Tag Archives: Cloud Foundation

Utah Wild Horses Need Your Help

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: blm_ut_cedarmt_onaqui@blm.gov

o Mail: Bureau of Land Management

Salt Lake Field Office
2370 South Decker Lake Boulevard
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

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:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-frontoffice/projects/nepa/90785/121933/148789/Public_Notice_Scoping_10-2-17.pdf

Please reach out to us if you have any questions. Thank you for your support of our wild horses and burros!

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director, The Cloud Foundation
719-633-3842
www.thecloudfoundation.org

Saylor Creek Wild Horses Legal Win May Protect Other Herds from Being Sterilized

Image: Chad and Lynn Hanson.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, The Cloud Foundation and Return to Freedom with Virginia Hudson bring good news to wild horse lovers throughout the country.

What a difference a sound decision makes from Judge Lodge’s ruling in the Jarbidge case! The decision finds that the BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in a variety of ways in deciding to sterilize the entire Saylor Creek herd. The court agreed that BLM violated NEPA by failing to consider the National Academy of Science (NAS) report, by failing to adequately respond to public comments, by failing to consider reasonable alternatives, and by failing to consider inconsistency between sterilization and the agency’s duties to maintain self-sustaining and free-roaming herds. This precedent-setting decision is a major win in that it could make it difficult to sterilize healthy herds elsewhere in the west.

This case challenged a controversial and precedent-setting plan by the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management (“BLM”) to permanently sterilize an entire herd of wild horses in the Saylor Creek Herd Management Area (“HMA”) — an action that would have disrupted and destroyed the natural, wild, and free-roaming behavior of these horses, as well as the social organization and long-term viability of the herd to which they belong. The BLM authorized sterilizing this wild horse herd in its recently approved Jarbidge Resource Management Plan (“RMP”).

“The Department of Interior (DOI) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated NEPA in many aspects,” states Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation. “They never considered direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts that sterilizing the entire herd will have on the behavior and physiology of wild horses and herd dynamics.” The DOI and BLM violated NEPA by failing to consider a highly relevant technical report (the NAS Report) commissioned by the BLM itself from the National Research Council, a subsidiary of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lisa Friday (TCF’s Director of Communications), wild horse adopter and advocate, states: “We have known for years what the NAS Report concluded: that ‘absence of young horses itself would alter the age structure of the population and could thereby affect harem dynamics.’  It is simply unconscionable to tamper with the social dynamics that sterilization would cause.”

Judge Lodge’s decision states, “The BLM has not considered nor explained how the herd will maintain its wild horse instincts, behaviors, and social structure if it is entirely non-reproducing. Further, the BLM has not taken a hard look at how the introduction of horses from holding pens, where they may have become domesticated and reliant on humans, or from other herds that are unfamiliar with the area and terrain will impact the herd and its wild horse behaviors and survival instincts. In sum, the BLM has failed to consider, in the FEIS, any of these significant impacts on the Saylor Creek herd’s behaviors or on the HMAs environment itself. The Court therefore finds the BLM violated NEPA by failing to take the requisite “hard look” at these aspects of the decision.”

Most importantly, this precedent-setting decision will allow for future decisions in favor of wild horses that the BLM wishes to sterilize. “This decision recognizes that the BLM must carefully consider the harmful impacts of sterilization on wild horses’ behavior and herd dynamics,” said Nick Lawton, the attorney with the public interest law firm Meyer Glitzenstein & Eubanks, LLP who represented the plaintiffs. “This case underscores that wild horse advocates and courts will closely scrutinize the agency’s decisions.”

“I would like to personally thank Virginia and Jeff Hudson for their hard work documenting the beautiful Saylor Creek Wild Horse Herd,” states Ginger Kathrens. “We will continue to do everything we can to protect our wild horse families and their legal right to live in peace and freedom.”

Although this is a wonderful victory for our Wild Horses and Burros, the main fight for their existence continues in the Senate with the interior appropriations committee likely to be decided next week. So please continue to call the Senate.

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

Are Wild Horses and Burros Being Categorized for Slaughter?

Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation at Palomino Valley.

