(WHE-Reno, NV) Thirty wild horses, rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) this January from the Diamond Complex, will be released back into the wild sometime after mid-July in an innovative project of the Battle Mountain BLM District, which spans land in both the Ely and Elko Nevada. The horses were part of a larger group, most of whom went to long term BLM holding facilities. This experimental group was held out to improve their condition prior to release back into the wild in a project to preserve the genetic health of the herd. The horses will be returned to the range along with the foals they had in captivity.
BLM management of these heritage animals has long been criticized by the public, now joined by scientists who just completed a two year assessment through the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) which was critical of BLM. (See more about report here.) The advocate group, Wild Horse Education (WHE), has been documenting animals in the Battle Mountain Complex and engaging various avenues to find workable solutions to managing wild horses. Wild Horse Education (WHE) is looking forward to continue to expand the opportunities toward a working relationship with the Battle Mountain BLM District to collect data following the horses’ release. The proposed research is part of an experiment aimed at creating a template for designing a healthy and sane management program for America’s wild horses and burros that protects their genetic diversity. To this end Wild Horse Education (WHE) stands ready to assist in collecting data on migratory patterns, and is recommending an immediate halt to full scale roundups in favor of selective removal of adoptable animals only and utilization of PZP as an interim birth control method to slow population growth until more information is collected. This strategy is designed to limit the number of animals entering BLM long term holding facilities which are currently near capacity.
Wild Horse Education (WHE) launched a program called Keep Them in the Wild to address the crisis of long term holding and put an end to the inhumane treatment of wild horses and burros during roundups and in holding by finding a way to keep them on the range. The Battle Mountain BLM District and Laura Leigh, President of WHE, have had ongoing communication since prior to the Stone Cabin Roundup of February 2012. During that roundup, cooperative actions between BLM and advocates resulted in a successful trap site adoption event where several yearlings were placed into private homes .The hope of this project is to begin to work together toward creating solutions that can work in practice, instead of adhering to methods that no longer serve any productive purpose.
“In light of the NAS report and the pending litigation against BLM by Wild Horse Education, the time has never been more ripe to come to the table and have a real conversation.” stated Leigh. “We stand ready to assist in any way possible to create a management plan based on the truth.”
“Watching those horses return to the range and knowing that there is an opportunity to create new tools will be the most amazing sign that there is real hope,” stated Leigh “There is no expectation that progress will happen overnight or be an easy task, but the reality that there is the possibility to create a turning point is truly a celebration that everyone, advocates and BLM, can be proud of.”
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Keep Them in The Wild is a program that WildHorseEducation.org has developed as a way to address the issues surrounding wild herds in the wild, and specifically tailored to create sane, safe, and fair management of wild horses and burros on public land. This program has specific objectives for engaging the public in current aspects of management on the range.
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