Thursday, July 2, 2020

Majestic Icon or Invasive Pest? A War Over Australia’s Wild Horses - Full Article

Scientists say the animals, known as brumbies, must be culled because they are destroying rivers and endangering native wildlife. Rural activists call these efforts an attack on Australian heritage.

By Livia Albeck-Ripka
June 28 2020

ANGLERS REST, Australia — Coming over the rise, Philip Maguire gripped the mane of his white gelding and rose on his heels to survey the bush land. He had hoped to be photographed mustering wild horses, but the animals weren’t playing along.

“They were sitting up there on that ridge,” Mr. Maguire said of the horses, now spooked by the human intrusion. “They’ll come back,” he huffed. “I’ll run them again.”

Mr. Maguire, a 60-year-old cattleman, is leading a campaign to prevent the Australian authorities from culling the wild horses, known as brumbies. The clash traces some of the country’s biggest fault lines, including its urban-rural divide and the legacy of colonialism.

To scientists and the politicians who support the policy, culling is a matter of environmental protection. The horses, an invasive species whose populations are booming, must be removed because they are trampling ancient ecosystems in the Australian Alps already hurt by climate change, they say.

To Mr. Maguire and his followers, the fight is about a way of life they perceive to be under threat...

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Friday, May 29, 2020

BLM Tests Fertility Drug to Control Wild Herd Growth - full article

Oocyte growth factor (OGF) lasts three years or longer and is a potential alternative to PZP.

Posted by Pat Raia | May 28, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has begun testing a new fertility-control vaccine it hopes will become an alternative to contraceptive porcine zona pellucida (PZP) for controlling wild herd growth. While some wild horse advocates believe the vaccine could reduce the need for controversial wild horse gathers, others maintain that the agency is not allowing enough public scrutiny of the testing.

In use by the BLM since the 1990s, PZP is injected into wild mares to produce antibodies that prevent sperm from attaching to an egg and fertilizing it. Mares on the range receive PZP via dart gun, while gathered mares are administered by syringe. The contraceptive is effective for about a year...

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Saturday, May 16, 2020

BLM cites ‘staggering’ cost of reining in U.S. wild horses - Full Article

By Scott Sonner | The Associated Press
May 15 2020

Reno, Nev. • Federal land managers say it will take two decades and cost more than $1 billion over the first six years alone to slash wild horse populations to sustainable levels necessary to protect U.S. rangeland.

The Bureau of Land Management's latest plans envision capturing 200,000 mustangs over the next two decades. It also wants to build corrals to hold thousands more than current capacity and adopt regulations allowing the permanent sterilization of horses roaming federal lands for the first time.

"The overall funding requirements could be staggering," the bureau acknowledged in a report to Congress this week.

The strategy underscores the volatility of the decades-long controversy pitting horse advocates against ranchers whose livestock compete for federally subsidized forage across 10 western states...

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Friday, May 8, 2020

Mustangs and memories: BLM plan threatens Wyo’s wild horses - Full Article

May 5, 2020 by Chad Hanson

I won’t forget the first wild horses I saw: flared nostrils, churning hooves and dreadlock manes. I intended to go fly fishing on Green Mountain, but I made a set of mustang memories instead.

The unplanned meeting happened years ago. That doesn’t matter. I can still picture the scruffy but yet majestic animals. Experiences, and our recollections afterward, hold deep seats in our minds. Virginia Woolf considered memory “the seamstress that threads our lives together.” Our memories and the stories we tell about them are what make us people.

After you’ve seen mustangs running, sparring or caring for their foals, they stay in your thoughts. Today, the wild horses I have known make me smile in meetings at the office. They run beside me and lend a bit of grace to my ordinary old-man jog for exercise in the morning. They even lured me to the section of the library dedicated to equine lore and history. There, in the stacks, I learned that the oldest horse fossils on Earth were found in Wyoming.

About a year ago, I uncovered a map on the internet that included a wild horse herd area along the banks of Deer Creek, south of Casper. I also learned that the Bureau of Land Management removed those horses entirely. They no longer exist. At a public meeting, I showed the map to the director of the local BLM office. He looked surprised, even taken aback. He could not remember when the agency decided to eliminate wild horses from the prairie south of my hometown...

