Wild Horses of Sea and Sand

Wild Horses of Sea and Sand

November 2016

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.

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Photo Above-Ann Evans

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

Click here to donate and support wild horses and burros: Donate!

 

Victory for Wild Horses in Wyoming!

Dear Friends;

On the heels of winning a victory for Oregon wild horse mares, threatened by dangerous sterilization surgery, comes yet another win for the wild ones. The U.S. Court of Appeals Tenth Circuit upheld a lower court’s dismissal of a lawsuit filed by the State of Wyoming against the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeking the removal of hundreds of wild horses from public lands across the state including mustangs from the Stewart Creek Herd.  

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Ironically, Quinn and I were visiting the Stewart Creek mustangs with Lynn Hanson, my friend and fellow wild horse advocate, when our attorneys learned of this second victory. Being out here with these beautiful, family and freedom loving icons of the West reminds me of why we fight. Their home is over 230,000 acres of sagebrush valleys and windswept rims along the Continental Divide. (below-Lynn shoots GK filming)

The first time I saw the colorful Stewart Creek wild horses, it was the dead of winter. Ann Evans and I were driving from Riverton to Rawlins, and we were thrilled to see a family band just a short distance from highway 287/789, about 20 miles north of town. 

Winters are bitter and long in Stewart Creek. The foals above didn’t seem to mind. We saw this lone mustang in his huge home during our winter drive-by. He, too, was not far from the main highway. I imagine his friends were just out of sight below him.

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When I left Stewart Creek a few days ago, there was a colorful group of five bachelor stallions only 100 yards or so off the highway. It was grand to see them in nearly the same place as the winter ones.  We encourage you to try your hand at finding them. If you have a high clearance vehicle, you can enter the range on a number of sandy roads.

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Take your binoculars to verify that these often distant dots are real wild mustangs!

Happy Trails!

Ginger Kathrens
For more on Cloud and the world of the Mustangs across the U.S. follow the link:

The Cloud Foundation

 

 

BLM Director Announces No Killing of Wild Horses in Captivity

Points to TCF/AWHPC Lawsuit as reason for Halting Wild Mare Sterilization

WASHINGTON, DC – (September 15, 2016) – Yesterday, BLM head, Neil Kornze announced that the BLM was not accepting the recommendation from their National Advisory Board to destroy wild horses in holding and to offer wild horses that had been passed over for adoption for sale without limitation.  “This recommendation met a firestorm of outrage across the country and caused our phones to ring off the hook,” states Ginger Kathrens, Humane Advocate on the Advisory Board and Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation (TCF), the sole dissenting vote to the board’s recommendation.

Prior to the Sept meeting TCF learned that the BLM decided to drop Wild Mare Sterilization Research Experiments in which wild mares (and fillies as young as 8 months) would be surgically sterilized. BLM Director Kornze indirectly referenced the TCF and AWHPC lawsuit requesting to be present to view and record the sterilization procedures, as the reason the experiments in Oregon were cancelled.

Other lawsuits and thousands of emails, letters and phone calls from concerned Americans played a significant part in bringing a halt to the experiments as well as halting the recommendation to destroy captive wild horses.

Kathrens warns, “this does not mean the horses in holding and on the range are out of trouble.”  Kathrens recalls the documents that came to her office in late 2008 revealing  BLM Secret Meetings in which the agency discussed how many horses could be killed each year and how many psychologists would be needed to counsel BLM employees asked to kill healthy wild horses.     In June, Kathrens was asked to speak before the House Sub-Committee on Federal Lands.   “It was clear that the Western congressional representatives had no interest in hearing what I had to say,” she states. “They wanted the horses gone, and Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming purred that euthanasia of thousands of captive wild horses would be such ‘a lovely way to die,’ Kathrens states.

When asked, “where do we go from here?” Kathrens replied, “it is imperative that we continue to speak up, encouraging BLM to use humane tools to limit births in our wild horse herds. The ultimate goal is limiting reproduction to natural mortality. And to reduce the number of wild horses held in short term corrals, we should return these non-reproducing geldings and mares to available BLM lands designated for wild horse use, but where no wild horses currently live.”

This victory is due to thousands of advocates and concerned Americans’ expressing outrage and presenting a united voice for the wild horses.

