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.

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.

BLM Wants Earlier Wyoming Wild Horse Rip-Off

Source: Multiple – (Unedited)

“Welfare Ranchers want DIBS over Wildlife on Public Lands…”

(2014) BLM destroying the last of Wyoming’s Wild Horses for the benefit of Welfare Ranchers ~ photo taken by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

A U.S. Bureau of Land Management official says he’d like to round up excess wild horses from an area southeast of Riverton later this year.

The roundup had been planned next year but BLM Lander Field Office Manager Rick Vander Voet tells Fremont County commissioners the horse population is way above desired numbers.

BLM officials want to maintain a population on the low end of between 480 and 720 horses.

The BLM estimates more than 1,000 wild horses currently inhabit the area. Horse advocates advocate keeping large numbers of wild horses on the range but ranchers say wild horses can damage grazing lands and compete with cattle for forage.

BLM Seeks Public Comment on Plan to Rip More than 1,000 Wild Horses Out Of Wyoming

“This is Your Chance to be a Voice for the Horses…”

Destruction of Wyoming’s Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management offices in Rock Springs and Rawlins are launching a 30-day public scoping period prior to preparing an environmental assessment on proposed deadly wild horse stampedes in the Salt Wells Creek, Adobe Town, and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas.

The war on Wyoming’s last remaining wild horses is allegedly scheduled to begin in the fall of 2017.

Written comments should be received by April 4, and should be e-mailed to blm_wy_adobetown_saltwells_hma@blm.gov. (Please include “2017 AML Gather” in the subject line).

Mailed or hand-delivered comments can be made during regular business hours (7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. local time) at: BLM Rock Springs Field Office, 2017 AML Gather, 280 Highway 191 North, Rock Springs, WY 82901.

To verbally express your disdain, please contact the BLM at 307-352-0256.

For more details on how the BLM plans to destroy wild horse families and strip them of their freedom visit (HERE)

BLM Set to Wage War on Wyoming’s Wild Horses, AGAIN!

Sources: Multiple

“Using poor science and bad numbers the BLM continues to ensure that the wild horses of Wyoming will have no families, freedom or future.  Unedited, propaganda article posted below. (Herds do not double in size every four years – Fake News)” ~ R.T.

Adobe Town ~ photo by Carol Walker

ROCK SPRINGS, Wyo.  — The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to remove about 1,000 wild horses from three herd management areas, including Adobe Town, in southwest Wyoming in order to meet population level objectives.

Kimberlee Foster, field manager for the Rock Springs BLM field office, said there are too many horses on the land, and rules require them to remove horses when they are above management levels.

Foster said the gathered horses will go to the Rock Springs Holding Facility where they will be put up for adoption.

The BLM plans to remove 210 horses from Adobe Town, 584 from Salt Wells Creek and 235 from Great Divide Basin.

There are many reasons the BLM must carefully maintain certain population ranges for wild horses in Wyoming. For one, there are no natural predators for horses in the state and equines can be prodigious breeders.

“Typically a herd management area can double in size every four or five years,” Foster told the Rawlins Daily Times (http://bit.ly/2mayVKA ).

If wild horse populations become too large, the natural forage on the land won’t be able to support them.

Herd management is based around the usage of the land, Foster said, as well as the amount of available forage for the animals. Additionally, the BLM has agreed to act to reduce herd sizes should population levels reach a certain point.

The BLM is accepting public comment until April 4 on its horse roundup plan.

Wild Horses: Please Comment on BLM’s Plan to Reduce North Lander Complex in Wyoming Herds to Dangerously Low Numbers

by Carol Walker~Director of Field Documentation at Wild Horse Freedom Federation
Published on: Wild Hoofbeats and Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild Horses in the North Lander Complex Herds in Danger of Extinction

The Bureau of Land Management’s Lander, Wyoming Field Office has released a Scoping Document for the North Lander Complex in Wyoming. The most current population count has the numbers of the wild horses in the North Lander Complex to be 1026. They do not differentiate between foals and adult horses in their number, they say 1016 “individuals,” so it is misleading – the BLM is not supposed to count the current year’s foal crop because mortality is high for foals in their first year.

Here are the four Herd Management Areas in the 368,000 acre Complex:
Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte, Muskrat Basin, Rock Creek Mountain
They call it a “complex” because “there is no geographic separation of the HMAs and the gates between them are left open a significant part of the year.”
This is the excuse given for bringing the numbers in 3 of the 4 herds down way below the level needed for genetic viability. However, if there is no separation at all, why are there four different herd management areas?
Horses tend to stay in familiar areas, areas they know where the waterholes, shelter and grazing are located. I would seriously doubt that there is very much intermixing of herds – when visiting the Red Desert Complex, where there are adjacent areas, the horses tend to stay in their range, and there is very little intermixing.

