Nevada Wild Horses 2014

Nevada Wild Horses 2014

There are multiple postings on social media about the NE NV Resource Advisory Council (RAC) meeting and a proposal on Catch, Treat and Release (CTR)  of wild horses and burros. However the WWWW (Who, What, When, Where and Why) are getting lost in the usual rush of information flying by our digital minds.

Jeanne Nations (a member of the NE NV RAC) has sat in a seat on that board for years representing wild horse and burro issues. This RAC is one of 29 others that are made up of local interests that give policy recommendation to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). For years Jeanne has seen her “interest” not taken entirely seriously as for profit interests tend to overshadow anything aimed at protection of wild horses and burros. She lives in a part of the Antelope Complex that was part of a controversial roundup in 2011.

Jeanne was becoming increasingly concerned, after a nearby fire and changes in livestock permits, that the wild horses she has photographed and come to know for more than a decade, would be removed. Watching BLM simply remove and stockpile wild horses is not acceptable. Jeanne knew she wanted to do all she could to help the horses and we were in touch on how to proceed.

We created a preliminary proposal for Catch, Treat and Release (CTR) with Jeanne and presented it to the NE RAC in August. The proposal was well received and had much support. It was requested that we expand on the concept and answer a few questions.

Jeanne contacted Jay Kirkpatrick, an expert on fertility control. He provided invaluable information and agreed to participate. Neda DeMayo of Return to Freedom has been using fertility control successfully at her sanctuary for over a decade and agreed to speak. WHE finalized analysis of the program and methods of cost offset including Trap Site adoptions, that we have been participating in successfully with BLM for the last couple of years.

Last week the presentation was given to the RAC. In attendance were members of three BLM districts including wild horse and burro specialists. The dialogue was respectful, intelligent and informative.

The RAC moved to recommend that this protocol be reviewed by the BLM and to go to the statewide RAC early next year.

Plans are solidifying in districts to move forward.

(note: PZP is the only approved drug for use on a wild horse population. The drug comes in several forms. The conversation focused around appropriate use and the most effective ways to utilize under multiple field conditions. The primary drug involved in this conversation is Native PZP, a less expensive and more effective alternative, than the more broadly discussed PZP-22. Dr KirkPatrick answers questions about PZP on his website here:

There are several areas planned as primarily CTR that will be happening soon. Info will be posted as available.

Excerpts of preliminary proposal given in August :

Currently the BLM wild horse and burro program faces multiple obstacles from budgetary limitations and changing public land policies. This has lead to removals out pacing adoption demand. At present approximately 50,000 wild horses and burros are in holding facilities. The vast majority of these animals expected to remain in holding facilities at an estimated cost of $50,000. per animal over itʼs lifetime.

In June of 2013 the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) released a 400 page assessment of the program. The recommendations in the document are currently under review. Among the multiple observations noted in the NAS report are significant notations that include the need for expanded use of birth control methods. The report cites that the broad scale removals utilized in current practices likely increase birth rate on the range and compound challenges faced with appropriate management.

As review of current practices is underway we must begin to take “common sense” approaches as new methods for management become available. Utilizing the current tools available to begin to address multiple issues is an imperative. The Catch, Treat and Release (CTR) is an option that fits within options currently available, yet under utilized, to begin to address current obstacles faced by the program.


We believe that discussions centering around the “disposal” of horses in holding are an inappropriate discussion. Those types of discussions speak strongly to the mindset responsible for current “mismanagement” practices. We must stop what we are doing (before making things worse) and gain new information to create appropriate plans. Utilizing CTR, and other means of implementation of contraception, allows a proactive engagement as crucial information is gained and formulated into a real understanding that can lead to actual appropriate management.