Friday, June 8, 2012

Mustang & Burro Update, June 2012

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 50 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come. While Functional Horsemanship does not necessarily support all of AWHPC views, I would like to see a safe and humane program in rounding up and culling the herds. Some of what AWHPC writes is derogatory to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). While I have ridden and gathered cows on Federal grazing allotments with BLM cowboys, who are good hands and who I respect, I understand that the larger Federal Government doesn't do a lot of things well. Sometimes, what they don't do well is is the management of Wild Horse and Burro herds.

Arizona Burro Roundup Begins The BLM’s Cibola-Trigo burro roundup in southwestern Arizona began at 7:30 a.m. on June 6,2012. On the first day, the BLM captured 62 burros in 4 helicopter runs. Included were a number of foals. On day 2, the BLM captured 12 additional burros before calling the roundup in the late morning. The capture operation aims to remove 350 wild burros living in this remote region of the southern Sonora desert. Although BLM claims that burros are overgrazing, burro experts have stated that these animals regulate their population numbers in accordance with water availability. One wild burro population studied in the Mojave Desert showed a 7 percent reproduction rate — a far cry from the 15-25 percent rate of increase claimed by the BLM.

BLM Refuses Expert Offer for Humane Alternative to Dangerous Helicopter Roundup In Jackson Mountains, Nevada

Reno, NV – (June 8, 2012) — Despite the offer of experts to assist the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to provide a humane alternative, and under the guise of an “emergency,” the agency announced today that it will launch a helicopter roundup tomorrow in the Jackson Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) in northwestern Nevada. The action violates the agency’s own policy prohibiting the helicopter stampede of wild horses during peak foaling season (March 1 – June 30) and fails to meet the agency’s own criteria for an “emergency” situation. This morning, the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) joined by The Cloud Foundation, sent an urgent letter to the BLM informing the agency of the immediate availability of an expert in bait/water trapping who works with the U.S. Forest Service who can assess the Jackson Mountains situation and begin bait/water trapping in the area.  

June is the height of foaling season, and the BLM’s decision means that BLM - contracted helicopters will be stampeding tiny foals, heavily pregnant mares and other horses who may already be compromised from lack of adequate water and forage with helicopters for untold miles over rugged terrain in high summer desert temperatures.

The BLM plans to use helicopters to roundup 630 horses from an estimated population of 930 horses (including 738 adults and 96 foals who were counted in April 2012) in the Jackson Mountains area. The capture operation will encompass over 775,000 acres – of which 286,000 acres are within the Jackson Mountains HMA.  

Pryor wild horse roundup could start this month Federal officials plan to thin by more than a third a wild horse herd that roams the mountain range along the Montana-Wyoming border. A planned roundup of dozens of wild mustangs from the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range along the Montana-Wyoming border could begin later this month. Federal officials with the Bureau of Land Management say the roundup is needed to reduce the size of the famous herd. They say the effort could begin no sooner than June 20. The roundup would reduce the 170-horse herd to 120 or fewer animals. Officials say that would keep the animals from overgrazing their 38,000-acre range — the nation’s first wild horse preserve. A petition from horse advocates seeking to half the roundup is currently under consideration. Two similar petitions have been denied.

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