The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is proposing a roundup of 294 wild horses in Nevada’s Augusta Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA). Unlike other capture plans, the BLM’s Winnemucca District Office intends to treat mares with PZP fertility control and release all horses captured from within the HMA back to the range.
However, approximately 50 horses living outside of the HMA need your help to stay with their families free on the range. The horses are living in an area that was once designated as wild horse habitat but “zeroed out” for wild horses to accommodate grazing of privately-held farmed animals.
Dear Friends of our Wild Horses;
A year ago in September the BLM removed the family bands that roamed the Commissary Ridge area in the Custer National Forest, saying they were illegally grazing in this Pryor Mountains area. Their decision to remove ALL the horses in the Forest Service came at the 11th hour when there was no time to mount a protest. Their actions resulted in the removal of four bands led by the stallions Conquistador, Trigger, Bo, and Shane. The bands contained animals like Grumpy Grulla who was 21 years old and Conquistador, the magnificent 19-year-old stallion you may remember from the first Cloud film.
Because of an outpouring of donations from all across the country from generous wild horse lovers like you, the Cloud Foundation was able to adopt and buy the older members of the bands, keeping the families together and providing them with the freedom to roam on a beautiful ranch just north of their home in the Pryor Mountains. This spring three foals were born in Conquistador, Bo and Trigger’s bands. Diablo (Chalupa x Bo) and Diego (Cavelita x Conquistador) were born in April. Lovely Annie Oakley was born in early May to Mae West and Trigger. Our surprise gift arrived in August when Trigger’s mare, Evita, gave birth to little Pistol.
We wanted to give you an update on the Pony Express Delivery. Since the beginning of August when we started the campaign, we have received 71,568 letters and emails! We are so elated that so many people have come through on this… and are STILL coming through on this; we’re still getting letters!
We’ve received so much positive feedback for the Pony Express from all over the world. So many schools and organizations begged us to let their kids’ letters be included. So, how could we say no to that?
So, we appreciate your patience in this very important issue of stopping the wild horse government roundups. We have extended the deadline, so please keep sending your letters in if you haven’t already. This is an issue that is at the top of everyone’s list and I will deliver on my promise. Literally.
Devon, PA — The Grand Championship at Dressage at Devon is always a nail biter, but this year’s group of champions really impressed with incredible movement, type and conformation as they competed for this big award. To the thrill of the crowd, two beautiful mares trotted away with the show’s most coveted ribbons during the breed division. Wearing the championship neck sash once again was Iron Spring Farm’s Rabiola, the gorgeous KWPN mare who has won more than ten championships at the show over the years. Finishing with the Reserve Grand Championship was Dazzle, a two-year-old mare by Jazz, who also has quality gaits and charisma.
Rabiola kicked off her day by winning the Four-Year-Old and Older Broodmares class. She then trotted to the Mare and Mature Horse Championships before clinching the title of Grand Champion. The mare, by Metall out of Fabiola by Zadok, is not only frequently a big winner at DAD, she’s also a mom of several Dressage at Devon winners. “She’s the Queen,” said a very happy Mary Alice Malone, owner of Rabiola. “This was really amazing. I’m really lucky to own her.”
Dear Our Fabulous Wild Horse Supporters,
We are SO excited to FINALLY announce the best news we have had to share with you in over 2 1/2 years!
OUR MUSTANGS ARE GETTING THEIR SANCTUARY AND HAVE THE BLM’S SUPPORT!
Over the past three days, I have been to meetings in Sacramento and again in Washington, DC. I’ve met with BLM Director, Bob Abbey, and Deputy Director, Mike Pool, along with the Wild Horse and Burro team. The BLM has officially agreed to support going forward with the development of the wild horse Eco-sanctuary for the horses in holding! Also in DC, I met with Congressman Jim Moran, who had already given his blessing, but is submitting legislation to members of Congress on behalf of these wild mustangs. We are so thankful to him and his staff for their efforts on the wild horse and burro issue. All the meetings were fabulous and we could not be happier about the news!
One year ago this week the BLM roundup of Cloud’s herd began and 57 wild horses in Cloud’s herd lost what they value most: their freedom and their families. It was only with your help and immediate action that people working with the Cloud Foundation were able to adopt and purchase four family bands after the disastrous roundup. Because of your generosity, Pistol lives with both his mother and his father – growing up as close to wild as possible.
I first filmed Pistol’s father, Trigger, when he was just a few days old for the National Geographic special “Horses”, so it was very special to meet Pistol at this age – he looks very much like his father did! Trigger is the only offspring of the stallion, Challenger, who was struck and killed by lightning in 1999, as portrayed in Cloud: Wild Stallion of the Rockies. With such a small herd now remaining in the wild, the removal of Trigger and his band is especially detrimental to the unique Spanish genetics of the Pryor Mountain herd.
