Advocate sees how disturbed the Sheldon wildlife preserve wild horses are after decades of experimentation
Tracy Mohr writes:
Here is a link: http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/science_and_research/usgs_partnership.html to the BLM’s page of all the research they are proposing to do on the wild horses to “effectively manage them” on public lands. Keep in mind that the bottom line for BLM is that the proposed procedures, “when applied, are expected to result in a static to decreasing population level”.
In other words, the goal of all this research is to reduce the number of horses on public lands over time through permanent sterilization, with extinction being the eventual result.
If anyone is familiar with the concept of Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) with feral cats, it is the method proven most effective to reduce and eventually eliminate feral cat colonies.
The most concerning part of all this is that according to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) 2013 report, there is no scientific basis used by BLM to determine the number of horses that should be on the range, nor does BLM know how many horses are actually on the range. Population estimates have been know to be 800% higher than actual numbers. The NAS report also stated that current management practices (ie. removals) are actually contributing to higher rates of population growth due to decreased competition for forage and water.
So how can BLM say they need to reduce wild horse reproduction when they don’t really know how many horses are on the range or how many horses the range can hold?
Yet the BLM continues to reduce the number of horses allowed while increasing the number of livestock permitted to graze on public lands.
Make no mistake, the goal is to eliminate wild horses from public lands.
We currently have 45 horses from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, and some of these procedures had been done on the horses prior to their removal. It is obvious to us that higher male to female ratios, and spaying of mares and gelding and vasectomizing of males, does affect herd dynamics.
This was not the intention of the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, which was to preserve wild horses and burros on the land where they were found, and keep them free from slaughter and harassment from man.
This research is not only unnecessary because there is no wild horse or burro overpopulation, but it is redundant, has already been shown to be detrimental to overall herd health, and will result in the eventual elimination of wild horses from our public lands.
~ Tracy Mohr, founder The Mustang Project