Do gathers really threaten wild horses & burros? Yes, but beyond the scope of keeping them simply at appropriate management levels….
To clarify, not by the various small regional/state BLM… the ‘worker bees’, but rather the “queen bee” better known as the government level BLM (Bob Abbey & office) acting as “right hand”, and DOI (Ken Salazar). How and why: We’ve lost over [conservatively] 20 MILLION herd management acres (part of the original 54 million set aside for mustang management) and since year 2000 alone, lost over 40% of our mustangs. CORRELATION? The federal government in this struggling economy has one quest and one focus – land and money. They’ve set their sights on the last remaining wild open spaces of our west for ‘green energy’ farms, development, and natural resource exploitation and wild horses, who may one day have better protection (through the will of the people), roam there. Wild horses and burros are simply a road block to what they call progress. Green energy is good, but must be more planful… not “government graffiti” on pristine high deserts or our western rangelands, with fascinating ecosystems and beautiful vistas.
Appropriately “federally protected” wild horses “LOCK UP” our western public rangelands from development and exploitation. Looking at the bigger and historical picture of wild horse mismanagement (not what appears just fine in one’s own “backyard”), it’s easier to see why there is a war waged against our wild horses & burros at the DOI/government level ~ OUR lands. Remain vigilant and “Keep our WEST WILD”.
Besides livestock overrunning lands owned by just a few large corporations (not private ranchers – very different) which only benefit 3% of the American public… there is also development, natural resource exploitation, green energy farms such as the Ruby Pipeline extending from Wyoming west to Oregon, and wind turbines & solar power. Suddenly, our wide open spaces of our beloved west are shrinking at alarming rates.
As stated, wild horses “lock up” our lands when they have appropriate “protected” status, as we are hoping… and they (DOI) are fearing, by restoring appropriate language/protection through a wild horse and burro Act (i.e. ROAM Act), prior to the 2004 tragic amendment, stripping wild horses and burros of most of their protection “sold without limitations”… a sneaky rider bill by Senator Conrad Burns who introduced it, and put it into appropriations without public comment/consent DURING the holiday break when most in DC were away on vacation. President G. Bush signed it on December 6th, and with the swipe of a pen, causing tragedies to your/my/our American mustangs and burros, and at the same time devastating knowledgeable citizens.
Sign of the times: actual video of what many of our wide open spaces may soon be like – tremendous impact on all wildlife & our psyches. Information and awareness is key. Here’s what Basin & Range says: The loud noise of the Stirling dish/engines will scare wildlife in the desert away and invade the silence of the wilderness areas nearby, at Calico Solar Project and Imperial Valley Solar Project (deadly Calico roundup, where 2,000 wild horses were removed last winter). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wEIQ2FVL_ys