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Wednesday, March 4, 2020

USDA Reveals Heber Wild Horse Management Plan - Full Article

The proposed action plan calls for contraception, gelding, and removals to control the herd’s population.

Posted by Pat Raia | Feb 27, 2020

The USDA Forest Service recently revealed its proposed action plan to manage horses in Arizona’s Heber Wild Horse Territory, but some wild horse advocates believe the plan is not in the horses’ best interest.
Released on Feb. 14, the 47-page Heber Wild Horse Territory plan proposes managing herd growth by vaccinating wild mares with contraceptive porcine zona pellucida (PZP) and gelding wild stallions. The plan also calls for using removals to reduce the herd from its current population of approximately 250 horses to 50-104 animals.

As a result, some wild horse advocates believe the plan is more about decimating the Heber herd that it is about preserving it...

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Saturday, February 8, 2020

William Perry Pendley: America’s wild horses and burros need our help - Full Article

By William Perry Pendley | Special to The Tribune
· Published: January 28
Updated: January 28, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management, which administers 245 million acres of public land, primarily in the 11 Western states and Alaska, has the federal government’s most difficult mission. Under its statutory “multiple-use, sustained yield” mandate, the BLM manages a breathtaking array of uses of federal lands. Given the passion with which the public embraces those uses, folks sometimes disagree about the decisions the BLM makes.

There is, however, one matter for which the BLM is responsible on which there is unanimity. Today, scientists, veterinarians and federal land managers all agree that America’s wild horses and burros, the rangeland that supports them, as well as the people, communities and indigenous plants and animals across the West affected by them, need our help. That is why I must offer an alternative perspective to the opinion piece authored by Ginger Kathrens (“Wild horses groomed as scapegoats for public land destruction,” Dec. 19)

Since 1971, the BLM, along with the U.S. Forest Service, has been legally required to protect these “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West,” and to manage them as “an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.” When managed wisely, wild horses and burros can thrive in the American West. However, left uncontrolled, herds quickly overpopulate their habitat, overgraze the land and decimate the fragile desert spring ecosystems critical to their survival and that of other species...

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Friday, January 17, 2020

Taming an American icon: A plan to curb wild horses, and save the West - Full Article

The emotional debate over the growing number of wild horses in the West is about more than animals and public lands. It’s about people and values, which is why a compromise has been so elusive. Is one now at hand?

January 15 2020
By Amanda Paulson Staff writer

When the first wild horses come into view, thundering through high desert sagebrush, it’s easy to imagine they’re in the American West of 150 years ago. This part of Nevada is desolate and beautiful: massive plains that stretch for miles without a building – or tree – in sight, rugged snow-gauzed mountains piercing the sky.

But if the idea of wild horses is a romantic one in America, conjuring images of unfettered freedom and unfenced spaces, the reality, in today’s West, is far more complicated. These horses – herded by a helicopter and headed for relocation to private pastures or adoption – lie at the nexus of a human-wildlife conflict that is one of the most incendiary in the West. It is a dispute rife with emotions and with little common ground.

Wild horses may be beloved in America, but to some, they’re also a nuisance – a remarkably fecund one, with a population that grows by about 20% a year, wreaking havoc on rangeland vital to ranchers and other wildlife. Estimates put the wild horse and burro population at 88,000 on public lands as of this past spring, though most experts say it’s now closer to 100,000. That’s more than three times the target population of 26,700 that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management believes its herd management areas can sustainably support.

With limited resources and management options constrained by law, court order, and public opinion, the BLM is trying to handle the horses through a piecemeal solution of roundups, adoptions, and maintenance on taxpayer-funded private lands. But it’s a system that satisfies no one, is expensive, and is leading to growing populations of horses both on and off public rangeland.

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“It’s like a runaway freight train, and it’s not easily solved,” says Dean Bolstad, who retired from the BLM in 2017 after 44 years with the agency. “I can’t tell you how important [dealing with these animals] is to the health and well-being of public lands.”

Now, for the first time in years, there are glimmers of a solution...

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Majestic Icon or Invasive Pest? A War Over Australia’s Wild Horses - Full Article Scientists say the animals, known as brumbies, must be culled because they are destroying rivers and endangeri...