BLM to Decimate More Wyoming Wild Horse Herds: Act Now
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) recently released a plan for a mass roundup/removal in the North Lander Complex in Wyoming and we need you to act.
The North Lander Complex is comprised of four Herd Management Areas (Conant Creek, Disphan Butte, Muskrat Basin and Rock Creek Mountain) spanning 375,000 acres of public land where the BLM intends to:
- Drastically reduce the wild horse poupopulation from approximately 2,000 to just 320 wild horses;
- Castrate 95% or more of the stallions that will be captured and returned to the range;
- Insert unproven Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) in a portion of mares to be returned to the range and administer the experimental fertility control vaccine GonaCon to all mares to be released (including those who receive the IUDs);
- Skew the sex ratio to 60/40 in favor of stallions.
The plan threatens the wild, free-roaming nature and long-term sustainability of this iconic Wyoming wild mustang herd. Please take one moment to add your name to AWHC’s comments on the Environmental Assessment that analyzes the impacts of the plan.
I strongly oppose the Bureau of Land Management’s plan to decimate the wild horse populations in the North Lander Complex in Wyoming, which is comprised of the Conant Creek, Dishpan Butte, Muskrat Basin and Rock Creek Mountain Herd Management Areas (HMAs.
The Environmental Assessment is inadequate because:
- The allocation of resources within this complex is inequitable, favoring livestock. At the low end of the BLM’s wild horse population limit, the agency allocates 13 times more forage to privately-owned livestock instead of federally-protected wild horses. The impacts of this preferential treatment of livestock on wild horses and on American Taxpayers have not been analyzed in the EA.
- The impacts of cattle grazing on the environment within the Complex have not been evaluated, particularly with regard to spring grazing. The presence of livestock during this senstive new growth season on the land and the wild horse population must be fully analyzed. The EA must include actual range data distinguishing the impacts of wild horses from those of cattle in this analysis.
- The following recommendations of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), which conducted a 1.5-year long review of the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program regarding castration and IUD’s have not been considered:
- “[S]ome or total loss of sex drive would be likely in castrated stallions, and this is counter to the often-stated public interest in maintaining natural behaviors in free-ranging horses [..]”
- A potential disadvantage of both surgical and chemical castration is loss of testosterone and consequent reduction in or complete loss of male-type behaviors necessary for maintenance of social organization, band integrity, and expression of a natural behavior repertoire.”
- “IUDs may provoke undue uterine inflammation warrants caution and would require further testing before application in the field could be considered. In addition, evidence concerning loss rates of IUDs, especially during copulation, would be needed.”
- It does not acknowledge or analyze outstanding questions about the reversibility, impacts and efficacy of using GonaCon due to lack of research and limited use in wild horses. More research on the effects of GonaCon on wild horses is necessary before use of this vaccine as routine management tool.
The BLM must revise the North Lander Compelx plan to:
- Adjust livestock use in the Complex in order to give wild horses an equitable share of resources and allow for a larger, genetically healthy and sustainable wild horse population.
- Abandon plans to implement surgical sterilization of stallions returned to the range. The impacts of gelding on stallions can be affect their physiology and behavior and affect both herd dynamics and the habitat. Further, it is not an effective population management tool, as a small number of intact stallions can impregnate a large number of mares.
- Eliminate the use of IUDs as more research on the safety of this method for wild and free-roaming mares and their welfare is necessary before this option would be appropriate for broad use as a management tool.
- Eliminate the use of GonCon for wild mares as use of this vaccine in wild horses is limited, as is research into its impacts and long-term effects. More research on IUD’s in wild horses is necessary before this vaccine would be appropriate for broad use as a management tool.
- Incorporate use of the PZP fertility control vaccine, which was recommended for use by the National Academy of Sciences, where necessary within the Complex to stabilize wild herds at sustainable levels.
- Abandon plans to skew the sex ratios this method is not scientifically supported and not effective in reducing population growth rates in wild horse populations. The BLM has rejected this alternative in herd management plans for other areas, and should do the same in the North Land Complex.
As an American taxpayer and citizen who expects the federal government to protect and humanely manage America’s iconic wild horses and burros, I urge you to seriously consider these comments.