On May 6, 2021, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) finalized plans to remove thousands of wild horses from the Pancake Herd Management Area (HMA) in Nevada. This plan would attempt to maintain the population in the 1.1 million acre complex at the low AML of 361 wild horses. In addition to mass removal, the plan includes managing a portion of the herd as sterilized, skewing the sex-ratio to favor males, applying IUDs, as well as using varying fertility control vaccines.
Wild Horse Education (WHE) has taken legal action against the plan.
For years the BLM has been carving up the Pancake Complex and giving away the resources to livestock and mining. Water tables are dropping, new roads are going in and more fences are in the works.
“The law calls for a management plan for each herd,” said Laura Leigh, President of WHE, “for decades BLM skips planning that includes habitat, genetics, objectives for preservation of the herd and keeps trying to masquerade removal plans as management. The law mandates management, it does not mandate removal.”
The BLM is required to manage multiple interests, everything from mining to sage grouse has a management plan.
“Wild horses are to be managed as integral to the system of the public lands. That system requires management planning that allows the stakeholder to have input. Only in the area of wild horses and burros does BLM skip the process, deny the public a real voice and simply remove wild horses to satisfy the needs of profit driven users. It needs to stop.” Leigh stated.
The Pancake Complex is one of the last places in the U.S. that could still sustain a herd of over 1500 wild horses for generations to come.
“In 1971 when the Act was passed the area could have probably sustained a herd of thousands. Over the decades, and particularly over the last decade, BLM has simply allowed the range to be battered, bashed and bought. If we do not make a stand now, the area we pass to the next generation will look like a wasteland with a handful of horses.” said Marie Milliman, WHE team member.
The area is very special to WHE. The filing includes declarations from several WHE members and supporters. Our board has held meetings and outreach sessions in the Complex.
“Just two years ago you could sit with a few hundred wild horses, sage grouse, badgers, mule deer and elk and watch the sunset. Today you can sit with trespass livestock, mining exploration rigs, construction equipment and inhale the powder the roads are being pounded into. BLM says they need to remove wild horses from the area to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance. There is absolutely nothing natural about what BLM is allowing to be perpetrated out there. It is heartbreaking.” Said Leigh.
We will keep you updated as the battle to save one of out last large herds, Pancake, moves forward.
Help keep us in the fight.