GINGER KATHRENS: FINDING BALANCE IN AN IMPERFECT WORLD
LEADERSHIP THROUGH EDUCATION, COOPERATION AND LEGAL INTERVENTION
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (August 26, 2013) - The Cloud Foundation's (TCF) focus has always been on managing wild horses and burros "on the range." Rather than taking a constantly adversarial role, Ginger Kathrens, TCF Executive Director, is taking a leadership position toward more productive solutions that lead to common sense, low cost approaches to wild horse and burro management.
"Until we can convince the BLM and the state wildlife agencies that wild horse and burro herds can be self sustaining if their predators are protected, native PZP is a short-term, reversible tool. It can be judiciously applied to keep horses on their range so that roundups are no longer needed.”
Ginger Kathrens co-authored an article entitled Partnerships in the Pryors, with Melodie Lloyd in the Montana/Dakota Bureau of Land Management (BLM) which outlines TCF's volunteer work with the BLM to PZP mares in the PryorMountains of Montana. This is just one example of Ginger's commitment to educated change and taking a positive leadership role to reduce removals of horses from the range.
"In a perfect world," says Kathrens, "predators would be protected to help maintain balance for all wildlife, wild horse territories zeroed out by the Forest Service and BLM would be restored and livestock grazing would be banned or reduced so that rangelands could heal. In a perfect world, wild horses would not be faced with the threat of helicopter roundups, removals, and a life spent in confinement, nor would they be at risk of being sold to kill-buyers, their lives ended on a slaughter house floor."
"Without more effective use of PZP, here is the sad reality: many of the wild foals born in the next several years will not be allowed to grow to adulthood on their home ranges," Kathrens stated. "They will be removed and offered for adoption. There is virtually no adoption market for wild horses anymore—not even for young Pryor Mustangs."
Rather than continuous disruption of herds by inhumane helicopter roundups, PZP is a stop-gap measure to keep horses on the range where they belong. Education, legislation, and legal challenges will continue to restore the original intent of the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act. Dwindling wild horse population numbers underscore the urgency of protection of the herds now. Ms. Kathrens’ efforts are beginning to pay off in the Pryors where helicopter roundups are no longer on the agenda and where few of any kind will take place in future.
Ginger Kathrens is unique in the world of wild horse advocacy on two fronts: she has spend nearly 20 years documenting wild horse behavior and she understands the workings of BLM as well as the advancements of equine experts in the areas of infertility vaccines and genetics research.
As an advocacy group, TCF will continue to file lawsuits against the BLM and Forest Service when wild horse herds are threatened, as in the Pryor Mountains where TCF filed suit in 2009 seeking to raise the appropriate management level (AML) of the herd, and remove the two-mile-long Forest Service fence which blocks horses from their historic, rightful grazing land.
Ginger Kathrens was nominated on August 16th to the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, by Congresswoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), with recommendations by Congressmen Jim Moran (D-VA), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Eric Cantor (R-VA). If chosen for this position, Kathrens could have a lasting positive impact on the long-term management of wild free-roaming horses and burros, symbols of American freedom.
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Paula Todd King
The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.