Mustang Whisperer Could Have Answers for BLM's Horse Dilemma

More than two decades ago, a South Dakota ranch hosted 1,500 unadopted mustangs on the first federally approvedTCF DivideBasin2013-4 wild horse sanctuary. Owned by H. Alan Day, the ranch was unique for more than just the horses.
Day, the brother of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, tried a "gentling" method he had used with wild cattle to get the horses to trust and follow humans. He thinks his experience with the mustangs could help the embattled Bureau of Land Management as the agency struggles to care for thousands of wild horses on drought-stricken Western rangelands and 50,000 more stuck in holding facilities.  Read More>>

Group Sues US Forest Service Over Wild Horses

Cross posted from SF Gate, March 24, 2014

band runningALTURAS, Calif. (AP) - Animal advocates have filed a lawsuit to prevent the U.S. Forest Service from rounding up many of the remaining wild horses in California's Modoc National Forest.

The plaintiffs said in a statement Monday that the government agency's plan to eliminate about 40 square miles of territory and reduce the horse population by 80 percent could lead to the sale of horses for slaughter and could endanger the long-term genetic viability of the remaining population.  Continue Reading >>

Why the Interior Department desperately needs beat reporters

Cross posted from The Week, Feb. 19, 2014

By Andrew Cohen RockSprings-Holding

The federal agency's treatment of wild horses has been scandalously poor. But you wouldn't know it from reading the newspaper.

America needs a few aggressive journalists to uncover the ways in which the Interior Department is captive to the priorities of the industries it is supposed to regulate.

Consider, for example, an unfortunate story published last month in The Washington Post about America's wild horses and their human stewards at the Bureau of Land Management.

The average reader of this story, headlined, "U.S. looking for ideas to help manage wild-horse overpopulation," likely came away from it with a grossly distorted view of the problems facing the herds, how those problems came to be, and what federal officials are doing (or not doing) to solve them. All of the appropriate voices were heard from, all the advocates and bureaucrats, all the lawyers and county commissioners — but the result was a cacophony, and not the symphony a good story ought to be. Critical context and perspective were missing from this report, as were key facts and history. The result was an inaccurate, incomplete mess.    Continue Reading >>



A Biologist's Response to the BLM's Wild Horse "Problem"

By Robert C. Bauer
McCullough2In a recent article that was published in the Washington Post, under Health and Science, entitled “U.S. looking for ideas to help manage wild-horse overpopulation”, a plea was sent out by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), a plea that requested ideas as to how to manage the wild horse and burro population in the wild. This plea was reinforced by claims that the wild horse and burro population, on the western rangelands, was approximately 40,605 wild horses and or burros. Additionally it was stated that there would be at least a 15% to 20% annual population growth rate of these wild horses and that in 6 years, by the year 2020, that number will have grown to be about 145,000 wild horses and burros in the wild. Its claims also stated that contraceptive efforts had failed, and that the range lands could only sustain about 26,677 wild horses and or burros. The undying claims of the BLM are that it is, in its efforts, out to help maintain a thriving natural ecological balance. This is the motivation to justify its roundups of thousands of wild horses that it says are destroying the rangelands of the west. As a biologist, there is a scientific response to these allegations that the public needs to take into consideration before swallowing these claims of the BLM. << Continue Reading>>

The Horse and Burro as Positively Contributing Returned Natives in North America

Cross-posted from American Journal of Life, Jan. 30, 2014

By Craig Downer, TCF Board Member

Since the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, debate has raged over whether horses and burros are restored North American natives. Fossil, genetic and archeological evidence supports these species as native. Also, objective evaluations of their respective ecological niches and the mutual symbioses of post-gastric digesting, seminomadic equids support wild horses and burros as restorers of certain extensive North American ecosystems. A Reserve Design strategy is proposed to establish naturally self-stabilizing equine populations that are allowed to harmoniously adapt over generations within their bounded and complete habitats. These populations should meet rigid standards for viability based on IUCN SSC assessments (2,500 individuals). Basic requirements are described for successful Reserve Design including viable habitat as well as specific regions of North America where this could be implemented. >> Read More