BLM Fakes Population Growth to Wipe Out America’s Wild Horses

The feds’ mustang population “data” is a fraud 

By Marybeth Devlin

While pretending to rely on the assumption that herds grow 20% a year, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) posts numbers up to 8 times higher than that to justify roundups, which are pre-scheduled on a rotation-basis, seeming to target particular herds. For instance, the Agency recently claimed that the famous Kiger herd in Oregon grew from 21 horses to 156 horses in just four years — an increase of 643%, which equates to a yearly average increase of 160%, which is 8 times higher than the 20% BLM supposedly uses. [1] Such growth is biologically impossible. Kiger is not an isolated example, although it is the worst found so far. Here are some other phony figures on population-growth recently claimed by BLM to make it appear that gathers were necessary:

Blawn Wash (UT)
297.4 % increase in 3 years, averaging 99.1 % per year

Fish Creek (NV)
80% increase in one year

Green Mountain (WY)
281% increase in four years, averaging 70.3% per year

Stewart Creek (WY)
311% increase in four years, averaging 77.8% per year
But herd-growth is unlikely to reach even 20 percent a year. It is important to understand that the birth-rate is not the same as–and should not be equated to–the population growth-rate. Here’s why: Horses die. An independent study reviewed BLM roundup-records for a representative sample of four herd management areas composed of 5,859 wild horses (Gregg, LeBlanc, and Johnston, 2014). While the researchers found an overall birth-rate of just under 20 percent, they also found that half of foals perish in their first year of life. Thus, the effective foal-to-yearling survival-rate is just 10 percent. Further, adult wild horses also perish. They succumb to illness, injury, and predation. Their death-rate must be taken into consideration as well. But BLM ignores mortality–foal and adult–in its population-estimates. Given the 50% foal mortality-rate, and the 5% or higher average annual death-rate of adult wild horses, herd-growth could not increase 20% a year, and a herd-population could not double in 4 years–refuting yet another BLM myth.

Stealthily inserting bogus birth-rates into the data, wrongly conflating birth-rates with population growth-rates, and failing to factor in mortality-rates–that is how BLM creates the false impression of a population-explosion. But “cooking the books” is not the only way BLM falsifies the population-picture. Another ruse BLM employs is restricting maximum herd-size below minimum-viable population (MVP) size. Then, whenever a herd is made to appear–via fictitious figures–to exceed the arbitrary management level, BLM screams “excess!” and declares an immediate need for mass-removals and sterilizations. It should be noted that more than 70 percent of the herds are “managed” below MVP.

BLM also fails to consider another factor limiting herd-growth–stochastic events–which are random catastrophes such as wildfires or contagious diseases that suddenly wipe out mass-numbers of herd-members. Stochastic events can result in no-growth or even negative growth.

Now BLM is distributing grant-money to universities and researchers to study more ways of dealing with the phantom overpopulation. All manner of sicko experiments are being carried out on the wild horses, such as treating them with endocrine disruptors and sterilizing them surgically. Why? Because BLM is a corrupt agency. It invented this counterfeit crisis to create a sense of urgency, which will pressure Congress to give the Agency extra money to “solve” a non-existent problem.

TAKE ACTION: Sign and share by email the Petition to Stop the Wild Horse and Burro Roundups and Slaughter here:

Contact your elected officials to make them aware of BLM’s fraudulent population claims to get funding for wild horse roundups and warehousing at great taxpayer expense:

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

(Photo by BLM. Roundup paid for with your tax dollars.)

[1] Using simple division to calculate the average increase is how most people would “do the math”–dividing the percentage increase (643%) by the number of years (4). Expressing the average that way is readily understandable. However, another way of calculating it is what is called the “compound annual growth rate” (CAGR). Per that method, herd-growth can be likened to compound interest that you earn on a savings account; except of course that horses do die, which complicates the computations. But for now, let’s assume that horses never die, because that’s the assumption that BLM makes.