LINKS:

BLM DirectorAnnounces No Killing of Wild Horses in Holding 

 BLM won’t euthanize wild horses it cannot adopt — Kornze

Lawsuit Filed toUphold Right to Observe Controversial Wild Horse Sterilization Experiments

Republican Led SubCommittee on Federal Lands

Mare SterilizationResearch EA

BLM Secret Meetings2008 

 

Media Contact:

Paula Todd King

The Cloud Foundation

843-592-0720

paula@thecloudfoundation.org

Investigation Confirms BLM Sale of 1,794 Wild Horses to Slaughter

The Cloud Foundation presses BLM to focus on keeping horses on the range

Washington, DC – October 25, 2015 – After 3 years of waiting for the Office of the Inspector General to complete an investigation of Colorado rancher and livestock hauler, Tom Davis, their report has finally been completed and confirms what The Cloud Foundation (TCF) has been saying publicly since October of 2012. The report states, “During our investigation, Davis admitted that most of the horses he purchased from BLM went to slaughter.” The report also states that between 2008 and 2012 BLM spent more than $140,000 in taxpayer dollars transporting wild horses to Davis who admits to paying only $10.00 for each horse.

BLM’s performance in this deadly incident is completely unacceptable. Who is being held accountable here?” asks Paula Todd King, TCF Director of Communications. “It appears everyone gets off—BLM, Davis, the Vet, the Brand Inspector and everyone involved.”

The Report states: “We referred this investigation to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado, who declined both civil and criminal prosecution. The State of Colorado Conejos County District Attorney’s Office also declined to file charges against Davis. We referred the public health issue concerning a USDA-certified veterinarian signing IHCs without inspecting the horses (false statements) to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Mexico. The District of New Mexico formally declined prosecution.”

 

The OIG report also indicates that BLM law enforcement officers who looked into the background of Tom Davis “found no evidence of Davis selling the horses to slaughter.”

 

“This is surprising as Davis is well known in Southern Colorado and it is common knowledge that he buys horses for the purpose of selling them for slaughter,” states Ginger Kathrens, TCF Executive Director and producer of the Cloud films for PBS.  “The law enforcement folks dropped the ball leaving wild horses and the American public to pay the ultimate price.” 

 

“What is also shocking is Colorado’s failure to follow through with the prosecution of Tom Davis,” addedAnn Evans, a founding Board Member of TCF, “and that New Mexico too has turned a blind eye to the wrong-doing of the veterinarian who falsified documents, an action clearly out of compliance with his New Mexico State Veterinary License.”

 

BLM believes they have eliminated the possibility of this crime being repeated by limiting the number of wild horses that can be purchased at any one time. But what does it say about how we go forward if no one is held responsible for the suffering that occurred to animals that only wanted to live their lives in freedom with their families?” continues Kathrens.  “The best way to avoid a repeat of this tragedy is to keep wild horses on the range where they want to be, and where they are clearly the safest.”

 

The Colorado non-profit believes that field darting with the safe, reversible fertility control drug PZP will keep mustang populations at zero population growth and eliminate the need for removals.TCF has offered to work with the BLM to implement those fertility control plans to preserve genetically viable herds in the wild and reduce the cost of managing wild horses in less than humane holding facilities.

“Misstatements and untruths must stop,” adds King, “including covering up the inhumane treatment of wild horses by helicopter contractors during roundups, failure to provide adequate shelter to thousands of wild horses already in captivity, sterilizing vibrant, healthy herds of wild horses on the range, and skewing environmental analyses that blame wild horses for range damage caused by livestock grazing and energy development.

It is past time for BLM to turn the ship around and fulfill their responsibility to the American public to manage healthy herds of wild horses on public lands in an environmentally responsible and sustainable way,” Kathrens concludes.

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Links:

Investigative Report of Bureau of Land Management Wild Horse Buyer

OIG Report – Oct. 23, 2015 

Federal Report: Colorado Wild Horse Buyer Sold Mustangs for Slaughter, The Denver Post, Oct. 23, 2015

The Case of the Missing Mustangs; What Happened to 1700 Wild Horses? NBC News, May 14, 2013 

Ginger Kathrens, Salt Lake City Press Conference,  Oct. 2012

Fate of Wild Horses in Hands of BLM, Colorado Buyer, Sept. 30, 2012

Using Science to Improve theBLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward

Media Contact:

Paula Todd King

The Cloud Foundation

843-592-0720

paula@thecloudfoundation.org

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.

Court Gives BLM Green Light to Destroy Colorado’s Historic West Douglas Wild Horse Herd

Zeroing out entire wild horse herd not viewed as constituting “irreparable harm.”

                                                                        

Washington, DC (Sept. 15, 2015) – Today, Federal Judge Christopher R. Cooper denied a Preliminary Injunction to stop the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) from carrying out its decades old quest to remove the entire West Douglas wild horse herd. Tomorrow the BLM will begin a helicopter roundup and removal of wild horses in and around the herd area with the ultimate goal of zeroing out the herd (area).