They plan to bring the herds down to these numbers:
Conant Creek 60
Dishpan Butte 50
Muskrat Basin 160
Rock Creek Mountain 50

and end up with a total number of horses for the North Lander Complex of 310.
According to Gus Cothran, the leading geneticist for wild horses, a herd needs a population of at least 150 adults to maintain genetic viability. This plan of the BLM’s which not only brings all but one of the herds down to dangerously low levels also includes giving birth control to all the mares that are released. If the herds are at dangerously low levels it makes absolutely no sens at all to give them birth control. Herds below the minimum number of wild horses for genetic viability should NOT be given any type of birth control. That is dooming them to extinction.
The other issue is that fall is the exact wrong time of year to give PZP to the mares – it should be done in January – March to ensure that it works – they are planning the roundup for the fall of 2017.

They are planning to use helicopters to round up the horses – using helicopters to terrify wild horses so that they run into traps and injure themselves is cruel and inhumane. If they need to round the horses up they should use the far more humane and far less costly method of bait trapping. And they need to keep the families of horses together – this is much less stressful for the horses.

My recommendation is to not remove any of the wild horses from the North Lander Complex, keep the herds at genetically viable levels, and to use bait trapping to round them up and give birth control to the mares at the correct time of the year. If they are going to give them PZP they need to follow up in the next few years because otherwise they will not be able to maintain the numbers of the wild horses. Management of these wild horses should be done on the range. Wild Horses should not be removed from their families and their homes and warehoused at holding facilities with no shelter where they become a burden on the taxpayer and are likely to end up at slaughter. Yes, the Scoping Documents and Environmental Assessments should include what happens the the wild horses that the BLM proposes to remove after they are removed – this is extremely relevant to the action that they are proposing.

Please comment by January 31, 2017 by 4pm Mountain Time, and use your own words – the BLM counts the group emails that you sign your name to as one.

Here is the scoping document:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/projects/nepa/70450/93476/112583/North_Lander_Scoping_2016.pdf

and here is where you can send your comments:
Please email your comments to:

wy_north_lander_gather@blm.gov

Comments may also be mailed or hand delivered to:

Mr. Clay Stott
Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
BLM
Lander Field Office
1335 Main Street
Lander, Wyoming 82520
(307) 332-8400

This scoping notice and all other future documents corresponding with this action will be posted on the BLM’s ePlanning site at:

http://bit.ly/2017_North_Lander_Gather

The website can be accessed by the general public. The EA will be posted to this site and there will be a 30-day comment period at that time.

You may obtain a paper copy of these documents by contacting the BLM Lander Field Office at the address or telephone number listed above.

http://www.wildhoofbeats.com/blog/wild-horses-please-comment-on-blms-plan-to-reduce-north-lander-complex-in-wyoming-herds-to-dangerously-low-numbers

WY Welfare Ranchers Shift Blood-Lust from Wild Horses to Coyotes

By Mike Koshmrl Jackson Hole Daily

“These contests and their impacts on public resources will be significant,”

Jackson Hole animal advocates are pushing back against coyote-killing derbies they allege are illegally taking place on federal land in Wyoming.

coyote-derbyWyoming Untrapped Program Director Kristin Combs argued to the Bureau of Land Management office that coyote derbies that operate around the state lack necessary permits.

One contest, the $50-per-person Wyoming Coyote Classic, is set for outside of Rock Springs on Saturday.

In a letter to BLM’s Rock Springs office Combs contended that because the Coyote Classic and similar events are a commercial and competitive use of the land, they need a special recreation permit to be legal. By not requiring one, she said, the BLM is violating the code of federal regulations.

“These contests and their impacts on public resources will be significant,” Combs wrote, “and should be fully reviewed by the agency and the public prior to granting a permit.”

Wyoming Untrapped gathered environmental and animal rights groups to sign, including the Animal Legal Defense Fund, Center for Biological Diversity and Western Watersheds Project.

Kristen Lenhardt, BLM’s deputy state director for communications, stood behind unpermitted killing derbies. Contestants, she said, are no different than regular hunters.

“There is a misperception out there right now regarding these coyote hunts,” Lenhardt said. “The reason why this event does not need a special event permit is because it isn’t beginning and ending on public land and there is no designated route that ensures the public will be using BLM lands. And there’s no significant threat that shows that there will be significant damage to natural resources.”

A company that’s making money leading people on tours of BLM lands, Lenhardt said, would be an example of a commercial activity that would require a special recreation permit.

Although no such events occur in Teton County, coyote-killing derbies take place regularly in Wyoming. At least two typically happen in Sublette County each winter, there’s an annual Cheyenne event, and on Feb. 4 the “Best of the Best” coyote hunting tournament comes to Rock Springs.

The land where the 30 to 50 Wyoming Coyote Classic contestants will hunt Saturday is a checkerboard-style of private and BLM property, said Eric Adams, a longtime participant.

“So there’s as much hunting on private property as public,” he said.

The Wyoming Coyote Classic, a 15-year-running Rock Springs tradition, Adams said, is “just a bunch of guys hunting.” Coyote derbies, he said, are unfairly vilified. He pointed out that all animals killed are skinned and their furs put to use.