Using the free, online CAGR tool linked below, you would enter Kiger’s beginning population–21–and its alleged ending population–156–and the number of years that had passed–4. Then press the “Calculate CAGR” button, and the tool will compute the compound annual growth rate. For the Kiger herd, the CAGR is 65%, which is “only” 3.25 times higher–instead of 8 times higher–than 20%.

Here is the tool to compute CAGR:

Here are the other herds cited and their CAGRs. Fish Creek stays the same because its growth is just for one year.

Blawn Wash (UT)
38 = Population-estimate 2012
151 = Population-estimate 2014, including new foals

297.4 % = Percentage increase in three years
99.1 % = Simple average annual growth-rate
58.4 % = Compound annual growth-rate (CAGR)

Fish Creek (NV)
256 = Population-estimate 2013
461 = Population-estimate 2014, before foaling season (January)
80.1% = Percentage increase in one year

Green Mountain (WY)
258 = Population-estimate post-gather at the end of 2011
982 = Population-estimate in 2015 — including that year’s foals*

281.0 % = Percentage increase in four years
70.3 % = Simple average annual growth-rate
39.7 % = Compound annual growth-rate (CAGR)

Stewart Creek
124 = Population-estimate post-gather at the end of 2011
509 = Population-estimate in 2015 — including that year’s foals*

311.0 % = Percentage increase in four years
77.8 % = Simple average annual growth-rate
42.3 % = Compound annual growth-rate (CAGR)
* BLM’s population-modeling criteria said foals were not included in the AML. Evidently, they were.

Further Insight into Calculating Population-Growth

At the link below, you will find a discussion posted by the University of Oregon, providing a comparison between the simple average and the compound annual growth-rate methodologies for calculating annual percentage population-growth.

As will be readily apparent, the simple average approach is “straight-line” and … simple. Forgive yet another pun, but the average person can easily understand it and “do the math.”

The compound annual method, on the other hand, is extraordinarily complicated to compute, which is why the online tool is almost a necessity.

What is important is that both are legitimate ways of describing the data.

It should be kept in mind that population-growth estimates must consider births and deaths, not just births. That’s one reason why the Gregg et al. study was so important — it established, per BLM’s own documentation, a slightly-less than 20-percent birth-rate and a 50-percent foal mortality-rate. So, a wild-horse herd growth-rate of, for example, 65%, would have to mean a birth-rate that was much higher than 65% to offset foal deaths (50%) and adult deaths (5%).


19 thoughts on “BLM Fakes Population Growth to Wipe Out America’s Wild Horses

  1. I believe the actual facts are, and I am going to state it that that agency is committing corruption of the highest order by misrepresenting, fraudulently stating.and knowingly stating erroneous statements to enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayer, and at the cost of the horses, so that there will be a great deal of personal gain for those involved in that practise of deception.

  2. My message to BLM is simple: Stop perverting pseud-science to achieve the goal you want – to exterminate a species that pre-dates the US government. Just knock it off. Don’t you (the BLM) have enough people hating you across the nation?

  3. you people should be real proud of your self this government is having the blm whipe out our wild mustangs,i hope you all get voted out come November, we are growing in numbers almost 250 thousand we are all angry with this government and are voting against them

  4. This has been a well known fact for years. There is no viable way for herd numbers to increase by the numbers the BLM is stating. There are over 50,000 in holding costing the taxpayers (all US Citizens) $48,000 per horse for their lifetime. Most of the males are gelded and I do not understand why they cannot be released into a sanctuary. Between illness, predation, and injury, the death rate from not only the adults and foals would not allow these numbers to be correct. There are already 50,000 in holding who are not being cared for properly and should not be there to begin with at a cost of $48,000 per horse per lifetime and they want to continue to gather and contain at the cost of the taxpayers. The BLM is soliciting grants for universities to use them as testing. They are already being for experimental birth control alternatives. Birth control is absolutely not needed. The BLM is dishonest, they have been caught stealing money by buying personal items with Government monies that came from the taxpayers, they have sold over 1700 directly to a kill buyer for $10.00 a head and shipped directly to slaughter. I will not forget that and still think that all involved should be prosecuted but, no, they got away with it. Everyone needs to sign the petition, contact their representatives, senators and congress persons and tell them we are not going to put up with it any more!!!

