mares but the procedures are dangerous for the mares and foals and the BLM is researching geldings to be used in on the range horse and burro herds.

MYTH 11  The National Advisory Board of the Wild Horse and Burro Program and the horse advocates on the 9 Regional Advisory Councils are available to advise on what is best for the future of the wild horses and burros.

FACT 11  The advisory board members are people with livestock, wildlife and land interests, not with wild horse and burro interests.  They are cattlemen and livestock vets.  They are not horse and burro geneticists, equine vets, biologists and ecologists, recreational entrepreneurs, volunteer coordinators.

This is a broken program in need of change and a different direction.  This is a program that needs to focus on ways to retain wild horses and burros on our public lands in controlled but healthy numbers, and to focus on providing them with adequate water, forage, and space.

Wild horses evolved in the Americas.  They left during the Ice Age 10,000 years ago and were domesticated in Europe.  They were brought back to the Americas and were left to be wild again when automation was introduced.  They were used to settle our country and to fight our wars in WW1 and WW2.  Today, they are symbols of our past of the Wild Wild West.  They are symbols of our freedom. We as Americans are charged to be stewards of them.  They need to be managed and protected on our public lands,  controlled in genetically healthy numbers, and when those goals are met, in my opinion, then given fertility control treatment.

Judge tells BLM that horse roundup plan needs more review

Wyoming Wild Horses at Rick ~ photo courtesy of Carol Walker

Good going on this one, Friends of Animals.

Source:  Gillettenewsrecord.com

Horse roundup plan needs more review

CHEYENNE — A federal judge in Cheyenne has ordered the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to re-evaluate plans for a wild horse roundup in central Wyoming.

U.S. District Judge Nancy Freudenthal told the BLM on Monday to reconsider how the roundup would affect wild horses with traits inherited from horses used by Spanish explorers and settlers hundreds of years ago.

The BLM planned to round up more than 2,000 wild horses from an area one-third the size of Yellowstone National Park.  The agency says wild horses have overpopulated the area.

Read the rest of the article here.

3,600 wild horses shot down in mass aerial killing in northern Australia

Source:  express.co.uk

SLAUGHTER: 3,600 wild horses shot down in mass animal cull because they ‘damage nature’

photo:  Getty

RANGERS have shot down roughly 20 per cent of the wild animals of Kakadu Park, a Unesco world heritage site in the Australian Northern Territory, because the animals could cause ‘damage’ to the region.

Some 3,652 wild horses were shot from a helicopter by a team of rangers in the Australian national park.A further 1,965 buffalo, 294 pigs as well as some donkeys were slaughtered in the ariel culling.Much of the land, which was fully listed as a UNESCO site in 1992, is still owned by aboriginal Bininj and Mungguy people who have been rooted in the land for tens of thousands of years.
But park officials claim the mass culling – the biggest since 2009 when 7,000 so-called-pests were killed – was necessary to protect the “sensitive ecosystem” of Kakadu.Park manager Pete Cotsell said: “There has been a rising appetite to reduce the animals, which were spreading at an alarming rate according to surveys  last year.“Removing large feral animals  allows native plants near rivers, billabongs and springs to regenerate, improving feeding and breeding habitats for aquatic life.Read the rest of this article HERE.

 

Wild Adobe Town Mares with Radio Collars Released in BLM and University of Wyoming Study

SOURCE:  Wildhoofbeats.com

“18 months is a long time to wear these old fashioned, bulky and dangerous collars.  And I hope that if any of these mares do run into trouble that the researchers at University of Wyoming are actually able to release the collars before the mares die.  I still very firmly believe that the best way to study wild horses is in the field, without capturing them and removing them from their families, without endangering their lives with these dangerous radio collars.”  –  Carol Walker

The line of vehicles

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

On Saturday morning, on a very cold day, I joined up with the BLM, researcher from University of Wyoming and a BLM ranger as we caravaned out to Adobe Town to release wild mares that had been fitted with radio collars on Thursday.  There were also some mares that had been being held for several weeks at the Rock Springs corrals, and I was very glad that they were finally being released.  As usual, I was the only member of the public attending.

