Zinke Proclaims Sportsmen ‘Greatest Conservationists’ Before Signing Big Game Habitat Order

Written by Joseph Witham as published on The St George News

“…revising wild horse and burro-appropriate management levels or removing horses and burros from winter range or migration corridors if they degrade habitat…”

U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan “Dinky” Zinke helps tag a mule deer near Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 9, 2018 | Photo courtesy of the Interior Department, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — While in Utah Friday, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke helped tag mule deer near Salt Lake City before appearing at a hunting expo to sign a secretarial order intended to improve big game habitat in the Western U.S.

While tagging the deer, Zinke said he noted that a recently developed neighborhood nearby likely supplanted habitat that would have previously supported a herd of 300 deer.

In recognition of the impact growing human populations in the West have on big game migration, Zinke signed Secretarial Order 3362, designed to improve habitat quality and Western winter range and migration corridors ​for antelope, elk and mule deer.

The order also calls for greater collaboration among federal management agencies, states, private landowners and scientists to develop guidelines to help ensure healthy big game populations.

Joined by Utah Division of Wildlife Director Mike Fowlks and Mule Deer Foundation President Miles Moretti, Zinke signed the order before a gathered crowd at the Western Conservation and Hunting Expo in Salt Lake City.

At the conference, Zinke said management plans like the ones in the order are made possible from the billions in revenue generated by hunters and fishers buying tackle, ammunition and other gear.

“There is no greater conservationist than our sportsman,” he said.

“American hunters are the backbone of big game conservation efforts,” Zinke said, “and now working with state and private landowners, the department will leverage its land management and scientific expertise to both study the migration habits of wildlife as well as identify ways to improve the habitat.”

Zinke said a collaborative approach is necessary to implement the habitat protection and improvement goals of the order, given the migration patterns of big game species that cross over thousands of miles on all types of land.

In Southern Utah, mule deer travel up to 110 miles from Bryce Canyon National Park into the Arizona strip area. They cross state, private, tribal, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and U.S. Forest Service land. Part of the order’s goal is to address challenges encountered along the pathways of these migratory routes.

Specifically, the order proposes development of an action plan with the following goals:

  • Restoring degraded winter range and migration corridors by removing encroaching trees from sagebrush ecosystems, rehabilitating areas damaged by fire and treating invasive vegetation.
  • Revising wild horse and burro-appropriate management levels or removing horses and burros from winter range or migration corridors if they degrade habitat.
  • Working with private landowners and state highway departments to achieve permissive fencing measures, including working with ranchers to modify fencing.
  • Avoiding or minimizing development in the most crucial winter range or migration corridors during sensitive seasons.
  • Working with states on sagebrush restoration.

The order prioritizes public land management in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming​.​

“I’m not an advocate for ever selling or transferring public lands, but I am an advocate for management,” Zinke said, adding that the order emphasizes input from individual states.

The Center for Western Priorities, a conservation group, acknowledged that it’s important to plan for wildlife migration but noted that Zinke has inflicted major damage to lands by supporting the oil industry and recommending reductions to national monuments, the Associated Press reported.

“We won’t allow the secretary and his staff to greenwash this abysmal record with meager policy crumbs,” group Deputy Director Greg Zimmerman said in a statement.

The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank, blasted the decision as nothing more than “bureaucratic window dressing” to cover up damage Zinke has done to the habitat.

“If Secretary Zinke were serious about increasing America’s wildlife populations, he would stand by Western governors’ protections for sagebrush country, restore public input on drilling decisions, and stand up for America’s national monuments and wildlife refuges instead of selling them out,” the organization said in a statement.

Zinke said environmental groups that criticize his monument recommendation are using “nefarious” and “false” claims. He said “every inch” of the lands stripped from the monuments are still protected under other designations.

Associated Press reporter Brady McCombs contributed to this report.

http://www.stgeorgeutah.com/news/archive/2018/02/09/jcw-zinke-proclaims-sportsmen-greatest-conservationists-before-signing-big-game-habitat-order/#.Wn59zIJG3OQ

NM Memorial Means to Murder Wild Horses

Unedited Report from The Taos News

“A Senate Joint Memorial wants the U.S. Department of Interior to better manage a growing wild horse population even if that means euthanasia and unrestricted sales to people who might haul the animals off to meat-packing plants in Mexico…”

The memorial is sponsored by Sen. Pat Wood, a Republican from Broadview, New Mexico, who represents Curry, Quay and Union counties.

