BLM threatens Cloud’s Pryor Mountain herd

Removals are dangerous and a waste of tax dollars

DENVER, Co. (August 27, 2011)--The Cloud Foundation and members of the public, young and old, are writing letters to stop the removal of Pryor Mountain wild horses made famous by the PBS documentaries featuring the pale palomino stallion, Cloud.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Billings, Montana is requesting public feedback on their 2012 removal plans. All letters are to be postmarked by August 30, 2011.

“The current population is in decline, so to remove any horses in 2012 is unwarranted, dangerous and threaten their genetic viability,” states Ginger Kathrens, The Cloud Foundation director and filmmaker of the Cloud documentaries. "A minimum of 120 breeding animals need to be in the herd for it to endure what nature throws at them. They are close to this right now."

Kathrens refers to the herd's genetic analysis by renowned equine geneticist, Gus Cothran, PhD of Texas A&M University. Dr. Cothran has studied the genetics of the Pryor Wild Horse Herd since 1994. In his latest report to the Billings BLM Field Office in September of 2010, Cothran writes “. . .it is important that the population size of the herd be maintained at the level of a minimum of 120 breeding aged animals. The population size, at the time of this sampling was above that and if it is now lower, it should be restored to that level within the next five years.” Cothran includes all animals 2 years and older in the breeding population.

Today, 131 breeding age wild horses live in the designated range. Only 17 foals have been born in 2011, making this the lowest birth rate in more than 30 years largely due to the application of infertility drugs on selected mares. Currently, two-thirds of all adult Pryor mares have received the one-year, reversible drug via remote dart. An even smaller number of foals is expected in 2012.

People from around the world can send letters to protect Cloud and his herd. Simply mail them to: the Bureau of Land Management, Billings Field Manager, 5001 Southgate Drive, Billings, Montana, 59101-4669 .  Questions should be directed to Jared Bybee, State Wild Horse and Burro Specialist (406) 896-5223. Emails are not accepted by BLM and form letters don't count. The Cloud Foundation (info@thecloudfoundation.org) will accept emails, print them out and mail them to the BLM.

“Last year $78 million was spent on roundups and BLM's broken program," explains Kathrens. "They need to take down the new fence blocking the herd from their historic range and not spend more money threatening the survival of the unique little Pryor herd. We ask BLM to commit to the preservation of wild horses in America and we want Congress to ensure legendary wild horses and burros will survive despite threats from those that would profit from lands owned by the American public."

Press ReleasesJesse Daly