The lawsuit was brought by The Cloud Foundation (TCF), Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF), The Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition (CWHBC), Dr. Don Moore and Toni Moore of Fruita, CO., and Barb Flores of Greeley, CO, to protect this herd and the neighboring Piceance East Douglas herd. “Sadly,” states Toni Moore, “the courts did not view the loss of an entire herd of wild horses as ‘irreparable harm.’ “

“Wiping out the West Douglas herd erases a whole distinct set of genetics, separate from nearby East Douglas horses,” states Linda Hanick, TCF Board member who testified in the Sept. 11 hearing on the case.  “The roundup disregards the importance of the historic recorded documentation of these horses since Sept 1776. This roundup closes the door on an important piece of Colorado’s wild horse history.”

“We’re very disappointed of course,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of TCF. “Wild horse families that have shared a history with this rugged Colorado landscape for hundreds of years will be swept away, while the real public land destroyers, the thousands of head of welfare livestock remain.  It is terribly unfair, but we continue to fight for those wild herds that remain!”

“Rangeland impact of livestock in West Douglas is greater than 10 times the impact of wild horses,” states Barb Flores, plaintiff in the case who also testified in the Sept. 11 hearing. “Both use the area year round. While cattle are moved from pasture to pasture, wild horses migrate throughout the herd area on their own.”

“The BLM does not consider mortality rates in its population estimates,” Flores continues. “While we all expect the death of old, sick and injured wild horses, research shows that foal mortality is often 50%, and in many herd areas it is even higher. This means that less than half the foals make it to their first birthday. Shockingly, BLM’s 20% population growth rate assumes all foals live and no wild horses, of any age, die.”

“To add insult to injury, the helicopter contractor chosen to round up the West Douglas herd, is noted for their cruelty,” adds Hanick who personally witnessed a roundup in 2010 conducted by Sun J Livestock in which 12% of the horses were killed.  “We will hope for the best and attempt to record what happens this time around if granted adequate access.”

“Sadly, we did not prevail in stopping the BLM from proceeding to zero out the West Douglas Herd,” states Carol Walker, Director of Field Operations for WHFF. “We continue to fight the mismanagement and decimation of our wild horse herds. Our voices count, and are the only hope they have.”

R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation responded: “For years the American public has attempted to keep these herds free on their rightful range and with a stroke of a pen their freedom, families and lives have been shattered. Once again American taxpayers have been betrayed by big government, big agriculture and big business; it is shameful.”

“I feel a deep sadness for any wild species on the brink of disaster,” concludes Kathrens. “These lovely wild horse families have no idea that the end of their wild lives is coming.  They are simply the innocent victims of greed and power.”

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Media Contacts:

Paula Todd King

The Cloud Foundation

843-592-0720

paula@thecloudfoundation.org

Carol Walker

Director of Field Documentation

Wild Horse Freedom Federation

303-823-6642

www.LivingImagesCJW.com

www.WildHoofbeats.com

 

LINKS:

 

Legal Documents andPrior Press Releases

WestDouglas Herd Area Final EA 

BLM PressRelease July 29, 2015

 

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.

Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF) is a Texas based registered 501(c)(3) non profit which puts people between America’s wild equids and extinction.

 

 

The Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition (“CWHBC”) is a non-profit Colorado corporation, organized to educate the public and wild horse and burro adopters about wild horse issues and to protect wild horses and burros

 

Ms. Toni Moore is a resident of the state of Colorado and is the Secretary/Treasurer of CWHBC and the Special Projects Coordinator of The Cloud Foundation, Inc. (“TCF”).

 

 

Dr. Don Moore is an equine and small-animal veterinarian and has live in or near the WDHA and PEDHMA most of his life.

 

Barb Flores, a resident of Greeley, Colorado is chair of the Colorado Wild Horse and Burro Coalition and has photographed and documented Colorado’s wild horse herds for over 20 years.

BLM Plans Annihilation of Colorado’s Historic West Douglas Wild Horse Herd

Remnants of Ute Indian ponies have 300 year history in the area

“The owners of these cattle pay the government $1.69 per cow/calf pair per month. At the most, the BLM receives $15,656,” Moore states. “The Federal Livestock Grazing Program costs American taxpayers $123 million yearly.” Removing the cattle would actually save taxpayers money. The plannedhelicopter removal of wild horses will cost nearly 10 times more than the revenues received from livestock grazers. “The continual damage to the land from cattle and sheep grazing and the yearly drain on taxpayers who foot the bill for welfare ranching has to stop,” Moore concludes.

