BLM BUDGETS MILLIONS FOR HELICOPTER CONTRACTORS TO ROUND UP LAST OF THE WILD HORSES AND SOLICITS PROPOSALS FOR STERILIZATION OF MARES AND STALLIONS IN THE WILD
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO (Feb. 8, 2014) For twenty years Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation, has documented wild horses for PBS/Nature’s award-winning films, making her the country’s leading expert on wild horse behavior.
Upon hearing that the BLM budgeted two $6 Million contracts for helicopter roundups in 2014 and $1.5 million for plans to sterilize the stallions and mares she said, “The BLM is breaking their promise to Congress and to the American public. The case can be made that this is their solution to rid the range of our wild horses. They have made a mockery of the Wild Horse and Burro Act, an Act designed to preserve, not destroy wild horse families.“
The Cloud Foundation advocates for economical, sustainable methods for managing wild horses and burros “on the range,” many of which were recommended in the June 2013, National Academy of Science (NAS) Report: Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward. The reportstates: current BLM Management practices (helicopter roundups and removals of horses from the range) are facilitating high rates of population growth.
BLM is on a collision course with reality. It appears they intend to continue inhumane and expensive helicopter roundups and removals of wild horses and burros when long and short term holding corrals are filled beyond capacity.
Will BLM simply castrate stallions and spay mares then return them to the wild, creating dead end herds and destroying the rich and complex society that Kathrens has documented over the years? In Oct. 2013 the BLM issued a request for information for Wild Horse and Burro Sterilization or Contraception: Development of Techniques and Protocols, inviting research project ideas for the permanent sterilization or contraception of either male or female wild horses and/or burros in the field.
Does the BLM intend to showcase the few herd areas where PZP is effectively controlling population growth with the intent to annihilate the rest by creating non-reproducing herds? Maybe this what Ed Roberson, BLM’s assistant director of resources and planning referred to in The Washington Post, Jan. 26, 2014 article U.S. Looking for Ideas to Help Manage Wild-Horse Overpopulation
“This is my fear,” Kathrens says. “It is a fact that there are few mustangs left in the wild. The majority of our wild herds are not large enough to be considered genetically viable. The charge of overpopulation is a joke aimed at hoodwinking the media and the public.
“Rather than spend $1.5 million for further studies the BLM needs to use the tools it has. Effective use of the proven and reversible fertility vaccine PZP will curtail population growth in an economical, sustainable way with no need for helicopter roundups. On the range management is being practiced in the Pryor Mountains of Montana, the McCullough Peaks of Wyoming, the Little Book Cliffs of Colorado, and it is being considered for the Onaqui wild horse herd in Utah,” said Kathrens. “PZP has successfully controlled population in the Assateague National Seashore where wild horses have been darted with the drug for decades. Instead, the BLM treated only 332 mares of the 4702 wild horses rounded up in 2013.”
The Cloud Foundation contends that BLM’s management of wild horses and burros on our public lands is wrong on every level:
- It is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
- It cheats the American public of the opportunity to experience these inspiring wild animals.
- It violates the intent of the1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act.
Original Herds in 1971 – This map from the BLM shows all the Herd Areas in the US–where all wild horses were to be protected in 1971 when the law was passed.
Paula Todd King