Comment on BLM’s Plan to Sterilize Mares! Deadline: Thursday, January 14th
Dear Friends of our Wyoming Wild Horses;
BLM is planning to sterilize the mares in the White Mountain Herd Management Area. . .unless we can stop them. White Mountain is the most visible, most photographed, most approachable wild horse herd in Southern Wyoming with a driving loop and signage to facilitate the viewing experience. The White Mountain Herd is the biggest tourist attraction in the immediate Rock Springs area, and the herd is also within the BLM’s “Appropriate Management Level of 205-300 horses.
Despite all these facts, the BLM proposes to use the White Mountain mustangs in a mare spaying research experiment to be conducted with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The adjacent Little Colorado Herd would serve as the control group.
BLM proposes to conduct helicopter round ups, removing all wild horses over the “Appropriate Management Level” on over 1 million acres of mostly public lands. Currently, BLM estimates 268 wild horses in White Mountain. Little Colorado numbers are estimated to be 330 with an AML of only 69-100 on over 600,000 acres of Federally owned land. This amounts to one wild horse allowed for every 6,000 acres!
Once rounded up, approximately 300 horses would be permanently removed. In White Mountain 30-50 mares would be fitted with radio collars and stallions would have tracker tags placed in their tails. One year later the horses would again be rounded up with helicopters and mares would be spayed using surgical techniques as yet unspecified and then tracked to determine changes in behavior/band fidelity/mortality in comparison to the control group in Little Colorado.
The bands would be destroyed in both herds as the stallions will be separated from the mares after capture so the band fidelity and behavior data will be useless. We don’t want to think about the mortality rate as we know horses will be killed during and after the helicopter stampedes and may die as a result of the collaring and subsequent operations.
Politely express your outrage! We suggest the following talking points:
- Conduct field research to determine the habits and natural behaviors of the White Mountain-Little Colorado using non-invasive techniques (i.e. ground observations/photographs/GPS recorded locations, etc.)
- Conduct behavioral research while field darting with the reversible vaccine PZP. Over 50 mares in these HMAs received PZP-22 in 2011 and will only require a booster shot to render them infertile for 1 to 2 years.
- Conduct any removals in the late winter/spring months using bait or water trapping. Do not chase them with helicopters! Keep traps in place for several weeks to recapture for boostering young mares that did not receive PZP-22 and are not dartable (most, if not all mares in White Mountain, can be field darted). Mares in a trap can be darted without touching them.
- Do not put collars on mares or tail tracker tags on stallions. This is not necessary in the White Mountain HMA. It will require capture and will result in the shattering of the bands just to put on the collars and tail tags.
- Do not operate on the mares. Sterilized wild horses are no longer wild horses!
- Raise the AML of 79-100 in Little Colorado to a genetically viable number of 150-200 adult animals. Reduce livestock grazing. There are 6,000 cows with potentially 6,000 calves or 30,000 head of sheep in the two legally designated wild horse herd management areas!
- Collaborate with interested organizations and individuals to conduct the above field darting and record-keeping. (Data sheets are already compiled for over 200 of the White Mountain wild horses!)
- Save millions of taxpayer dollars and manage the herds on the range, living in freedom with their families.
Send your comments to:
Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
BLM Rock Springs Field Office
280 Highway 191 North
Rock Springs, Wyoming 82901
Fax: (307) 352-0329
Electronic comments must be sent to the following email address to be considered:
BLM _WY_ whitemtn _littleco _ firstname.lastname@example.org
(Include “White Mountain & Little Colorado EA Comments” in the subject line.)
Here are the links to the BLM Scoping Letter and Documents. http://www.blm.gov/style/medialib/blm/wy/information/NEPA/rsfodocs/whitemtn_littlecolo/FY16.Par.25386.File.dat/ScopingLetter.pdf
Please do what you can! This is nothing more than a wild horse extermination plan dressed up as a research project. Time is short, send your comments by days end Thursday, January 14. Thanks!