“Whether I’m hunting on the weekend or in a contest, whatever animal I’m going to kill, it is as ethically and humanely as possible,” Adams said. “Coyotes are so smart, and I treat them with just as much respect as I do deer or elk…(CONTINUED)

http://www.jhnewsandguide.com/jackson_hole_daily/local/mass-coyote-kills-take-heat/article_a48f45fd-c857-592b-8f92-2ee685aa2a8f.html

First WY Ranchers Target Wild Horses, Now Other Wildlife in Their Gun Sights

Source: Animal Legal Defense Fund

Take Action: Help stop 2 coyote killing contests on BLM controlled federal land

dead_coyotes2

The Animal Legal Defense Fund and a coalition of animal protection organizations submitted a written request to the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) urging the agency to enforce its own regulations regarding two Rock Springs, Wyoming coyote-hunting contests scheduled to take place in the coming weeks. These contests are slated to take place partly on BLM-managed federal land—and contest organizers have failed to obtain the requisite permits.

The first of these upcoming contests, the “Wyoming Coyote Classic,” is scheduled for this Saturday, Jan. 7—the second, “Wyoming Best of the Best” is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 4. In light of the impending dates, we need you to contact BLM and politely urge them to hold these contests to the law.

Click (HERE) to send letter!!!

http://org2.salsalabs.com/o/51 54/p/dia/action3/common/public /?action_KEY=23967&okay=true

When the BLM Talks Wild Horses and Burros, They Lie

There is an age old adage that asks, “How do you know when ‘so and so’ is lying, when their lips are moving.”  That does a pretty good job of describing one of America’s most corrupt federal agencies, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

For years the BLM has lamented how they have too many horses and burros in long term holding, because they keep ripping them off from their legal and rightful home, and in so doing they have created an artificial fiscal emergency where they have even whispered about KILLING the horses in an effort to save money. 

Now that a federal judge has stopped them from illegally assailing wild horses in Wyoming, and deemed that they have broken the law doing so in the past, they are crying that they will not have enough horses to adapt out, below, which is a program they have pointed to as a failure over and over again.

You can’t have it both ways and this is, again, clear evidence that the BLM speaks out of both sides of their mouths and uses mainstream media as a tool to lie to and influence the tax paying public.  Disgusting.

So please, let the reader beware, if a sentence or headline has the acronym BLM in it you can pretty much be assured that it will be filled with untruths, bad science and inaccurate figures all paid for with your tax dollars.  We really, really can do better than that.” ~ R.T.


the-ranger

http://www.dailyranger.com/story.php?story_id=25339&headline=ruling-on-wild-horse-roundup-could-affect-honor-farm

‘No Ambiguity:” Court Tells BLM It Cannot Treat Public Land as Private

by Arno Rosenfeld  as published on the Casper Star Tribune

The appeals court ruled that while the BLM claimed it was justified in treating the entire checkerboard as private, given the “unique land management situation” the agency lacked the authority to make this judgement.

Destruction of Wyoming's Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Destruction of Wyoming’s Adobe Town herd by the BLM ~ photo by Carol Walker of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management may not treat public lands as private out of practical considerations, a federal appeals court wrote in an opinion released this week.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals issued an Oct. 14 ruling that concluded the BLM’s 2014 roundup of wild horses in the checkerboard region was illegal. Monday’s decision explained the court’s reasoning.

The judges wrote that the BLM violated the Wild Horses Act due to the difficulty of rounding up horses in the region, where public and private land alternate in one-square-mile plots in south-central Wyoming.

 “Its methodology was to treat public lands as private lands,” Judge Monroe McKay wrote in a concurring opinion. “But, though the BLM’s solution to the problem presented by the checkerboard may seem reasonable, it is not in accordance with the [law].”

The case originated in 2013 when the Rock Springs Grazing Association sued the BLM demanding the agency remove wild horses from their land in the checkerboard.

The BLM agreed to do so and determined the only way to keep horses off the grazing association land was to remove them from the public plots of land as well, given that the area is unfenced and horses move around on a daily basis.

But horse advocates sued the BLM claiming that while the agency can unilaterally remove horses from private land, it must go through an extensive review process before removing horses from public land.

A U.S. District Court in Wyoming initially sided with the BLM but the 10th Circuit decision overturned that ruling and agreed with the argument made by horse advocates.

 The appeals court ruled that while the BLM claimed it was justified in treating the entire checkerboard as private, given the “unique land management situation” the agency lacked the authority to make this judgement.

There is “no basis for BLM to construe the terms ‘privately owned land’ and ‘private lands’ to include the public land sections of the checkerboard,” the court wrote.

“[P]ractical realities do not provide BLM with the authority to construct the [Wild Horses] Act in a manner contrary to its plain and unambiguous terms.”

While the ruling released earlier this month halted the BLM’s checkerboard roundup planned for Oct. 18, Monday’s full opinion may set a precedent for similar cases around the West.

The groups that sued the BLM, including American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign and the Cloud Foundation, argued that the BLM’s actions in the checkerboard posed a wider threat to public land management.

If the BLM was allowed to treat public lands within the checkerboard as private for purposes of horse roundups, the groups argued the agency could also treat other public land as private if it helped them meet their land management objectives.

But the 10th Circuit decision may put this concern to rest.

“[T]here is simply no ambiguity in the terms ‘public lands,’ … and ‘private lands,’” the court wrote.