BLM to Gather Sand Wash Wild Horses

Lizzy SchultzAg Group, Animal Welfare, Conservation, Equine, Government, Horses, Wild Horses

us-doi-blm-logo A decision signed last week will allow the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to begin gathering up to 50 wild horses from northwestern Colorado’s Sand Wash herd management area (HMA) next month.

The young horses will be bait-trapped and placed in the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary (GEMS) training and adoption program, and fertility control treatments will be administered to any mares being released back to the range.

BLM has named rapid, unhealthy population growth as the reasoning behind the decision. The agency has stated that it manages the area for up to 362 wild horses, but the current population exceeds 600, a number that poses a serious risk to the area’s ecological balance.

BLM will work with the Sand Wash Advocacy Team (SWAT), a partner group, to identify horses to be placed into the adoption program. SWAT members will also work to identify mares that can be treated with the contraceptive vaccine porcine zona pellucida (PZP), which delays fertilization, and released back to the range.

“The BLM is committed to maintaining a healthy wild horse population in Sand Wash over the long-term,” said BLM Little Snake Field Manager Bruce Sillitoe. “This small gather and fertility treatment will help keep their habitat healthy, which is key to keeping the wild horses healthy.”

The decision and associated environmental assessment are available here.

One Comment on “BLM to Gather Sand Wash Wild Horses”

  1. Normal Rates: Horses are a slow-growth species when it comes to reproduction. The gestation-period lasts over 11 months, and a mare produces just 1 foal. Gregg, LeBlanc, and Johnston (2014) found the birth rate to be just under 20%, but half of foals perish, meaning the effective increase in population from new foals is 10%. But at least 5% of wild horses other-than-foals also die; thus results a net herd-growth rate of 5%.

    Fraudulent Rates: Since the last roundup of the Sand Wash Basin wild horses, BLM has posted herd-growth rates ranging from 40% to 740% higher than normal, even after fertility control was implemented. Such growth is biologically improbable.

    Integrity of the Data: BLM is bound by law — the Data Quality Act — and by policy — the Department of the Interior’s Code of Scientific and Scholarly Conduct to disseminate information obtained through “as rigorous scientific and scholarly processes as can be achieved.” However, BLM’s data with regard to wild horses is deceitful. The “overpopulation” exists only on BLM’s falsified spreadsheets.

    Population Contrasts: Here are the 2015 pre-hunting-season population-estimates for Moffat County, where BLM claims 600 wild horses (number questioned) reside in what is supposed to be a dedicated wild-horse habitat: 88,974 deer, 80,774 elk, and 17,209 pronghorn.

    PZP — a Sterilant: Induces ovarian dystrophy, autoimmune oophoritis, ovarian cysts, destruction of oocytes in all growing follicles, depletion of resting follicles, and premature ovarian failure. The use of PZP is also associated with stillbirths, meaning its apparent contraceptive effective is partly due instead to foal-deaths. PZP works “better” — sterilizes faster — in mares with a strong immune system but not at all in those suffering from weak immunity. Thus, PZP selects for low immune function in a herd.

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