Meet little Zephyr. Zephyr was born to the stallion Zeus and his mare Lilly. Zeus stole Lilly two years ago from a rival stallion. His rival was a fierce black named Lucifer.
Why the name? First, is because his name needs to begin with a “Z” identifying his band, and secondly, some fun mythology. Zephyr was the Greek god of the west wind, which was considered the gentlest wind, especially if compared to the colder north wind, Boreas. Zephyr was the father of two immortal horses, Xanthus and Balius. Will little Zephyr be a dad to the next generation?
At Wild Horse Education (WHE) publicly naming a wild horse is not something we do on any regular basis after the debacle of sharing the name of the stallion Sarge during the Fish Creek drama storm; it made him a target. (read more about Fish Creek)
In the course of our work we usually catalogue wild horses by area, subset and family band. The catalogue is a series of numbers and letters to track movement of individuals, track birth and survival rates.
This also lays the basis for a sort of ancestral genetic map (as we have no DNA recorded in many of these herds on any wild member, only those already removed). The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has “pulled” hair or blood samples during removals. The genetic foundation in BLM decision making is often a record of what is in holding facilities, not on what is left the range being “managed.” It is a “best guess.”
Ours creates a framework on many of these “wild, wild ones” that BLM does not have. A frame critical to engaging any future management “options” coming down the pipeline, fast (a must read HERE).
There is fascinating research right now about genetics. Much of that research is focused on disease and how to combat inherited predisposition. The maps being created have far reaching implications that, in the near future, will assist in more accurately defining “all things DNA.” This will also help more accurately defining genetic viability of a healthy herd of wild horses. DNA is not simply like apples in the basket of a group; it is also about the risk of apples rolling out of the basket and the consequences.
Little Zephyr, born April 2019, has a story to tell. His father, Zeuss, is a band stallion in his prime. The band lives in a subset herd of a large Herd Management Area (HMA) on public lands. The subset exists in a beautiful wild place that is criss-crossed with fencing, roads and expanding industry. His band is number 26 (Z) of the 29 (C2) family bands of the magnificent subset herd he lives in. The subset is primarily genetically contained as it has very little ability to commingle with the entire HMA. His mother, Lilly, left band 12 (L) two years ago after having one colt with the stallion Lucifer.
The story little Zephyr carries might continue on range, or off (if his band is removed). But the story has value as BLM begins to propose plans:
- Sterilizing up to 80% of these truly wild horses through spaying and gelding (this battle will heat up later this summer).
- Industry is moving fast; takes the land itself away and contaminates water
In truth the BLM has very little information on these wild herds. They have very little information on what Zephyrs band actually is. They are doing nothing to identify the most critical resources for Zephyr to live his life and become a band stallion like his father someday.
Baby pictures bring a huge smile to all. Yet they have a deep and important story behind each and every one.
It is up to us to make sure the truly wild have a voice.
Zephyr has a voice all of us that care can hear. How we use it has the potential to save his herd for future generations.
Happy baby season!
Pictures can give you standing for litigation etc. How deep the story goes behind each one can help you create your argument, your defense of our herds. Our truly wild ones need the best defense we can give. (an in-depth article on how important the distinction is, new law and how our ability to defend them is being destroyed by new policy, fast)
We need your support.
Categories: Wild Horse Education