COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 9, 2013) – Over 100 young wild horses living in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park in the North Dakota Badlands will be rounded up with a helicopter at the end of September and auctioned off on September 28 in Wishek, ND. In the past, numerous horses have been purchased by kill buyers and were taken to slaughter. The Cloud Foundation (TCF) of Colorado Springs and Legacy Mustang Preservation (LMP) of Louisa, Virginia have partnered to purchase over 20 young wild horses and are leading an effort to get other groups and individuals to show up at the auction to bid against the kill buyers.
“Traditionally there have not been enough good buyers to prevent the kill buyers from acquiring these mustangs,” says Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation and an Emmy Award-Winning Filmmaker. “We aim to encourage enough well-intentioned people who want a quality horse to come to the auction and outbid the kill buyers.”
TCF is named for Cloud, the dramatic palomino stallion who stars in Kathrens’ three popular PBS Nature series documentaries. TCF is a leading national advocacy organization dedicated to the preservation of wild horses and burros on our public lands. They are partnering with Legacy Mustang Preservation of Louisa, Virginia, who have committed to bringing at least 20 young horses to the East Coast for training and placement with qualified adopters.
“We will not be bidding against people who want a great companion animal,” says Lisa Friday of LMP and a Board Member of TCF. “But we will attempt to acquire those animals that may not get bids, or are being bid on by the kill buyers. We are determined to ensure that no Badlands Mustangs end up in a slaughterhouse this time around.”
Friday already has a record of taking mustangs to Virginia. Her famous “Pryor Nine” from Cloud’s Pryor Mountain herd in Montana graze on green eastern pastures because of her efforts. “We believe there is an eager market for nature-crafted horses that are strong and smart,” adds Friday.
TCF and LMP are proud to assist the North Dakota Badlands Horse (NDBH) group, made up of owners and enthusiasts of these horses, who have been working tirelessly since 2009 to make the public aware of the beauty, quality, and trainability of these horses. Marylu Weber, who created the group, has been documenting the herd for close to 20 years. Her photographic catalog of likely removal candidates can be viewed at: www.trnphorses.phanfare.com.
“I would encourage everyone to look at these magnificent horses, as they have proven themselves to be very willing companions,” encourages Weber. “The last place these historic horses belong is in a slaughterhouse. We cannot allow this to happen.”
The horses of the Badlands trace their history to the horses of the native Americans who traveled to ancestral hunting ground in the Badlands, US Cavalry mounts bred in the nearby remount station, and sturdy horses that pulled the wagons of the first pioneers and homesteaders to locate in the area.
TCF, LMP, and NDBH hope to meet with Park officials in a few weeks to explore ways to prevent these large removals in the future through the use of reversible fertility control drugs to limit reproduction. TCF’s message is consistent with the management strategies that have been implemented in Cloud’s Pryor Mountain herd and elsewhere: if reproduction and mortality can be kept roughly equal over time, there will be no need for removals.
“Our goal is this: any foal born in the wild will have the chance to live its life in freedom with its family on its own terms,” explains Kathrens. “Obviously natural predation is the best manager of any prey species, but until that time comes, we have the humane means to regulate reproduction with reversible drugs.”
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