New Mexico’s Wild Horse’s Fate?

More than 50,000 wild horses now roam public lands, and too few people exist to adopt them all, according to a legislative analysis of the bill.

The memorial asks the federal government to “follow the federal Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act and utilize all of the management tools provided in that act, including unrestricted sales and euthanasia, to achieve ecologically sustainable wild horse and burro populations. Additionally, this memorial encourages Congress to restore funding to that department to facilitate those activities.”

The memorial will be heard first in the Senate Rules Committee, but with barely a week left in the legislative session, not much time is left for the bill to wend its way to a final vote from both houses.

Carson National Forest has one band of wild horses on the El Rito Ranger District.

http://www.taosnews.com/stories/memorial-seeks-to-reduce-wild-horse-herds,46088

BLM Reschedules Hearing on use of Helicopters and Motorized Vehicles for Wild Horse Mismanagement

An opportunity to offer input on your mismanaged public lands

BLM Antelope Complex attack on Nevada wild horses in 2011 ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

CHALLIS, Idaho – The Idaho Bureau of Land Management invites the public to submit comments as part of a statewide hearing regarding motor vehicle and helicopter use in wild horse management operations; in particular, aerial census flights. The hearing has been rescheduled to take place Feb. 6, from 1-2 p.m.at:

BLM Challis Field Office
721 East Main Avenue, Suite 8
Challis, ID  83226

This public hearing is being held to obtain information and your views, comments and suggestions about the BLM’s use of helicopters and motorized vehicles in managing wild horses within Idaho during the coming year (Feb. 2018 to Jan. 2019).  The BLM believes that partnerships and inclusion are vital to maintaining sustainable, working public lands.

Comments submitted to BLM should include your address, phone number and e-mail. Please be aware your entire comment, including your personal identifying information, may be made publicly available at any time.  While you may request we withhold your personal information from public view, we cannot guarantee we will be able to do so.

If you are unable to attend the hearing in person to submit your comments, you may submit written statements to BLM_ID_WHB_MotorizedHearing@blm.gov

https://www.blm.gov/press-release/blm-reschedules-hearing-use-helicopters-and-motorized-vehicles-wild-horse-management

‘From Wild to World Champion’: A New Song About Cobra the Mustang

Story by as published on Horse Nation

A country song telling the true story of how a three-strikes mustang became a dressage champion, with a music video starring the actual horse and trainer themselves? YES PLEASE!


“Although we would prefer to have seen Cobra live out his life, naturally, on his rightful range it warms ones heart to see someone take a chance, step forward and save this ‘3 Strikes’ pony from further abuse and possible slaughter.  A true love story and a definite tissue alert is warranted.  Thanks to all who made this tribute to a magical rescue possible.  May God bless.” ~ R.T.


As someone who is attempting to bring a mustang up the levels in dressage, one of my biggest inspirations is Marsha Hartford-Sapp and her mustang Cobra. After being returned to the BLM three times, he was deemed unadoptable: a three-strikes horse. In 2010 Marsha selected Cobra as her Extreme Mustang Makeover horse after seeing a 15-second video of his lovely, uphill movement.

Cobra turned out to be a dressage natural, winning Adequan/USDF All-Breed Award Reserve Champion title for First Level in his first year of competition. He has gone on to achieve great things as a dressage horse, most notably 2015 all-breed champion for Prix St. George. 2015 was also the year he discovered western dressage and earned western dressage champion for level 1 freestyle and level 1 test 1.

Cobra’s story inspired country artist Peter Prince to write a song telling the tale of how this unlikely horse went from wild to world champion. If this song and the accompanying music video doesn’t give you the feels, you’re a monster.

Go Cobra! Go riding!

How Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke prompted a mass resignation from his National Park Service Advisory Board

Story

“The conservation community in general has not been invited in…”

Ryan ‘Dinky’ Zinke – “My Ego Really is THIS BIG!”

Few groups have been closer and more involved in Interior Department policy and management than the National Park System Advisory Board, an appointed and nonpartisan group established 83 years ago to consult on department operations and practices.

