We urge public watchdogs to lawfully photograph the captives to ensure their safety during the government shutdown. Will Bureau of Land Management staff be scooping up the dead horses in the morning as usual with the shutdown? Is this the time to expose how many wild horses are dying in the captive pens?
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Protect Mustangs is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to protect and preserve native and wild horses
ELKO — Reports that wild horses were without water prompted local Bureau of Land Management to investigate this week.
Contracted water hauler Jackie Wiscombe told the county commission Wednesday that the federal government shutdown had prohibited her from watering wild horses in Ruby Valley and Deer Springs, an area about 15 miles north of Currie.
She said she was concerned the animals were dying of thirst. The road to Deer Springs had been washed out, Wiscombe added, and she was unable to drive to the guzzlers.
Alerted by the news, BLM Elko District Director Jill Silvey said an employee was sent to Deer Springs to check on water and horse conditions.
The BLM employee was able to get to Deer Springs on a road that had some washout but was passable, Silvey said. The employee also reported that the horse guzzler still had water.
The employee didn’t see any horses, but because water was available, she said, the BLM believes the horses to be in good shape.
Silvey was unsure where the communication broke down, but said hauling water to the horses is an essential service and the BLM didn’t intend for Wiscombe to stop watering the two areas.
Wiscombe said she was contacted Thursday night and told that she should have received an email and voice message when the shutdown began, telling her to continue hauling water.
Wiscombe is also unsure how the miscommunication occurred, but couldn’t recall getting an email.
In any event, Wiscombe said she’s glad to be working with the agency again.
“I like working with this BLM office,” she said, “and they really do care about these wild horses.”
Mostly, she’s happy to be watering horses again.
On Friday she hauled water to Ruby Valley where the tubs were “bone dry.”
Wiscombe said she didn’t see any horses but did find fresh horse tracks near the guzzlers.
“I filled them up,” she said. “And I’ll go fill them back up in a few days.”
Commissioner Demar Dahl said Wednesday he could help fix a road if it was impassable.
Wiscombe said she would keep in contact with the commission if the road needed repair.
The Elko District BLM office is closed. Almost all of its employees have been on furlough since Oct. 1, when the federal government shut down.
Government shutdown puts 50,000 captive wild horses at-risk of neglect
Conservation group call for moratorium on removals for scientific studies
RENO, NV. (October 1, 2013)–The government shutdown jeopardizes 50,000 American wild horses stockpiled in federally funded holding facilities. For example, today some mustangs are caught in limbo from the controversial Sheldon Wildlife Refuge roundup in Nevada orchestrated by the Forest Service. Protect Mustangs has been warning the Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) about the fiscally irresponsibility to remove close to 80% of the native wild horses and burros off the range in order to fast-track the New Energy Frontier at great ecological expense. The BLM’s claims of overpopulation have been debunked by The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report stating there is “no evidence” of overpopulation.
“The public is up in arms wanting to know who will feed and care for the wild horses and burros during the shutdown,” states Anne Novak, executive director of Protect Mustangs. “This is a perfect example of why wild horses and burros should be living on the range and why 80% of America’s wild horses and burros should not be kept in federally funded facilities. That said, we don’t endorse the use of fertility control without population studies first. We want good science to govern policy. Tobacco science and guesstimates got the feds and the American taxpayer in this mess in the first place.”
Today some wild horses are stuck in limbo at temporary holding. They were rounded up from the Sheldon Wildlife Refuge and haven’t been given to government contractors who receive $1,000.00 per horse to take them off the feds hands and adopt them out.
“We are concerned the wild horses are suffering in pens without care,” states Kerry Becklund, director of outreach for Protect Mustangs. “We want to have access to monitor captive wild horses to ensure their care. We have volunteers who will help at all the holding facilities as needed during the government shutdown. We’re here to help.”
Protect Mustangs is against the removal of native wild horses from public land especially from a wildlife sanctuary where they belong. Wild horses are not an invasive species nor are they “pests” as the EPA wrongly named them in order to pass a controversial “restricted use pesticide” known as Porcine zona pellucida (PZP) under the name ZonaStat-H, for use on wild horses and burros. PZP is an immunocontraception made from pigs ovaries and did not pass the FDA.
This year the NAS released a report on the Wild Horse and Burro Program wherein they stated there was “no evidence” of overpopulation. Despite the statement by the esteemed scientific Academy, the BLM continues to endorse myths of alleged overpopulation.
The BLM has pumped up their population guesstimates to justify federal spending increases to roundup and warehouse the majority of America’s wild horses and burros who are using less than 3% of public land.
