Tag Archives: Cloud Foundation

Stop Wild Horse Eradication Plan in Caliente Complex

The Cloud Foundation is fighting hard in federal court to stop BLM from zeroing out — or permanently removing — ALL wild horses in the remaining 6 HMAs of the Caliente Complex of eastern Nevada. While BLM claims the horses are destroying the range, they continue to permit thousands of cattle to graze in the same area.

Last month, a federal judge issued a ruling against us and the 1700+ wild horses who live in Caliente. Now the Cloud Foundation, along with Western Watershed Projects, is preparing to fight this bad ruling.

Our legal team is getting ready to file the appeal. We cannot concede defeat. If we do, these horses will lose their freedom forever — 1,700 more victims of the BLM’s sick system of wild horse imprisonment.

Lawsuits are expensive and we need your help. Thousands of wild horses are slated for removal if we don’t prevail.

We know this is a big ask in these unprecedented times. But without your help, these magnificent animals will lose their families and their freedom, and some will likely lose their lives. Please donate if you can to this worthy cause. Together, we will fight with everything we’ve got to keep them free. That’s our promise to you, and to them.

No donation is too small (or too big!). We know these are extraordinary times, but YOU are extraordinary people. Thank you for everything you do, for how much you care, and for your support of our work.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Black Mountain Burros Need Your Voice – NOW

The BLM is pushing a 10-year plan that would destroy America’s last large and genetically-healthy wild burro population. The proposal would roundup 1,250 of the 1,700 burros (nearly 75%) and artificially skew the female-to-male ratio which would likely cause tremendous social disruption.

We are calling on BLM to abandon the proposed massive roundup plan, and instead utilize humane on-the-range management. We’re asking them to create a Black Mountain Burro Range, which would eliminate livestock grazing and protect this cherished burro population and all wildlife for years to come. Please act to protect these beautiful burros NOW!

COVID19: Rewilding Our Relationship with the World

In a rapidly changing world, one thing is for certain. Humanity needs to take a hard look at our relationship to animals and nature. In this article from The CANA Foundation, the link is established between the exploitation of animals in the wet markets of Asia and the callous treatment of our wild horses, though they are not yet slaughter-bound, for private gain.

As an organization dedicated to protecting wildlife on our wild lands, TCF advocates respect for all species. As the article states, “We must REWILD our way of thinking. We have to take a step back and see that the greatest and most important assets that we have are the lands and the animals that call them home. Somewhere in the connection between those two things and us, lies our humanity, and we desperately need to find it again.”

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Wild Horses Are Native to North America, Right?

Written in 2008, this short article provides a great overview in layman’s terms of why our magnificent wild horses are a reintroduced native species to North America. Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, researcher of reproductive physiology and developer of the groundbreaking PZP fertility control vaccine, along with Dr. Patricia Fazio, researcher of equid evolution, outline facts that simply don’t change: Equus Caballus, the modern horse, originated and evolved here in North America and therefore must be a native species.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Say “NO!” to NEPA Changes

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is arguably the most important environmental law in the United States. Facts, science, public input, and minimizing negative impacts to the environment are the cornerstones of this essential law.

NEPA provides protections for our wild horses, the environment, clean water, clean air, and all wildlife. The federal government is proposing new rules that would gut NEPA regulations and eliminate or reduce public participation, sidestep environmental analysis, and allow industry (such as livestock interests, mining, drilling, logging, etc.) to write their own environmental reviews. This is categorically unacceptable and contrary to the original intent of the law.

Please take just a minute to submit comments telling the government to abandon this dangerous proposal.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

What Makes a Wild Horse Wild?

By Ginger Kathrens

In 1994 I saw my first wild horses in the Pryor Mountains of Montana. A black stallion was eating snow at the base of a red butte. When he noticed my sister who had on a bright white golf jacket, he pranced toward her and snorted. His mares, yearling, and newborn foal responded to his warning, dashing from the shadows of the butte to the safety of nearby hills.

Captivated by the striking stallion named Raven and the spectacular wild horse range they call home; I began documenting their lives in the wild. On May 29, 1995 they brought their newborn colt out of the forest right in front of my camera. I named him Cloud and his life is the subject of three PBS Nature series documentaries.

The assertion that same sex herds of horses in captivity are the equivalent of wild horse families in the wild is ludicrous. A single-sex group of geldings or mares in a pasture bears no resemblance to the intricate and dynamic society of a wild horse herd.

In the wild, the horses make all the decisions, decisions that often make the difference between life and death. Where to go when a storm comes, where to find water in a drought, when to run and when to stand their ground — these are decisions shared by the band stallion and often a strong lead mare. Cloud was lucky to have Sitka for a time, a strong female who could even tell the powerful and impetuous Cloud where to go and when.

I documented Cloud from the day he was born to the time, 20 years later, when he disappeared. His body was never found, but that is not unusual. Many wild horses decide to isolate themselves at the end of their lives. And this is an important word to remember: decide.

Mustangs in captivity do not have the ability to decide much of anything. They are fed, they are restrained in pastures or dirt paddocks, and they are in a same-sex herd of all geldings (castrated males) or all mares.

The horses on my small Colorado ranch have more of a society than any same-sex herd in a BLM corral or sanctuary.  Flint is the leader of my little band which includes Cloud’s birth sisters Mahogany (Flint’s lead mare) and Smokey. The other four geldings, Sky, Sax (Cloud’s youngest brother), BJ, and Swasey, take their lead from Flint and, to a lesser extent, Mahogany. But I would never pretend that they have the social intricacies or intense behaviors of a real wild horse family.