So it came as a shock this week when nine of the board’s 12 members abruptly resigned in protest, complaining that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke had disregarded their requests to meet at least once, a circumstance no other Park System Advisory Board had encountered.

“We were deeply disappointed with the department’s actions in dealing with us,” said former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat who served as the board’s chairman. “Advisory board advice can be accepted or ignored. The fact they suspended the board and there were no meetings on issues of climate and science, no meetings on finding ways to help underrepresented groups visit the parks. Those were the programs we’d spent years working on with previous secretaries. Those were the programs we wanted to discuss with the new secretary and keep the momentum going.”

“We started talking last summer,” said Gretchen Long, an advisory board member from Wyoming who was appointed in 2010. “Is there any point to continuing to serve? We wanted to make a statement to the American public about the direction the department is taking and the stewardship of our parks and public land. These treasures are in trouble because of the actions the department has taken.”

She added that the board “encountered a lack of understanding that is appalling.”

The Interior Department did not respond to requests for comments from the secretary or a senior department leader.

In March, when he rode on a horse to his first day as secretary, Zinke sought to distinguish himself as a Cabinet member prepared, like the president, to be visible and disruptive. It was not clear at the time that he would manage the $13 billion-a-year department and its more than 60,000 employees with a tight executive circle far from public view.

Theresa Pierno, the chief executive of the National Parks Conservation Assn., a separate, nonprofit advocacy organization, said she and her colleagues had experienced the same difficulties in attracting the Interior secretary’s attention. In an interview on Wednesday, she said Zinke is the first Interior secretary to refuse to meet with her organization’s executives to discuss the operation and condition of national parks since the NPCA was founded in 1919 by Stephen Mather, the first National Park Service director.

“We haven’t been able to even have a conversation with them,” Pierno said. “The conservation community in general has not been invited in. Why wouldn’t you want to hear from an organization that has the history, the expertise like the NPCA? We’re nonpartisan. We have Republicans and Democrats on our board. There’s really no rational answer.”

Aside from marquee public events to announce changes in energy policy and public lands management, along with shrinking the boundaries of two national monuments in Utah, Zinke has kept a low public profile. But armed with presidential executive orders, departmental reports and conservative principles and values, he’s undertaken a major shift in his department’s operating program.

He eliminated climate science from programs to better manage the department’s 500-million-acre domain. He overturned a ban on coal mining on public lands and limited the reach of environmental safeguards for oil and gas leasing and development.

This month he opened nearly all of the outer continental shelf to oil exploration, although five days later he excused Florida’s Atlantic and Gulf shorelines from the offshore drilling plan.

At the National Park Service, the department’s largest division, Zinke proposed to more than double the entrance fees to popular parks, a move that could hinder the agency’s long-running efforts to encourage more minorities to visit some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes.

Zinke’s supporters in and outside the administration credit the 56-year-old former Republican congressman from Montana with eliminating what they viewed as aggravating restrictions and restoring the department’s traditional role in managing public land for multiple uses.

“The president promised the American people that their voices would be heard and that we would prioritize American interests,” Zinke said in a year-end statement that cataloged the most important accomplishments he’d supervised. “This year the Department of the Interior has made good on those promises. We are striking the right balance to protect our greatest treasures and also generate the revenue and energy our country needs.”

Across the country, the department’s policies are viewed differently by conservation groups, many mayors and governors, and innumerable residents. They assert that Zinke has installed management and oversight practices that needlessly put national parks, wildlife refuges, recreation areas, and monuments in harm’s way.

The approach has also been different from what President Trump said he was intent on pursuing. In early December, while announcing his decision to shrink the boundaries of Utah’s Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante national monuments, Trump told an audience in Salt Lake City that his administration was open to extensive citizen involvement in public lands decisions. “Under my administration, we will advance that protection through a truly representative process, one that listens to the local communities that knows the land the best and that cherishes the land the most.”

Under Zinke, though, the Interior Department has been dismantling public lands initiatives recommended by citizen groups representing local governments, land users, recreational industry representatives, Native Americans, and environmental organizations. In 2010, for instance, the Obama administration established what it called a “master leasing program,” a collaboration between the Bureau of Land Management and local governments, businesses, and citizen groups.