  5. Set the horses free you poor excuses of human beings. Dismantle the BLM . And we the American public need to take a physical stand against them or there will be no more wild horses and burros. The time to act is now

  6. Debra garza you are so on point. But nothing will happen until we the American people take a physical stand. Are you ready to stand up for these beautiful creatures? Please contact me if so thank you

  7. The American people have known for years that the BLM has lied about our wild horses and the numbers still on the range. Salazar’s next door buddy sold horses to slaughter. Salazar expects us to believe his lies that he knew nothing about the slaughtered innocent wild horses. Who is paying who to pull off the biggest lie and why? Greed will be punished!

  8. Phony statistics are used to justify the use of taxpayer dollars to roundup and remove our wild horses from our public lands. No census has ever been done, only bureaucratic nonsense that bolsters the overpopulation myth.

  9. I am so tired of the BLM lies, of their slaughtering these iconic wild horses. They formed our west, giving ranchers their start, were the sturdy sure footed horses that played their greatest roll, carrying our mail for the pony express, are great at keeping prairie fires down as are the donkeys.
    Why is the BLM doing this? The big welfare ranchers use your taxes to raise their cattle on federal land. . Once the horses are gone these lands can be used by the oil and gas companies. Fracking, and drilling making these welfare ranchers richer. Ted Turner, the Koch brothers who are the richest family in America. This is illegal as the horses were promised this land. There will never be an over population . They use PZP on the mares, gonacon on the stallions as birth control. This is genocide. As they will soon be gone forever. Your children would not see a herd of wild horses grazing or racing toward a waterhole. Our west will be gone as we know it. You can help to stop this. Check out Protect Mustangs
    on their website. Read up on things that have been studied by biologist, the latest proving they were here before we were. Please see how they are chased by helicopters and many ran to death. This is unbelievable, but it is true . I value these iconic horses and they need to be free of The BLM’s death sentence. PLEASE SIGN..Wild horses stand for freedom. Help save our planet.

  10. This is ridiculous. Horses are not rabbits and cannot possibly multiply this way. Mares (female horses) have one baby foal (horse) at a time, and twins are rare. Mares take 11 months for gestation (meaning they are pregnant for 11 months).

    Wild horses have natural predators, also.

  11. The BLM have to stop their lies and illegal activity, leave the horses alone leave it to people who know and understand what to do and how to do it and just stop the lies, it needs to end and they need to go. Keep pushing for the truth no matter what. Freedom for the wild horses and protect the innocent they all deserve out help.

  12. This is not only tragic, but unbelieveae that our tax dollars are abused in this manner.
    Every Anerican that pays taxes should be angry of the clear and present abuse of the government in ‘managing’ the wild horses.

    On our treks we have seen very few wild horses which indicates that this abuse has led to such a decline in population the majority of the people may never see wild horses.

    Not to mention that ‘animal abuse’ is now a felony. So why is the government being allowed to abuse animals (which clearly occurs in the videos) with American Tax Payer money?

  13. I guess I would like them to show me the over population of wild horses in Wyoming before they start this ludicrous project! I think most of the wild horses in Wyoming are in holding pens and the other ones that are still free should by rights have plenty of land tol run on and virtually never be seen. You are trying to eliminate them and I think you chose Wyoming to do this because the state is on your side because the land that should be theirs is targeted for oil leases, fracking and gas. I can not believe that Sally Jewel can be for the horses when she makes statements like they breed like rabbits! If in fact they did breed like rabbits then the BLM might have a reason but horses don’t breed like rabbits. There is no viable reason to do this to our Wyoming herds they are thin enough unless your talking about extinction!! I fear they are going to ignore the common sense approach to this because they already know what they want to do is wrong and they hope to get it done before we do something besides write comments. God help or mustangs.