Meryl jumps out of the trailer

Her friend is just as eager to get out

We turned off at Bitter Creek Road, and started down the road, which was in good condition until after we passed Eversole Ranch. Then, as we continued south more and more big drifts of snow covered the road.  The big truck towing the horse trailer in front was breaking through the drifts for the rest of us.  After about 10 miles, we stopped, and let out the first collared mare, a light grey color, I am calling her Meryl.  She jumped out and then her friend, a bay mare jumped out behind her.

Meryl turns to look at us

Meryl and her friend do not look concerned

Together

Even though she was being let go about 20 – 25 miles from where she had been captured, at least she had a friend with her, unlike most of the mares who had been released before, all alone.  They went a little way from the trailer, then turned around and looked at us, then casually strolling and exploring.  They did not seem alarmed.

We got back into our vehicles, then stopped after 2 miles.  After checking with the researcher, we got back in – despite the worsening road conditions he wanted us to go further away – they want these mares collars to be “spread out.”  We kept going another 2 miles until stopping at a big snow drift – the truck and trailer were stuck in a huge snow drift!  So they decided to let the remaining mares out here, just past Cow Camp, a collection of old derelict buildings.

A sorrel mare jumps out first

The mare with the radio collar and friend

Read the rest of this article HERE.

BLM and University of Wyoming Continue Dangerous Radio Collar Study on Wild Mares

Source:  www.wildhoofbeats.com

“They are disturbing the horses, and risking the lives of these mares with this dangerous radio collar study.  They can die from getting tangled up with these collars.  Direct observation is much more humane and more relevant.  I am hoping that all these mares survive the two years they have to endure wearing these collars, and that I will see them with other horses this summer.”     –  Carol Walker

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Notice the collar is not behind the ears, but much further down

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

On Sunday I headed to Rock Springs, as I was told I would have an opportunity to view the release of the next group of wild mares back into Adobe Town with radio collars on their necks. If you have not been following my blogs on this you may be wondering incredulously “why would anyone do anything so cruel and dangerous to wild mares?”
Well read on and you will see.

Last week, the last mare to be released, Dove, who ran off with her family, had a radio collar that had slipped way down her neck, into what is NOT the correct position for the collar. Many people have been commenting on this, and I am still waiting for an explanation from USGS and the BLM about this. Here are the guidelines for the radio collars:

“The collar should rest just behind the ears of the equid and be tight enough so it does not slip down the neck, yet loose enough that it does not interfere with movement when the neck is flexed. The collar must fit snugly when the head is up to minimize rubbing. USGS researchers used 0-1 finger between collar and neck, depending on season collar is deployed to give consideration to the potential for weight gain. Other studies (e.g. Committee on Wild Horse and Burro Research 1991) have had problems with the fitting of collars due to animals gaining weight in spring, or losing weight in winter, causing collars to become too tight or too loose. In the USGS study, researchers did notice collars were looser or tighter at different times during the year, but it did not affect the behavior of collared mares or jennies, or cause sores or wounds on mares or jennies. Whenever collars are deployed they should be fitted by experienced personnel who can attach the collar quickly but proficiently to minimize handling stress on the animal.”

I am very concerned that this collar must be too loose, can slide around, and probably quite easily get caught in a hoof or a branch or a cliff or a fence. In my opinion, the University needs to immediately trigger the mechanism that they claim can remotely release the collar. I will keep you posted when and if I receive a response and explanation.

10 wild horses from Adobe Town are still at the Rock Springs facility. The longer they are there. the more likely they are to get diseases or become injured. They need to release these horses back into Adobe Town, where they were captured, immediately.

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The first mare to be released

There were three mares in the trailer Monday morning as I followed the line of BLM and researchers out to the release sites. I was again the only member of the public along. We drove for over 2 1/2 hours before arriving at our first stop, which was in the northeast portion of Adobe Town, very near where the last mare, Dove had been released with her family.

