NAS pans current BLM Mustang management

Cross-posted from TheHorse.com

WRITTEN BY PAT RAIA

Mare and foal at the Palomino Valley National Wild Horse and Burro Center north of Sparks, Nevada. Photo by Stan White/BLM Nevada.
Mare and foal at the Palomino Valley National Wild Horse and Burro Center north of Sparks, Nevada. Photo by Stan White/BLM Nevada.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) should rely more on contraception than on roundups to effectively manage wild horse herds, according to study results released this week.

The National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council (NAS/NRC) is an independent nonprofit group that advises government agencies on scientific issues. In 2010 the BLM asked NAS to review technical aspects of their wild horse and burro program, including science-based population estimation methods, annual herd growth rates, and population control measures. The BLM also asked the group to make recommendations for future wild horse and burro management techniques. The $1.5 million study began in 2011 and the results were released June 5.

In its report, the NAS said the population of wild horses under BLM care on public rangelands in Western states increases at an unsustainable rate of 15% to 20% annually.

In its report, the NAS said the population of wild horses under BLM care on public rangelands in Western states increases at an unsustainable rate of 15% to 20% annually. In managing its herds, the BLM has estimated the ideal number of horses each range can support, then reduced herd populations to meet that estimate by gathering and removing horses from the range. But according to the NAS report, the BLM has not used scientifically rigorous methods to estimate the horse and burro populations on each range or to model the effects of management actions on the animals under BLM care. The report said that the current methodology the agency uses also fails to assess the availability and use of forage on rangelands the animals occupy.

In addition, the report said the BLM fails to effectively use contraception tools—specifically porcine zona pellucida vaccines for mares and a chemical vasectomy vaccine in stallions—to achieve appropriate wild horse and burro population control. The report said that conclusion was based on delivery method, availability, efficacy, duration of effect, and the potential for side effects. Read full article >>

5 thoughts on “NAS pans current BLM Mustang management”

  1. This Wild Horse issue is nothing but greed for the welfare cattle grazing, oil, mining mineral, you name it and the HORSES are just disposable for all the greedy groups who think they have the ultimate right to OUR LAND the HORSES LAND and BLM has been endorsing all of it…. Pretty obvious… The horses have not gotten a fare shake for a very long time and NOW is the time since the scientific report recently saying BLM has been doing it wrong all along of course we all knew this and honestly I am sure they have to but did not want to listen to anyone who had the best interest of the horses at heart….. WELL< BLM reign is OVER as well it should be…… Take some of the cattle OFF the land before it is gone… Put the horses back…

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  2. “Porcine zona pellucida vaccines for mares and a chemical vasectomy vaccine in stallions—to achieve appropriate wild horse and burro population control.” We heard of PZP for mares which has side effects, distrupts families, but chemical vasectomies for stallions? This all sounds excessive, distruptive and will lead them to their demise. In addition, there can be complications to darts too. Why can’t 1700 wild horses remain on 1.3 million acres, such as in Wyoming?

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    1. Exactly Chris. Not that long ago, there were 2+ million in 10 western States and not only tens of thousands head of cattle out there with them, but other large wild animal populations too. No one was starving; there was water enough even in drought conditions. This is simply local bullheaded culture with bullheaded thinking that want it all, and all their way. And the BLM just love to accommodate them. The oil & gas industry was out there too laying pipeline and drilling. But all that changed with fracking, and it is easy to see the reason why. It pollutes and destroys.

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      1. Your point is well taken and I’ve read that cows/sheep actually prefer different forage than horses. So then would you say the main culprits are the energy companies that do most damage to streams/underground water tables/aquifers. They want to sell energy off shore and go crazy doing it. It’s not the wild horses that’s for sure simply because of the size of herds and their preference to travel miles rather than be stationary.

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