The idea was to help the BLM incorporate better environmental safeguards in its oil and gas leasing auctions in western states. In 2017, Zinke ordered an end to the program.

Another indication of Zinke’s different approach from previous Interior secretaries is how many executive level Interior Department positions are not filled. The National Park Service, for instance, does not have a director and the administration has not nominated a candidate. The National Parks Conservation Association says it is the first time that has occurred since the National Park Service was established in 1916.

More Dinky Zinke Stuff:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2018/01/22/zinke-to-sign-land-swap-deal-allowing-road-through-alaskas-izembek-wilderness/?utm_term=.4f2d473645fb

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/zinke-proof-research-shares_us_5a60e1fae4b0b3f7fa12c397

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/08/04/zinke-and-the-welfare-ranchers-subsidies-for-us-but-not-for-thee/

http://zinkesdirtydeals.com/

Due to government shutdown, motorized hearing for wild horse management operations is postponed

“We will watch for a new date and be sure to pass it along.” ~ R.T.

News Release

Jan. 22, 2018

Due to government shutdown, motorized hearing for wild horse management operations is postponed

 CHALLIS, IDAHO – Due to the government shutdown, the Idaho Bureau of Land Management will postpone the statewide hearing regarding motor vehicle and helicopter use in wild horse management operations that was scheduled to take place Jan. 23, from 1-2 p.m. at the BLM Challis Field Office.

BLM–

BLM Sets Hearing on Wild Horse Mismanagement

Story by the Idaho Mountain Express

The BLM is inviting the public to submit comments as part of a statewide hearing regarding motor vehicle and helicopter use in wild horse management operations on Tuesday, Jan. 23, from 1-2 p.m. at its Challis Field Office.

The public hearing is being held to obtain information, views and suggestions about the BLM’s use of helicopters and motorized vehicles in managing wild horses in Idaho during the coming year (February 2018 to January 2019).

The Challis Field office is at 721 E. Main Ave., Suite 8 in Challis.

 Anyone unable to attend the hearing to submit comments can submit written statements to BLM_ID_WHB_MotorizedHearing@blm.gov. Comments should include address, phone number and e-mail.

BLM Set to Stampede and Remove 1,500 Wild Horses from their Rightful Range

Unedited propaganda as published in BLM Press Release

2018 Triple B Complex Wild Horse Gather

The gather will tenatively begin on January 23.

photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Purpose of Gather:

The purpose of the operation is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.  The BLM strives to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve, ensuring public safety is not at risk due to the overpopulation of wild horses and providing opportunities for economic growth with space for traditional uses.

Details of Gather:

The BLM plans to gather 1,500 wild horses and remove approximately 1,000 excess horses.  The BLM will release approximately 250 mares that will have been treated with the fertility control vaccine PZP-22 to slow the population growth rate of the animals remaining on public lands.  PZP-22 is a temporary fertility-control vaccine that can prevent pregnancy in wild horses for 1-2 years.  In addition, approximately 250 gathered stallions will be selected and returned back to the range.

Public Observation:

Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations.  The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands.  The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will begin on January 23, 2018, weather and logistics permitting.  Those wanting to view gather operations must notify Public Affairs Specialist, Greg Deimel at (775) 388-7078 prior to the desired viewing date to be added to the attendee list and receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food.  The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions and a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle.  Public restrooms will not be available onsite.

Background: 

The Triple B Complex is located in both the BLM Ely and Elko Districts and consists of the Triple B HMA (Ely), Maverick Medicine HMA (Elko), Antelope Valley HMA west of Hwy 93 (Elko), and Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory (Elko).  The gather may also take place in areas outside of those HMAs where wild horses have moved in search of food and water and are creating a public safety hazard by traveling regularly across Jiggs Road.

The current population estimate for the Triple B Complex is approximately 3,842 wild horses.  The cumulative Appropriate Management Level for all the Herd Management Areas within the targeted gather area is 472 – 884 wild horses.  AML is the level at which wild horse populations are consistent with the land’s capacity to support them and other mandated uses of those lands, including protecting ecological processes and habitat for wildlife and livestock.

The decision record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy can be accessed at the national NEPA register. For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email wildhorse@blm.gov.

https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/nevada/2018-Triple-B-Complex-wild-horse-gather

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!

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