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Dulcinea, looking calm

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She trots down the road toward the incoming family band

This grey mare was older, and moved slowly out of the trailer, no panic for her, just curiosity as she looked back at us. I am calling her Dulcinea. She moved along familiarizing herself with where she was, for she had been trapped probably 15 miles from this area. Suddenly we see a family of wild horses moving along the hillside straight toward the road. She sees them, and lifts her head, then trots across the road toward them.

READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE HERE.

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

BLM glosses over coverup of 213 wild horse deaths on the Scott City, KS, feedlot

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Photos of wild mares at Teterville (photo: Carol Walker)

By Debbie Coffey, V.P. and Dir. of Wild Horse Affairs, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Copyright 2017   All Rights Reserved.

After no news for 2 years by BLM on their promised investigation and report to the public on the deaths of wild horses at Scott City, KS, after our 2/2/17 report titled “196 wild horses died at BLM’s Scott City feedlot (a BLM Auschwitz for wild horses),” the BLM was suddenly able to muster up a little something for the public on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website in only about a week.

It popped up under “news” and it seems the BLM was careful to not mention deaths or draw too much attention to the issue at hand in the headline, by titling their “news” “Status of Off Range Corral in Scott City, KS.”

In fact, buried at the end of the 3rd paragraph, the BLM (with more current information) finally stated that 213 mares died (out of the 1,493 wild mares) between June 2014 and October, 2016.

So, about 14% of the wild horses that the BLM shipped to that feedlot, died on that feedlot.

It seems that in the very little offered as a “news” report to the public, the BLM tried to cover up their actions (and more importantly, their lack of action), resulting in the deaths of so many wild horses.

In BLM’s “news” version (HERE) of what happened to wild horses on the Scott City feedlot, they cited “crowding at the feed bunks most likely resulting in some horses not receiving the protein and energy required to support their needs. The BLM made adjustments and the animals began to acclimate and show improvements in their overall health, which resulted in a dramatic decrease in the monthly mortality rate. “

SO WHY DID SO MANY WILD HORSES DIE BEFORE THE “ADJUSTMENTS” WERE MADE?  In an August 2014 article on EquiMed, USDA veterinarian Dr. Al Kane stated “in addition to increasing the amount of feed being offered during feedings, we’ve worked with the onsite veterinarian and the operator to increase the energy density of the horses’ feed by increasing the ratio of alfalfa to grass in the hay mix.  This helps support the horses’ nutritional needs during the transition from open-pasture to the corral environment”..

WHY WASN’T THE CORRECT FEED PLANNED BEFORE THE WILD HORSES ARRIVED AT THIS FEEDLOT?  The BLM has been “managing” wild horses for about 45 years and still can’t get it right.

The BLM still didn’t inform the public that 87 of the 196 wild horses were euthanized, or that 41 wild horses died of colic or that 14 wild horses died of fractures of the spinal cord (neck and back) and 6 horses died of leg or pelvis fractures.  The BLM’s version of the “news” didn’t mention the wind storms that were noted by the local veterinarian in his reports to them, or the many cases of sand colic suffered by the wild horses, or the fact that a squeeze chute wasn’t brought to the feedlot until almost 2 months after the horses arrived. 

Note that the BLM’s “news” did not provide you with the name of the contractor for the Teterville Off Range Pasture (ORP) in Kansas.  (And, also note that the BLM doesn’t disclose the names of ALL of the ORP contractors for the public anywhere on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website.)

While omitting so many important facts for the public in their “news,” the BLM managed to hone in on a couple of mistakes in our article.  We corrected these immediately.  However, we didn’t kill 213 wild horses and the BLM can’t “undo” what they did.

The real issue is that 213 wild horses (that we know of), died on this feedlot, no matter what the time frame, and the BLM didn’t issue a promised report to the public until now.

If the BLM would give more information to the public, there would be no mistakes.  We request that the BLM, in the spirit of transparency, post the spreadsheet containing the freezemark numbers of the horses that died, the dates of deaths and causes of death, and all of the veterinary, necropsy and blood pathology reports of the Scott City wild mares on the Wild Horse & Burro Program website.

We can only hope the BLM will apply some focus to noticing and correcting their mistakes in their own statistics and data, and in their management of the Wild Horse & Burro Program.

 

 

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