“Wild Pinto Family at the Waterhole” by Carol Walker, Living Images Photography.
The McCullough Peaks wild horses are a beloved herd. Given the herd’s proximity to Yellowstone National Park, they amaze and charm both locals and visitors from around the world.
Local volunteers have worked tirelessly for more than 12 years to implement a successful PZP program to manage the population growth of the herd. The program has been a complete success with just 2% population growth each year. Sadly, the BLM now wants to remove the majority of horses from the current population of just 179 horses to the Arbitrary Management Level (AML) of just 70-140 horses.
The Bureau of Land Management is proposing to remove over 100 horses and begin use of controversial fertility control such as GonaCon. BLM, of course, ignores the livestock grazing in the wild horse habitat and refuses to consider repatriating wild horses to the zeroed-out portion of the Herd Area.
Please take a minute to speak up for these magnificent horses. Tell the BLM the following (in your own words):
- I support the PZP program that has successfully managed the herd for the last 12 years.
- I strongly oppose the removal of any wild horses now living in the HMA; these horses deserve to live and die wild and are valued by locals and tourists alike.
- The successful partnership between volunteers and BLM to manage the McCullough Peaks Herd through darting has been a model for other HMAs.
- BLM must amend planning documents to increase the Arbitrary Management Level to be in line with science. Nationally respected equine geneticist Dr. E. Gus Cothran has long stated that a breeding herd of 150-200 horses is the minimum herd size necessary to prevent inbreeding. Removing horses will jeopardize the long-term genetic health of the herd and will force related horses to inbreed.
- Utilize BLM authority (43 C.F.R. 4710) to reduce or eliminate livestock grazing in order to accommodate the wild horses.
- These horses must be managed to preserve natural behaviors using only safe and proven fertility control such as PZP. I oppose the BLM’s proposal to use other fertility controls such as GonaCon, IUDs, surgical sterilization, and other fertility control methods which are documented to destroy ovaries (or testes) and natural hormone production which is necessary for natural “wild” behaviors.
- These horses are a great tourism draw. The public enjoys observing their natural wild behaviors, including seeing stallions protect their families, watching lead mares direct herd dynamics, and experiencing the entire repertoire of natural “wild” horse behaviors.
Your voice makes a difference. Please submit your comments directly to the BLM by clicking here (and selecting the Participate Now option).
The Cloud Foundation