As you may have heard, the BLM is proposing a roundup of over 325 horses from the Onaqui HMA in Utah. This potentially devastating proposal would deplete the 450-member herd to low AML, a 72% decrease in herd size. It will wreak havoc on the herd, which will no longer be genetically viable, and it would be a tragic loss for the public who carefully follows this popular herd.
This is where you come in. The public comment period is open until next Tuesday! We need you to submit your comments on this roundup by 10/31/2017. Some of our coalition partners have talked with BLM employees in Utah who say the plans are not yet set in stone, and they’re looking for public input. This is a huge advantage in our favor – we need to speak up for the Onaqui mustangs!
Here are some suggested topics you can use, and instructions for submitting your comments:
- Do not permanently remove 325 horses (72%) as they might be killed in holding, per the most recent recommendation of the BLM National Advisory Board.
- Removing these horses will render the herd genetically non-viable per equine geneticist, Dr. Gus Cothran. He advises at least 150-200 horses must remain in the herd to ensure genetic viability.
- The BLM cites the preservation of sage grouse territory as a reason for removing these horses. Yet, there are only a few places where wild horses and sage grouse live together in the HMA. In those places fencing can mitigate the potential harm to sage grouse in lieu of permanent removal.
- The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service released a study in 2012 that did not cite wild horses as one of the top five threats to sage grouse. Instead, it cites energy development, transmission right of ways, fire, invasive species, and commercial development as the top threats.
- BLM must focus on fertility control. Their plan to treat 60 mares in FY2018 is not adequate to slow reproduction. Volunteers with the Wild Horses of America Foundation are ready and able to implement a larger population control program.
- To send your comments:
o Put this in the subject line: “Population Control, Gather, and Research for the Onaqui Mountain Wild Horse Herd Management Area Project”
o Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
o Mail: Bureau of Land Management
As always, be respectful in your comments. This helps us maintain credibility as supporters of these beautiful animals, but be honest and speak your mind. You can read more about the proposal here:
Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Thank you for your support of our wild horses and burros!
Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation