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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Saturday, December 21, 2019

Lawmakers Seek Funding Ceiling, Clarity on BLM Wild Horse Management Plan - Full Article

A bipartisan group of lawmakers have asked those in charge of reconciling Department of the Interior 2020 funding bills to limit new revenue earmarked for the BLM’s wild horse program and to clarify language pertaining to how appropriated funds are used to control wild herd population growth.

Posted by Pat Raia | Dec 19, 2019

A bipartisan group of lawmakers have asked those in charge of reconciling Department of the Interior 2020 funding bills to limit new revenue earmarked for the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) wild horse program and to clarify language pertaining to how appropriated funds are used to control wild herd population growth. The request is in response to a Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill, 2020, funding report.

Earlier this year the BLM adopted a pilot project calling for, among other things, strategic gathers that targeted herds in highly populated HMAs and a “robust” pilot program for wild herd management.

In a Dec. 10 letter, Rep. Raul M. Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Natural Resources, and a nonpartisan group of lawmakers asked senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and others involved in reconciling the House and Senate Interior, Environment appropriations bills to cap additional funding for BLM at $6 million, as contained in the House bill. It also calls on lawmakers to clarify report language so the new funding can only be used to underwrite porcine zona pelucida (PZP, used for fertility control) vaccine use and to ensure the report language bans using funds for surgical sterilization procedures...

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Friday, December 20, 2019

Ginger Kathrens: Wild horses groomed as scapegoats for public land destruction - Full Article

December 19 2019
By Ginger Kathrens | Special to The Tribune

A spending bill passed by the U.S. Senate on Oct. 31 offers the Bureau of Land Management a $35 million appropriation to reduce wild horse and burro populations in Western states by two-thirds.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the Humane Society of the United States laud the extra funding as a measure to prevent slaughter by funding a “non-lethal” fertility control program, but there are serious flaws in this thinking.

To date, no funding is specifically designated for humane, targeted fertility control, an approach supported by the vast majority of wild horse advocates.

This means BLM can spend the allocated funds to pursue its long-term goal: rounding up and removing wild horses to extinction levels, perpetuating this never-ending cycle at enormous expense to the American public. This is wild horse persecution, not protection...

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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Bureau of Land Management Plots the Absolute Destruction of 5 Wild Horse Herds in Wyoming - Full Article

By Carol Walker as published on Wild Hoofbeats

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has released a Scoping Document with a 30 day public comment period on 5 of the largest wild horse herds in Wyoming:

Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek, Great Divide Basin, White Mountain and Little Colorado.

I have been visiting, observing and photographing the wild horses in these 5 herds since 2004.

The BLM claims that these herds are “overpopulated” even though they completed a roundup of three herds, Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin only 2 years ago. The last roundup and removal in White Mountain and Little Colorado was in 2011.

The BLM provides figures of their wild horse population estimates in these 5 herds using a flyover and a statistical double-count method, and one of the new changes is that now any horse over the low range of AML is considered “excess” – this is not how an excess determination is made. For example, the BLM says there are 929 wild horses in Adobe Town and the AML is 600-800, so the actual “excess” is only 129 horses not 329. This change does make a difference and is the creative math that the BLM uses to justify their actions. They are also now counting foals which they have never done before in their population estimates. This allows them to pad their counts and justify a roundup.

The population estimates for these 5 herds swing wildly and unbelievably from year to year. Basing the need for a roundup on the BLM’s figures is absurd. There is a need for an actual count of wild horses to be done in EVERY HMA by an independent agency. Without that, it leaves the BLM open to distort their statistics any time they want to justify “excess” horses to do a roundup...

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Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Shrinking wild horse and burro populations to cost $5 billion: BLM - Full Article

By Miranda Green - 10/23/19 02:57 PM EDT

The Trump administration is estimating that it will cost nearly $5 billion over the next 15 years to shrink the country's population of wild horses and burros by more than two-thirds to a number officials say is sustainable for the herd.

On a call with reporters Wednesday, acting Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Director William Pendley warned that the growing number of wild horses and burros on federal land, largely out West, has become "an increasingly difficult situation."

“It’s not good for the horses and burros to have these kinds of populations. It’s detrimental to their health and the health of other wildlife and plant species we maintain. It’s simply not sustainable,” Pendley said.

The agency estimates there are 88,000 horses and burros on public lands, mostly in Nevada. Pendley said experts say that number must be decreased to 27,000 to be sustainable for both the animals and the lands on which they graze...

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Friday, November 22, 2019

Breaking Down the $5b to Solve the US Wild Horse Problem - Full Article

The acting head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has said it will take $5 billion and 15 years to control the wild horse population in the western US.

October 28, 2019

The acting head of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management, William Perry Pendley, has said it will take five billion dollars and 15 years control the overpopulation of wild horses on federal lands in the western United States. The current population of 88,000 mustangs and burros, the majority of which reside in Nevada, needs to be reduced to 27,000 ‒ a number the over-grazed ranges can reasonably sustain.

To kickstart the initiative, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved $35 million in September to support the implementation of a comprehensive package of humane and non-lethal management strategies for wild horses and burros on federal range lands. The effort is supported by a new coalition of animal welfare advocates and ranchers including the Humane Society of the United States, American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association and the American Farm Bureau Federation...

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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 Bu...