“It’s the Emperor’s New Clothes,” reveals Novak. “Everyone is being fooled there is an overpopulation issue when in fact they are underpopulated on the range today. We are calling for an immediate moratorium on roundups and removals for scientific population studies.”
“With the gluttony of roundups and removals, wild horses reproduce at a higher rate than normal–to prevent extinction,” explains Novak. “We need scientific studies to establish what the normal reproduction rate is, under normal circumstances and discover scientific truths about wild horses and burros. Today there is no scientific proof of BLM’s alleged overpopulation to merit fertility control, roundups or removals.”
The Wild Horse and Burro Program costs have been rising rapidly, from $38.8 million in Fiscal Year 2007 to $74.9 million in Fiscal Year 2012. Now 59 percent of the funding ($43 million) goes to holding costs. Despite a troubled economy, the administration wants to remove additional native wild equids and requested an additional $4 million in the Fiscal Year 2013 budget.
When the wild equids live out on the range it costs virtually nothing to “keep” them on their native habitat. They help reduce the risks of wildfires and reverse desertification. That’s the beauty of native wildlife filling their niche in the ecosystem.
The New Energy Frontier push is the reason for massive roundups on public land since 2009-10, when the former Secretary of the Interior, Ken Salazar, introduced his “Plan”.
In 1971 the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act designated 339 herd areas on 53.8 million acres. Today only 179 herd areas remain on 31.6 million acres. The herd areas have been zeroed out for oil, gas, livestock and mining interests to capitalize on the land legally allocated to wild horses and burros for primary, but not exclusive, use.
In 1900 there were 2 million wild horses roaming in America. Today less than 17,000 estimated wild horses remain in all 10 western states combined. The BLM’s estimate, over 37,000, is grossly inflated to justify additional removals and hide the true threat of extinction facing America’s wild horses and burros.
“We want to find the win-win–to return all the wild horses and burros to their native range so they can balance out the environmental devastation caused by the New Energy Frontier,” states Novak. “There is a way for this to work out but first we need scientific studies to make sure it’s done right.”
Protect Mustangs is a San Francisco-based conservation group, with an international membership base, devoted to protecting native wild horses. Their mission is to educate the public about the indigenous wild horse, protect and research American wild horses on the range and help those who have lost their freedom.
Most Activities on BLM-Nevada Managed Lands to be Suspended due to Federal Government Shutdown
As a result of the Federal government shutdown, essentially all services provided by the Bureau of Land Management will be suspended, with the exception of law enforcement and emergency response functions. Approximately 4,000 recreation facilities, including visitor centers, facilities, campgrounds, boat ramps and other recreation sites will be closed.
With an estimated $4.8 billion in revenues in 2012, the BLM nationally returns more than four dollars for every budget dollar it receives. The BLM manages 245 million acres – more than any of the nation’s major natural resource agencies, with the smallest budget, the fewest employees, and the lowest cost.
While the BLM will maintain the minimum staffing levels required to ensure continued safe management of the nation’s energy resources, issuing new oil and gas leases and permits will cease. Limited work will continue to ensure safe operations of domestic energy supplies, including inspection and enforcement activities for oil and gas wells on federal land in Nevada.
Recreation activities on BLM-managed lands will be similarly impacted. Public lands receive more than 57 million visitors every year, contributing more than $7 billion to local economies. In FY2012, Nevada received more than 7 million visitors contributing more than $547 (total funds) million to local economies.
Suspended activities and services will include:
· non-emergency Abandoned Mine Land and hazardous-materials mitigation
· processing of oil and gas drilling permits
· processing of lease sales, permits and other non-emergency authorizations of onshore oil
and gas, coal and other minerals
· permits and approvals for renewable energy and other rights-of -way issuances
· Endangered Species Act and cultural clearances
· range management restoration
· wild horse and burro adoptions
· sand and gravel permits
· timber sales
· work on resource management plans, including those driven by court deadlines
Suspended activities will resume once Congressional approves a budget for Fiscal Year 2014.
Because the BLM website will not be maintained for the duration of the shutdown, the BLM will be re-directing to Interior’s site, where additional information will be available at www.DOI.gov/shutdown as well as at OPM.gov.
In Nevada, the BLM closures include all offices and facilities, which includes all recreation sites such as Red Rock Canyon, improved campgrounds such as Indian Creek, and the California National Trail Center in Elko.
The BLM Nevada will furlough 891 of its approximate 927 employees during the funding lapse. After the initial shutdown procedures are completed, the BLM Nevada will maintain a total of 36 excepted employees.