Colorado Springs, CO – The Cloud Foundation received an anonymous tip that Department of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke and/or top Bureau of Land Management officials have ordered all wild horses currently in short term holding facilities be categorized by weight and age in anticipation of the approval of the federal budget.  The current recommendation for this budget would allow for “sale without limitation” many or most of the wild horses currently in holding.  This, of course, can eventually lead to the barbaric slaughter of our iconic wild horses.  The tipster stated that this categorization was to ensure the BLM was ready to “ship out” horses older than five years of age. The only place to “ship out” these horses would be to slaughter.  The caller stated that the shipping would start with the smaller facilities so that wild horse advocates wouldn’t be able to impose an injunction before the plan was already started.  Although anonymous, the caller also told The Cloud Foundation that direction has been given to the one of the government’s top transportation officials to prepare for this shipping.

Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation, said, “Surely Secretary Zinke would not allow for this devious, clandestine and under the radar ploy to destroy wild horses when 80% of Americans are against slaughter.  If only Secretary Zinke and other DOI and BLM officials would have implemented tried and proven on-the-range-management ideas as we have asked for over a decade, we would not be where we are today.”

“There are currently in excess of 50,000 wild horses that have been rounded up, torn apart from their families, and corralled at the taxpayer expense because on-the-range-management has not been implemented as hundreds of thousands of cattle and sheep graze at little or no cost,” says Lisa Friday, volunteer Vice President of The Cloud Foundation.  “Our indigenous American icons deserve better.”

Media Contact:
Lisa Anne Friday
The Cloud Foundation
1(804)389-8218
info@thecloudfoundation.org
Lisa_Friday@chs.net

Launching New on the Range Volunteer Site

It is with excitement we announce the launch of a nation-wide initiative, a guide to the future management of wild horses and burros. It replaces helicopters and holding with on the range tools and committed volunteers who are willing to embark on a grand adventure in the still vibrant wild West.

Imagine every wild horse and burro herd roaming in freedom like they do in the Pryor Mountains (MT), the McCullough Peaks (WY), Onaqui (UT), Pine Nuts (NV), Challis (ID), Spring Creek Basin, Little Book Cliffs and Sand Wash Basin (CO). This is the goal. And it can only happen if you get involved.

We encourage you to read the guide and imagine where you fit in as part of a volunteer team. Is it becoming a PZP darter, photographer, drone pilot, driver, record keeper on the range, or a record keeper at home sitting in front of your computer? Partnering with the BLM you will become a guardian of the herd – ensuring a future for these awe-inspiring wild animals on their home ranges.

Check out the Website: (https://www.whbvresourcecenter.org) review the Resource Guide (https://www.whbvresourcecenter.org/resource-guide) then go to the National Volunteer Registry (https://whbvolunteer.wufoo.com/forms/wild-horse-burro-national-volunteer-registration/) and sign up.

The wild horses and burros are counting on us.

Happy Trails,
Ginger and Team

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

Interior Secretary and Utah Congressman Present Fictional Account of Wild Horses

Three grulla horses Crooks Mountain HMA.

I just got back from a trip to the Pryors and to the Red Desert Complex of south central Wyoming. The horses all look so fabulous and the Red Desert is horse heaven with abundant forage and so much room to roam. Maybe that is why the Congressional Public Resource Sub-Committee hearing threw me for a loop! Here is that section of the hearing with Chris Stewart of Utah questioning and commenting to Secretary Zinke.

Secretary of the Interior testifies before Congressional Sub-Committee June 8, 2017. The Secretary is being questioned by Congressman Stewart of Utah.

This Congressional conversation bears no resemblance to what I am seeing first hand on our ranges. After I left the Pryors, I visited four Herd Management areas in Wyoming called the Red Desert Complex, areas scheduled for devastating roundups this fall. BLM proposes to remove over 2,000 wild horses.

They would leave less than1 horse per 1,000 acres in the 750,000 acre Red Desert Complex! Congressman Stewart contends that wild horses are devastating western rangelands and starving to death. Here’s what is devastating rangelands. I happened on this site while looking for wild horses in the Stewart Creek HMA. When I turned off the dirt road onto a two track the acrid smell of cow manure hit me like a slap in the face. Then I saw the cattle and the land around the pond. The area was devastated, not by horses, but by cattle.

