27 wild horses have now died since July 9 at the Antelope Complex roundup. At the trap (with no public access) a mare broke her neck yesterday.
BLM continues to ignore our warning that catastrophic deaths correlate with heat index rise. So do long term impacts (like the ones being experienced by wild horses captured during heat index rise in BLM holding facilities). All but one of the catastrophic deaths at this operation have occurred during a heat index rise. Our concern holds validity. We have been trying to set up a meeting with BLM since 2017 to discuss revising policy.
This area is experiencing the 3rd heat index rise of this operation: Monday/Tuesday and the break as storms move in. The 4th arrives Friday/Saturday and the National Weather Service (NWS) has not determined duration yet. We hope BLM slows down. Just slow down, take a day off during heat index rises… and slow down. Stop roundups in Summer heat altogether; this is simply wrong to keep setting these really big roundups on schedule and then slamming them out thinking the public only cares about the small herds that are easier to get to.
Below: Many of you remember Shawave (Blue Wing) of 2020. Those of you following “who is in charge,” it is the same command structure as Antelope. This operation took place while BLM said they were doing annual reviews of CAWP… but had not even hired anyone to head the program yet. The AQI during this roundup hit in the 400 range… that dark maroon zone that basically tells you to hide, close doors… don’t take a breath outside if you do not have to (the smoke was from wildfires hundreds of miles away). BLM ignored us then too, we are not on the preferred partner list even if we are a legal stakeholder and it is more than infuriating that there is a “buddy club” entrance requirement.
Heat Index is different than temperature. It is the standard that the weather service uses to issue health warnings. Much like Air Quality Index (AQI) the Heat Index is going to become more of a fact of life under climate change. (NOTE: BLM also ignores the AQI and will run wild horses into the insanely dangerous zones when wild fire smoke is present blowing in from hundreds of miles away.)
Temperature can be in the 80’s and, due to other factors, you are in a heat index caution zone. Extended Heat Index is not a “stop for a few hours” type of thing. The impacts compound.
Temperature alone has been considered insufficient to measure impacts to physiology for over a decade.
The Antelope Complex roundup has operated in the caution zone since it began. This operation ran babies in the caution zone, the extreme zone and even hit the danger zone (when you should not even take out your performance horse for a walk).
Please remember, wild horses are not simply subjected to capture stress during a helicopter chase. The impacts of the heat endure. Processing at the holding corrals has been seen much higher temperatures and index readings than during active trapping.
No wonder facilities are overwhelmed with sick and compromised wild horses. Will BLM count those deaths as roundup related? absolutely not.
We expect Antelope to come in near the 20% mark within the first 4 months post-capture. We will report after reviewing data, but it will take time to obtain it (we have to FOIA, BLM does not put facility reports online anymore).
So if you ever adopt (or have adopted) an Antelope wild horse, know that the roundup your equine partner survived have been some of the hardest we have witnessed every single time over 15 years. This area has a reputation.
Yesterday we told you about a trap that had that vague “public/private” description BLM gives when operating in a checkerboard. The land is literally open and not fenced like a checkerboard. In these spaces you can drive a mile or two and be on public land, or drive another mile or two and be on private. The road you are on is 99.9% of the time a public road unless gated with a sign. Our observer found the road leading to the trap BLM offered no observation at. It is public.
Our tenacious observer is back at trap today supported by our offsite team.
Thank you for keeping us in the fight!
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Note to advocates:
For a few years now many of you that follow our daily reports to learn about the roundup (unlike BLM that only seems to watch our page to see if we type the word “cow”) have seen us write about AQI and heat index for years now.
BLM has ignored any report, review, testimony, request for a meeting from Wild Horse Education (WHE) since 2017 (when preferred partners were determined, after the corporate lobby partners were determined, as BLM employees themselves engaged in carrying Ten Years to AML, later called Path Forward, up the internal food chain). WHE has not been invited to a single stakeholder meeting since that time, not one.
There are a lot of things the public is not aware of. Wild horses are part of a complex public lands process and we know that process is hard enough for you to understand. But on the backside, the twists and turns of advocacy are like a few seasons of “Game of Thrones.” If your objective was simply not a darting agreement or sales of a substance or method to control population growth… you were ostracized, rumor-milled and tossed out the door.
WHE is not a big corporate player. Many of you may think we are because we have always taken as big a piece of the fight as we can. The stuff you hear on social media? That is all part of that drama we referenced in the previous paragraph.
The drama is in full swing. We do not want to detract from the objectives that can actually help wild horses and burros further. We just want to tell you to be careful in the “alt-reality” built on social media. Do a bit of research before reacting to the “someone said, that someone said, that someone said they heard something.”
Categories: Wild Horse Education