Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Wildish Podcast: Australia’s wild horse conundrum parallels the West’s

HCN.org Wildish Podcast - Listen

Episode Three: The ‘Brumbies’ are protected, but their abundance has degraded the land Down Under and sparked heated debate.

Anna Coburn
Sept. 3, 2020

From High Country News in collaboration with Alan Wartes Media, Wildish is a six-part podcast series that chronicles the complicated world of wild horse management in the Western United States. Wildish is meant to confound you. It does not offer a simple solution to one of the region’s most intractable natural resource conundrums. It is a serial on humans. You’ll hear from the activists who ache for freedom — for the wild horse to be wild — and from those who flinch at the mythology attached to the species. You’ll also get to know some of the well-meaning people inside the Bureau of Land Management, the agency stuck in the middle, faced with balancing the horse as a relic of the Wild West with its undeniable impacts on the modern Western landscape.

Human attempts to rein in the population of wild horses and burros give rise to a stubborn syntactical challenge: Are these animals truly wild — or something else? “They fall through the cracks,” says Tammy Colt, wildlife biologist. And this paradox is not unique to the United States. Brumbies, Australia’s wild horses, are as controversial Down Under as mustangs are in the Western U.S. Wildish host Anna Coburn speaks with Lacey Salabye, senior extension agent with the Navajo Nation Department of Agriculture, about the overpopulation problem and the controversy it’s causing on the reservation. We also meet Laura Wilson, a young woman who grew in Riverina, Australia, where she frequently encountered wild Brumbies when she rode her own horse in the Snowy Mountains National Park.

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