Wild horse social structure is complex and fascinating. It is essential to their survival in the wild. In many ways wild horses are like wolves. There is a dominant male, often a powerful female, and there are subordinate members of the family, including other females. Young males are asked to leave the family by their fathers, and young females get a wandering eye around two years of age. Only bachelor stallions that are skilled fighters and have a strong desire to procreate can win and keep mares.

It is disingenuous of BLM – and others seeking to rid the range of these magnificent animals – to tell the public they can see “wild horses” in “public off-range pastures.” None of the captivating natural behaviors just described are seen among geldings or mares in a man-made, fenced environment.

What the public is seeing are human-influenced, same-sex pastured horses, who bear little resemblance to their friends and families still lucky enough to be running wild and free on our open ranges.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Remembering Jackson

Last month we said goodbye to one of the most beloved stallions of the Pryor Mountains. “Action Jackson,” as he was affectionately nicknamed by TCF Board Member Linda Hanick, was a contemporary of Cloud. At one time he commanded the largest band in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. Cloud’s daughter, Firestorm, was a longtime companion of Jackson’s, and two of their offspring still live wild and free in their Pryor Mountain home.

Click here to watch Ginger’s tribute to this legendary stallion.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

BLM Wyoming Moves One Step Closer to Wild Horse Extinction

Late last week, the Rock Springs, Wyoming BLM Field Office revealed their newest plan to eradicate wild horses in part of the state, presumably to make room for additional livestock. This “Checkerboard” area of the state has long been a source of contention between private and public interests. The Rock Springs Grazing Association, which had historically consented to wild horse grazing on private lands, rescinded that consent suddenly and in 2011, filed a lawsuit against BLM. The draft Revised Management Plan Amendment released last week appears to be a capitulation to these private interests.

The Cloud Foundation has issued a press release condemning the plan. Ginger Kathrens and the Cloud Foundation have decades of history fighting for the protection of wild horses in this area – and we vow to continue to take action to protect these Wyoming herds from eradication.

But There’s Also Some Good News from Wyoming

The Cloud Foundation and others have been helping to get a fledgling wild horse protection group off the ground in Wyoming. The group is called WYWHIP: Wyoming Wild Horse Improvement Partnership and was founded by advocates Christi Chapman and Mary Santagata. Our collective goal is to manage Wyoming’s Red Desert HMAs with humane, reversible fertility control, eventually eliminating the need for large scale roundups completely. With BLM collaboration and partnerships, this dream is becoming a reality!

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Weakening of NEPA Could Threaten Existence of Wild Horses and Burros

Many of you may have seen the President’s press conference January 9th and wondered what impact, if any, watering down the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) may have on the future of our wild horses and burros. It’s a valid question, and the answer is troubling.

Weakening protections for our public lands makes the land and the many species of wildlife that make their homes there more vulnerable, most especially our wild horses and burros. These American icons are the only species to be defined by the land upon which they live. If the land is less protected, so are our beloved wild herds.

Ironically (and appropriately), NEPA itself requires a public comment period on these proposed changes. We will be calling upon you soon to lend your voice in support of our wild lands and wildlife!

Click here to read our Press Release and one TCF Board Member’s take on what the proposed NEPA changes could potentially mean.

Dana Zarrello
Deputy Director
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Ride Along with Ginger and Flint as They Take a Look Back at 2019 and What’s to Come in 2020

Much has transpired for our wild horses and burros in 2019. They faced new and varied attacks, some coming from organizations we thought were friends of these magnificent animals. Through it all, you’ve stuck with us and supported our work to keep our wild mustangs and burros in the wild where they belong. No matter how many times we say it, it bears repeating: we couldn’t do that essential work without you.

But there were many bright spots in 2019 too!

We invite you to ride along with Ginger and Flint as she discusses all of it.

As ever, we thank you for all that you do to keep our wild ones wild and free.

Dana Zarrello
Deputy Director
The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Cloud Foundation Political Update: BLM Seeks Single-Dose Sterilization Shot

The Cloud Foundation recently responded to a BLM Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) which proposes an experiment on formerly wild mares in order to test the efficacy and longevity of a new injectable fertility control vaccine, called the Oocyte Growth Factor (OGF) vaccine.

BLM’s stated goal is to develop an injectable that would provide permanent infertility (sterility) with a single dose.

While The Cloud Foundation does not object to a fertility control vaccine with longer-term efficacy (several years with a single dose) we do have strong and valid concerns about BLM plans to sterilize wild mares and jennies. With regards to the OGF vaccine, we see the following problems:

  1. The way this vaccine renders a mare infertile is that it affects the ovaries, disrupting ovulation and therefore hormone production.
  2. Disrupted hormones affect natural social behaviors – behaviors that make up the fabric of wild horse society. Most wild horse advocacy organizations oppose gelding for the same reason – it destroys natural hormone production and thus negatively impacts natural wild equid behaviors.
  3. The potential use or overuse of a permanent sterility vaccine in the hands of BLM without sufficient oversight.
  4. The fact that the majority of our western wild herds are already managed at “Appropriate Management Levels” (AML) that are below the minimum threshold for genetic viability. Sterilizing individuals and further reducing genetic variation could lead to irreversible harm.

You can read our full comments and explanation for the above concerns, as well as our suggestions regarding this proposed study, by clicking here.

Thank you for your support and interest. We appreciate the fact that you care about the health of our herds and how BLM manages them.

The Cloud Foundation
107 South 7th St
Colorado Springs, CO 80905
www.thecloudfoundation.org