The Secretary spoke of birth control methods that do not work. This too is completely inaccurate. PZP works in all the herds that use it but I can count those herds on the fingers of both hands. And Congressman Stewart chimed in that the cost was thousands of dollars (for a dose). The Secretary agreed.

I feel like I am living in an alternative reality. PZP is $27 a dose and PZP-22 is a couple hundred dollars a dose — but thousands? Where do these gentlemen get their information?

It is critically important that you make your voices heard. The American public is the only thing standing between the death and destruction of our herds on the range and in holding. Please keep calling the White House and your Congressional Representatives and U.S. Senators and telling them that you want your wild horses to live in freedom on the range.

WHITE HOUSE: Call the President — 202-456-1111 (not weekends)

SENATE: https://www.senate.gov/senators/contact/

HOUSE: http://m.house.gov/representatives/

CALLING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Leave your name (spell it) and the town where you live.
  2. Give 2 or 3 short sentences on your explicit concerns for the preservation and protection of our wild horses and burros.
  3. Give your name again and express thanks for the opportunity to give comments.
  4. You will probably get a Voicemail — but that’s okay. These elected officials must understand how important this is to you, and phone calls are all logged. If 50,000 of The Cloud Foundation followers will call, that adds up to 200,000 phone calls to Washington DC!

Thank you! Now let’s all get to work and make those phone calls for our wild horses and burros.

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director

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

Presidential Budget Dooms Wild Horses

This is a frightening time for our wild horses and burros, not only for those in holding, but also those roaming free.

Please watch this brief video which we shot on May 24 with Cloud’s beautiful son Ohanzee east of Colorado Springs at Jaime Wade’s ranch.

This is the Cloud Foundation interpretation of the President’s proposed $10 million cut to the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Budget which includes chilling language:

“The remainder of the funding decrease will be achieved by reducing gathers, reducing birth control treatments, and other activities deemed inconsistent with prudent management of the program. The long-term goal is to realign program costs and animal populations to more manageable levels, enabling BLM to reorient the WHB program back to these traditional management strategies.”

The BLM contends that the horses on the range exceed the ridiculously low national AML of 26,700 by over 40,000 animals. There are over 40,000 animals in long and short term holding. 80,000 could be killed if we, the American people, do not speak up!

There has never been such a grave a threat to the existence of our wild horses as right now!

Use the links provided in the video to call the WHITE HOUSE, your U.S. REPRESENTATIVE, and your 2 SENATORS. We must flood and overload the phone lines with calls. This will take only 4 phone calls — probably 1 minute each.

Never has it been more important for you to speak up on behalf of the future of our wild horses and burros!

CALLING INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Leave your name (spell it) and the town where you live.
  2. Give 2 or 3 short sentences on your explicit concerns for the preservation and protection of our wild horses and burros.
  3. Give your name again and express thanks for the opportunity to give comments.
  4. You will probably get a Voicemail — but that’s okay. These elected officials must understand how important this is to you, and phone calls are all logged. If 50,000 of The Cloud Foundation followers will call, that adds up to 200,000 phone calls to Washington DC!

Thank you! Now let’s all get to work and make those phone calls for our wild horses and burros.

Ginger Kathrens
Executive Director

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

The High Price of Protecting Our Wild Horse Herds

Photo: Divide Basin band.

Dear Friends:

Not everything we do here at the Cloud Foundation is in the limelight, but it is crucial in our fight to keep our wild horse families living in precious freedom on their home ranges.  Our legal efforts to do this are costly. Some go on for years, like our commitment to preventing the cruel sterilization of the entire Saylor Creek Herd in Idaho.

Our fight to prevent the removal of all the wild horses in Utah’s Beaver County continues as does our work to keep wild horses living wild and free on the vast checkerboard lands of southern Wyoming.

Preventing wild horse families from losing their freedom on lands in the checkerboard along the I-80 corridor is a real challenge. The powerful Rock Springs Grazing Association covets all these lands for their cattle and sheep. They want the wild horses gone, removed, and locked up!

Bottom line, we have to keep as many horses out of holding as we possibly can! This is a critical time and legal action is one of the only ways to keep them safe on their homes on the range.