BLM’s Jan. 2015 Environmental Assessment, states “that all wild horses within or adjacent to the WDHA meet the statutory definition of excess animals, and therefore, consistent with the authority provided in 16 USC § 1333 (b) (2), the BLM shall immediately remove excess animals from the range.” This would reduce wild horse herds in Colorado to four, and the number of horses to 1150, compared to the many thousands of mustangs that once roamed the state.

“We have battled the destruction of this historic herd in the courts for decades,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of TCF, a Colorado based non-profit which advocates for the protection and preservation of wild horses on public lands.  “As recently as 2009 the courts ruled against the BLM when District Court Judge Collyer enjoined the BLM from removing any wild horses from the herd,” she states. “BLM’s historic scapegoating of wild horses is a smoke screen,” continued Kathrens.  “Western rangeland damage is caused by millions of head of privately-owned livestock, not our publically owned and theoretically protected wild horses.”

“Grazing of livestock on public lands is considered a privilege, not a right, and permits can be reduced or revoked per BLM Regulations (43 CFR § 4710.5).” mentions Paula Todd King, Communications Director for TCF. “Until the BLM finds the courage to address the real culprit – an overpopulation of welfare livestock – our historic wild horse herds will continue to be managed to extinction.”

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Links:

BLM PressRelease

West DouglasHerd Area Final EA

Media Contact:

Paula Todd King

The Cloud Foundation

843-592-0720

paula@thecloudfoundation.org

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.

The Cloud Foundation Denounces BLM Wild Horse Research Plans

In support of the Cloud Foundation and our American Wild Horses we are re-posting this press release from the Cloud Foundation

Press Release:  For Immediate Release – July 8th, 2015

The Cloud Foundation Denounces BLM Wild Horse Research Plans
BLM sterilization studies spell doom for remaining wild horses on public lands

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, (July 8, 2015) – “The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) announcement of plans for managing wild horses on public lands is not only disturbing but highlights their commitment to managing wild horses to extinction,” stated Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation (TCF).

Four of the seven proposals being researched at taxpayer expense include permanent sterilization of stallions and/or mares. While the BLM claims they are “committed to developing new tools that allow us to manage this program sustainably and for the benefit of the animals and the land,” and “for the enjoyment of generations to come,” their proposed solutions are contrary to that goal.  Permanent sterilization of wild horses on the range would continue to undermine the already threatened genetic viability of our remaining herds.  Under current plans, BLM would manage 78% of herds at a level below that required to ensure genetic viability (150-200 adult horses.)

Permanent sterilization is inconsistent with the 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act which requires managing for sustainable herds. Permanent sterilization is counter to that mandate and would damage the social band structure that has allowed wild horses in North America to thrive.

Earlier this year representatives from several wild horse and rangeland preservation organizations met in Washington, D.C. with BLM Director Neill Kornze, and BLM Deputy Assistant Director for Resources and Planning, Mike Tupper, to discuss possible solutions to BLM’s ongoing dilemma regarding management of wild horses and burros.  The proposals presented included strategies for increasing the number of mares vaccinated with PZP to a level that will begin to impact population growth rates, and measures to authorize and encourage voluntary livestock grazing permit retirement in Herd Management Areas.  The groups also recommended repatriation of wild horses in BLM holding facilities to Herd Areas that have been zeroed-out. These proposed solutions would provide an immediate savings to the BLM.

Mike Tupper promised to respond to TCF and the other organizations regarding the proposals but has failed to do so.  “Advocates are more than willing to work with the BLM for sustainable management of wild horses on the range,” stated Paula Todd King, Communications Director for TCF. “Thus far the Washington, DC BLM is unwilling to consider creative options that would benefit both wild horse herds and the American taxpayer. “

“Safe and effective birth control for wild horses has been available for years but BLM has chosen to use it on only a token number of mares,” continued Kathrens. “The Pryor Wild Horse Herd in Montana, the McCullough Peaks Herd in Wyoming, the Little Book Cliffs and Spring Creek Herds in Colorado are managed using PZP, a reversible remotely delivered vaccine. All these herds are nearly to the point of achieving a balance between reproduction and natural mortality.”

“Unlike the national BLM offices, these local field offices are working successfully with the public to create a situation where future wild horse removals are unnecessary,” concluded Kathrens. “Stonewalling of advocates and the American public by the National BLM office is counter-productive to successful management of wild horses on our public lands.  I fear that their actions would lead to the extinction of the North American wild horse.”

Links:

BLM Announces New Research to Curb Population Growth and Improve Health of Wild Horse and Burro Herds

BLM Wild Horse and Burro, Science and Research, Fertility Control

 

Media Contacts:
Paula Todd King
The Cloud Foundation
843-592-0720
paula@thecloudfoundation.org

The Cloud Foundation (TCF) is a Colorado based 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and preservation of wild horses and burros on our western public lands.