It is my hope that Pistol and his sister will be allowed to return to the wild someday and continue Challenger and Trigger’s legacy.
Washington, DC (September 1, 2010) – While the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) welcomes the recent news that the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has asked the National Academy of Sciences National Research Council (NAS/NRC) to review its National Wild Horse and Burro Program starting January 1, 2011, we are deeply disappointed with the agency’s blatant disregard for calls to halt wild horse roundups pending completion of the review. AWI first recommended this outside review along with a moratorium on roundups over a year ago given the widespread problems being reported in the BLM’s management of wild horses.
“While we are grateful that the BLM has finally realized the urgent need for advice from scientific experts, we continue to be disappointed at their stubborn refusal to halt the massive wild horse roundups they are conducting at an alarming rate,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of government and legal affairs for AWI.
In testimony to the House and Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittees, AWI laid out its reasoning and criteria for an independent study by the NAS, a moratorium on all non-emergency roundups, and the critical importance of maintaining language preventing the BLM from killing tens of thousands of healthy wild horses. In July, similar concerns were raised with the BLM in a bipartisan letter from House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV), National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee Chairman Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) and 52 of their colleagues.
Comments on BLM’s Plan to Extend Infertility Drug Use through 2015 Due by September 16th
Dear Cloud Supporters;
Mark your calendars. Comments regarding a five-year plan to continue the use of Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) infertility drugs on Pryor wild horse mares are due on September 16. The initial scoping letter from the Billings BLM was mailed on August 18.
As a result of aggressive infertility applications delivered via shots last fall and dart guns this spring, 52 mares on the mountain are cycling monthly (coming into estrous or heat), being bred, and defended by their band stallions.
Makendra and I were in the Pryors last week for 5 days and I witnessed more societal disruption than I have seen in over 16 years of documenting these horses. Currently, it is a herd in chaos. 60% of the 18 bands we observed have had some kind of disruption. Three band stallions have lost their families all together. Some band stallions have benefitted from the intense competition — like Cloud, who won a new mare. This high degree of disruption has taken place just since our last visit in July.
The Custer National Forest awarded a contract on August 6, 2010. It calls for the building of new, bigger, stronger, longer fence to prevent the Pryor Wild Horse Herd from grazing on their mid-summer through fall pastures atop their mountain home. The first question I am always asked is “Why?” To answer honestly, I am not sure what is pushing this kind of expensive and unwanted project. But, to even try to answer the question requires a bit of a history lesson.
The wild horses of the Pryor Mountains, known as the Arrowhead Mountains to the Crow Indians, have been documented as living in this area since the early 1800s. But, they probably have lived here for far longer. The Arrowheads were the sacred heart of Crow Indian country, and the Crow tribe possessed the largest horse herd in the West. The wild horses are likely descended of their treasured war ponies.
It is also likely that they are the descendants of the horses of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. The famous explorers had traded for Shoshone and Nez Perce stock and on their return trip from the West Coast in 1806 they put Sgt. Nathaniel Pryor in charge of bringing the horses back to the Missouri River. While camped in the Arrowheads, the Crow Indians stole all the horses. The mountains were subsequently named for the hapless Sergeant.
BLM conducting a bloody 2000+ mustang and burro roundup
California doesn’t have many wild horses and very few wild burros left but that, along with a public outcry, has not stopped the Bureau of Land Management from rounding up thousands more of California’s wild equids. The BLM, responsible for managing most of the remaining wild horses and burros in ten Western States, are now running horses ten miles or more over rough volcanic terrain with helicopters. Horses bleeding from their noses in the thick dust, very young foals separated from their mothers, a mare with a broken leg and a colicking mare have been observed by a dedicated team of advocates observing the Twin Peaks roundup.
California has lost 16 of the original 38 wild horse herds designated for protection in 1971 and over 2/3 of the public land tagged for wild horses and burros has been taken away from these celebrated icons of the West. Now BLM is working fast to remove 1855 mustangs and 210 wild burros from the Twin Peaks area, just north of Susanville, California. The roundup is scheduled to last 45-60 days and BLM aims to leave only 450 mustangs and 72 burros on this 1250-square mile range, larger than the state of Rhode Island. Almost all the mares returned would be given infertility drugs and a mere 72 burros is not a genetically viable population in this beautiful area designated principally for their use. Over 32,000 privately-owned cattle and sheep are permitted to graze annually on the Twin Peaks area. Revenues generated yearly from livestock grazing fees are estimated at $120,000 while the cost of rounding up/processing of 1,980 wild horses and burros would be 35 times the annual grazing revenues – over $4 million. Over 38,000 wild horses are in government holding while less than half that remain on the range and BLM plans to complete the removal of 12,000 wild horses and burros this fiscal year alone.