As most of you know, my colleagues on BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board voted to destroy the wild horses in holding. I was the only dissenting voice. The door the Advisory Board cracked open last fall could swing wide if the Secretary of the Interior supports the “humane euthanasia” of thousands of healthy wild horses in holding. This is a very real possibility.

Please consider a special donation to support our legal efforts. We had two precedent-setting wins in Federal District Court last year which will help protect wild horses in the future. To continue our legal battles, your generous support is essential!

Click here to donate to the TCF Mustang Legal Fund.

Thanks,
Ginger Kathrens

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

Mining Threatens Three Wild Horse Herds

Please Comment by April 17 on the Planning Expansion of the Gold Bar Mine. Nevada wild horse herds threatened!

Dear Friends of our Wild Horses:

Comments for an Environmental Impact Statement are due April 17th, 2017 regarding the massive expansion of the Gold Bar Mine north of Eureka, Nevada.

If this expansion moves forward it will threaten three wild horse herds areas: Roberts Mountain, Fish Creek, and Whistler Herd Management Areas (HMAs).

Please take a few minutes and comment on this destructive mining project using your own words.

Here are a few key points we suggest you make to the Bureau of Land Management:

  1. Open pit gold mining is the most destructive use of the land with little ability to mitigate the damage.
  2. The project would expand to 44,000 acres or 62.5 square miles.
  3. The project would consume approximately 2 billion gallons of water over a ten-year period, depleting both surface and ground water.
  4. Nevada is the driest state in the Union.
  5. Lack of water is regularly the reason BLM/Nevada gives for conducting emergency removals of wild horses from the range. 14 herds were zeroed out in 2009 based on the prediction of little available water!
  6. Wild horses and other wildlife will suffer from the environmental destruction and lack of water. Sage Grouse occupy the area and are a species of critical environment concern.
  7. The mining expansion is based on out-of-date mining plans from 1992.
  8. Gold mining is highly speculative. The previous mine owners, Atlas Corporation, filed for bankruptcy and abandoned the land in an unreclaimed condition in 1999.

Read TCF full comments here:  EISCommentsGoldBarMineNV. Tell BLM to select the NO ACTION ALTERNATIVE.

Send your comments to Christine Gabriel, Project Manager, Subject: DEIS MMI Gold Bar Mine Project, Email: blm_nv_bmdo_mlfo_gold_bar_project_eis@blm.gov.

Thanks very much for helping our Nevada wild herds!

Happy Trails!
Ginger Kathrens

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

Giving Tuesday. Can We Count on You?

Giving Tuesday, November 29, 2016, is a day designated to honor and support nonprofits on following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. America’s Wild Horse Families count on the Cloud Foundation, a recognized leader in the fight to protect and preserve them on our western public lands.  Can we count on you?

The Cloud Foundation
info@thecloudfoundation.org

Wild Horses of Sea and Sand

Photo – Ann Evans.

In October, Ann Evans and I visited the northernmost point of the Outer Banks Islands off the coast of North Carolina. I have wanted to see the wild horses there for a long time.

The island might seem inhospitable for wild horses but, for nearly 500 years, it has been home to a wild herd. Named for the Island on which they live, the Corolla Wild Horses are survivors of shipwrecks on a turbulent coastline called the Graveyard of the Atlantic.  Now, however, the horses are severely endangered. Recent, rampant development of their tiny island threatens to destroy the herd. Fewer than 100 animals remain.

DNA work on the herd by Dr. E. Gus Cothran of Texas A&M University confirms their unique Spanish heritage and also their vulnerability to inbreeding. The herd has only one matrilineal line remaining. Plans for captive breeding are underway but uncontrolled development could leave the herd with no room to roam.

If you want to help these tough, little survivors, we urge you to contact the Corolla Wild Horse Fund – www.corollawildhorsefund.org. Ask the Fund what you can do to help.

Our thanks go out to Karen McCalpin, Executive Director of the Corolla Wild Horse Fund, and Meg Puckett, Herd Manager, for guiding and educating us. It was an unforgettable trip as you can see from this video!

Happy Trails,
Ginger

The Cloud Foundation
info@thecloudfoundation.org