  14. This is excessively BAD. Any idiot knows these horses cannot be as high in count as BLM claims. !!!
    All they want is extinction for land grabbers. !!!!!!!
    This really does have to stop! DTOP ALL WILD HORSE ROUNDUPS IMMEDIATELY !!!!!!!
    Terminate all BLM peoples, they may not all be employees!!
    Return ALL horses back to the wild. And shut down any land grabbing from anyone. !!!
    Put people in these spots who actually CARE. ! Get rid of Sally what’s her name. She does not belong in that office !!!

  15. Wild horses should be protected as any wild animal. These animals are our heritage. The government should protect them not sell them or kill them/

  16. One thing we need to bring up with our upcoming presidential candidates be it democrat or republican: what are you going to with with the BLM?? Talk about wasting tax payers money & destroying all our beautiful horses, burros & donkeys. One way of balancing budgets, dismember the BLM!

  17. ~elections & horses & VOICEs:
    Well, we were surely duped by the soon-outgoing Obama administration, despite the (false) HOPE that many of us initially held for him…. we’ve consistently BEEN misguided, misled, UNheard, and severely disappointed during his entire 8 years! But NOT for lack of trying; i don’t know of Any feasible methods to reach this admin which were Not attempted
    – yet (to my knowledge) not a single issue or question concerning WH&B, BLM, or even domestic slaughter and federal agencies breaking laws– EVER received acknowledgement (much less answers) from him or his crew??! I’ve no clue how we could’ve yelled or written louder?, {other than physical mass-SIT/Stand-INs, which i still advocate @ this point!}

    but I doubt that Obama said aloud the words: “wild horse, horse, burro, HMA, american-icon, equine, or ranching grazing subsidy” for 8 years …. that said, WHO were our Choices?? (Palin?….shudders).
    My QUESTION now, thus is:
    does ANY one have a decent feel for the actual “stances” regarding OUR issues — of ANY 1 of the numerous potential Candidates??
    (yessirree, there are at least “a couple” who I suspect would spell Worse-Disaster!, but….)
    DARE we have a sliver of hope for even 1 actual concerned, caring, listening candidato??from ANY “side”?
    IF so, (I hope so), WHO, WHEN, WHERE, WHY????? ImhO, most of us would gladly give our virtual cowboy hat, saddle, computer (or much more) to hear such useful knowledge OR conjecture!?
    as said above, “One way of balancing budgets, is to dismember the BLM!”

    and One thing about the YeeHadists in Malheur is the potential to force-open discussions of public land uses, AND allow for the more specific questions / opinions that we need…. ? {ha! a silverlining?}
    btw, no “suggestions” are to be considered as TOO silly or doubtful, at this point… Thanks in advance.

  18. Bernie Sanders has a good rating regarding candidates. He is a co-sponsor of both S.A.F.E. and P.A.S.T. He now also has the most individual contributions to his campaign ever on record (as opposed to corporate, PAC, etc. contributions). I can’t see anybody else demeaning themselves to participate in the effort to ‘right’ BLM. Supporting Bernie, IMO, would be a great boost to his campaign AND be a great opportunity to sync with a candidate that actually cares about things that matter, ie., our planet’s health, our food supply, our health and the education of our children. As for BLM, exposing their numbers games are important to establish a real picture of what is going on serious solutions can be considered. There are not finite resources (land, water, funds) to manage everything to make everyone happy. Regardless of the outcomes, management will be necessary, and without real numbers it will never make any sense. Everyone is going to have to do some compromising in order to have anything sustainable. Until people are willing to accept that our world is shrinking and prioritize what is most important, we will never be able to reach manageable agreements. Without keeping Mother Earth healthy, the rest will be for naught. I have never publicly embraced political candidates before, but I can definitely #FeelTheBern.

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