America’s Wild Horse Herds Have Already Been Decimated

The damage occurred when the bureaucrats wrote the land-use plans.  The idea of managing principally but not exclusively was thrown overboard and supplanted with federal regulations that nullify the original statute.

Everything happening now, including the removal of ‘excess’ animals, fertility control programs, sex-ratio skewing and sterilization research is the fulfillment of those plans.

Automatic Darting Machine to Ditch Microchips?

A grant from the National Science Foundation will fund the development of facial recognition technology, or similar algorithms, to identify wild horses for treatment, eliminating the need for RFID chips.

The system would provide a humane way to control population growth and keep the horses and other wildlife healthy, according to a story in today’s edition of the El Paso Herald-Post.

Benefits that might accrue to public-lands ranchers were not discussed.

RELATED: New Machine Darts Wild Horses Automatically.

Arizona Fire Restrictions Good News for Wild Burros?

The new rules, announced on June 11, apply to the Colorado River District, among others, which contains most of the HMAs in the state.  Refer to the map at the Arizona HMA home page.

Prohibited activities include discharging a firearm, air rifle, exploding targets or gas gun, which may affect the delivery of population controls by darts.

Use of jabsticks would not be affected.

A four-year trial of PZP on Black Mountain burros, mentioned in Section 4.1 of the 2020 Final EA for resource enforcement actions in the HMA, ends this August.

AJR-5 Hearing This Week

The Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife will consider the measure on June 17, according to the bill’s status.

More information, including a link to the livestream, can be found at the Committee’s hearings page (click on Show Details to see the agenda).

The resolution would ask the federal government to declare a moratorium on wild horse and burro roundups and urge the Bureau of Land Management and the Forest Service to restore the animals to their legal areas throughout the state of California.

RELATED: AJR-5 Amended.

Rationale for Darting Program at Twin Peaks HMA?

Over 2,200 wild horses have been bumped out by privately owned livestock, as noted yesterday, and you want to get rid of more?  Whose side are you on?

Actually, the HMA is one of the milder cases of resource mismanagement, with only 73% of the forage assigned to cattle and sheep.

If you want to see just how bad it can get, look at the numbers for Little Colorado HMA in Wyoming.

With 45,000 AUMs per year assigned to privately owned livestock, 3,750 wild horses have been displaced from that area.

These two HMAs account for more than 10% of the horses in off-range holding.

Put the darting rifles away and instead of doing something to these icons, do something for them.

RELATED: PZP Darting is Not the Answer.

Management Priorities at Twin Peaks HMA

One of the goals of the pilot episode of Wild Lands Wild Horses was to present the truth about America’s wild horses.

The documentary was filmed in and around the Twin Peaks HMA on the California-Nevada border and featured interviews with key stakeholders.

An equally admirable goal would be to present the truth about permitted grazing in areas set aside for wild horses, so let’s get to the numbers.

A 2019 Final EA for resource enforcement actions in the HMA provides data for horses, burros, cattle and sheep in Tables 1-1 and 3-2.  Additional information was obtained from the Allotment Master report in RAS.

The management plan allows 758 wild horses and 116 wild burros in the HMA, for a total forage demand of 9,792 AUMs per year.

The plan currently assigns 26,803 AUMs per year to privately owned cattle and sheep, down slightly from the resource allocations in 2019.

Twin Peaks Allotment Calcs 06-12-21

Approximately 99% of the public acres in the allotments do not meet standards for rangeland health.  If those conditions can be associated with wild horses and burros, why are three of the allotments in the Maintain category?  They’re all inside the HMA according to the map in Appendix H.  (As of today, there is no category for blaming substandard conditions on wild horses and burros.)

Livestock receive 73% of the authorized forage, neglecting wildlife, with the balance going to horses and burros.

The forage assigned to livestock would support an additional 2,234 wild horses, or 2,200 wild horses and 68 wild burros, or any other combination as long as the total forage demand is 26,803 AUMs per year.

That means 2,234 wild horses have been displaced from the HMA by permitted grazing, a figure not in the film’s dataset.

The True AML would be 758 + (116 ÷ 2) + 2,234 = 3,050 for horses only, or 2,800 horses and 500 burros, or any other combination that requires 36,595 AUMs per year.

How can you justify a fertility control program in the area when that many animals have been cheated out of a spot on their home range?  Only their enemies would endorse it.

Overall the film was enjoyable and worth the 50-minute viewing time.

RELATED: Wild Lands Wild Horses Pilot Episode Premieres This Week.