2 special needs wild horses escape death at roundup

Day 2 of Devil's Garden Roundup courtesy Devils Garden Wild Horses FB Page

Day 2 of Devil’s Garden Roundup courtesy Devils Garden Wild Horses FB Page

Protect Mustangs will help find homes for 2 wild horses who would have been killed at Modoc Forest roundup

ALTURAS, Ca.(September 27, 2016)–Last week Anne Novak, founder and director of Protect Mustangs reached out to U.S. Forest Service staff with an offer to help find homes for any wild horses rounded up with pre-existing conditions–who would be killed–not offered a chance at adoption. Tonight Novak received the first call from Forest Service staff.

“It’s always bothered me that after wild horses heal from injuries and survive in the wild, they are chased by helicopters, rounded up and killed upon capture because they don’t seem like they would get adopted,” says Novak. “Some people don’t want a riding horse. Some people want to save a life.”

So far, two wild horses from the roundup have pre-existing conditions. One is believed to be pigeon toed due to a broken foot that healed in the wild. The other mustang’s condition is unknown at this time.

“They need to go to loving homes to become pets–not riding partners–or go to sanctuaries,” explains Novak. “They have survived in the wild and that’s a harsh life. They deserve our compassion after the roundup and they deserve to live.”

After the mustang protectors make an assessment of the wild horses with pre-existing conditions, a sanctuary might be a more suitable forever home. It’s too early to tell.

These two California wild horses from Modoc County will join their herd-mates at the Bureau of Land Management’s Litchfield holding Corrals near Susanville. There they will be prepared for adoption with the others.

Adoption applications are here: Protect-Mustangs-BLM-facility-adoption-app

    • Cost to adopt is $125.
    • Adoptions by appointment only, call (530) 254-6575.
    • Open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Summer hours are 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. The facilities are closed on federal holidays. Please call for current information.
    • Information is available 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-545-4256.
    • Completed adoption applications can be sent to Videll Retterath by e-mail vrettera@blm.gov or fax (530)252-6762.
    • The Corrals are located 21 miles east of Susanville , CA on US Highway 395.
    • Adopters receive title to wild horses after one year

Protect Mustangs will post photos as soon as we get them. Tax-deductible Gas donations are always needed to help us help the wild ones.

pm-ufs-devils-garden

Photo by the US Forest Service

Members of the public with questions about the BLM’s requirements for adoption, questions about the wild horses with pre-existing conditions, who want to help network homes for wild horses who would be killed for pre-existing conditions, need trainer referrals, or want some tips on how to build an inexpensive shelter are invited to email the mustang protectors at Contact@ProtectMustangs.org

“I pray we can change the trend of killing special needs wild horses at roundups,” says Novak. ‘Someone’s going to fall in love with them. After all they’re still American mustangs.”

Protect Mustangs is a 501c3 nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of native and wild horses. www.ProtectMustangs.org




Protect the wild horses in Modoc National Forest from a brutal helicopter roundup ~ Put up a fence!

PM UFS Devils Garden

By Marybeth Devlin

It is good to know that the US Forest Service is promoting adoptions of wild horses. However, no roundup should occur.

Inadequate Population of Wild Horses in Devil’s Garden

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature recommends a minimum-viable population (MVP) of at least 2,500 for a wild-horse herd. The arbitrary management level (AML) for the wild horses of The Garden — 206 to 402 — is way-below MVP. The AML implies that each wild horse needs 578 to 1,129 acres. But how many acres does BLM estimate each cow or calf needs? Answer: 38 acres. So, absolutely, The Garden’s 232,500 acres could support 2,500 horses at 93 acres per horse. I further note that it was USFS who split the horses’ habitat into 2 sections and, in so doing, took away 25,500 acres, which were then given over to commercial livestock, which already had many more grazing slots than the horses. Indeed, USFS allows nearly 4,000 cattle to graze in The Garden, where the horses are supposed to, by law, have principal use.

Costs and Method

Spending $600,000 on a helicopter roundup is a waste of taxpayer money, especially because there is a better way. Modoc National Forest Office declared that it had all the necessary equipment on hand to conduct bait-trapping operations in a humane manner. Therefore, the bait-trapping method should be used — when the herd substantially exceeds the IUCN guidelines for MVP. Bait-trapping is the cost-effective and humane technique.

Helicopters, in contrast, pose risks to both humans and horses. Their crash-record is high, with numerous fatalities. Using helicopters to chase wild horses is inhumane, especially in The Garden, where the landscape has been described as “… brutal for gathering. Dense stands of Western Juniper and many rocky outcropping make this landscape one of the most difficult places in the country to gather wild horses.”

Dealing with Roving Equids

Horses will roam. It is their nature. Surely, that’s why the Law is known as the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. It is management’s duty to keep them from places they should not be. Prevention is key. Removing horses that have wandered into onto private and Tribal lands just creates a vacuum for other horses to fill. Thus, removing them is an ineffective strategy. The elimination of mustangs from an open, accessible habitat results in repeated colonization by more mustangs. The process begins almost immediately, as horses roam into the area and see that it is attractive and vacant. Thus, removal is not a true solution. Instead, it perpetuates the problem and leads to the removal of more mustangs, a costly and unnecessary recurring action. More unfairly, the wandering equids may be only temporary visitors, not permanent residents. Worse yet, they may be driven out of their habitat by a profit-motivated helicopter pilot eager to “make his numbers.”

Prevention First

USFS and BLM should implement preventive measures to keep wild horses home in their habitat. Fence The Garden’s perimeters — after correcting all boundary-line discrepancies, making sure migration corridors are open, and restoring any herd-area land previously taken away. Next, address those factors that allowed the animals to leave home. For instance: Do fences need repair? It would be more effective for USFS and BLM to pay for new fences than to pay for a helicopter-gather. Removing wild horses will not mend fences.

 Marybeth Devlin is on Protect Mustangs’s Advisory Board and is a member of the Alliance for Wild Horses and Burros

Protect Mustangs is an organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.