There are so many issues at present in the world of “wild horse” that to sit and give an in depth write up on a single subject leaves many other issues untouched. There has been no time to write daily. So this is rather an informal blog post to bring you a “bunch o’ stuff,” in no particular order.
Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
USFWS has removed 415 wild horses from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge. The plan is to remove the remaining 400 (approximate) horses next year as the refuge considers them “feral” and not in line with the “restoration ecology” philosophy of management that does not “care” that wild horses originated in North America and fully evolved on this continent.
Observation reports can be read here>>>
Sheldon has historically left horses removed from the refuge open to the threat of slaughter. This time is no different. Sheldon claimed that in the 2008 EA (Record of Decision that acted as a five year interim plan until the new CCP was developed) that they would “carefully select” contractors and do follow up to make sure that horses were placed through an adoption process that gave reassurance that horses would not go to slaughter. Sheldon did no follow up until alerted by a member of the public that did do follow up and found Sheldon horses once again were sent by contractor J&S Associates to those those that did send them to slaughter. The CCP (in effect in 2013) also states that horses will be protected. By continuing to use a contractor that failed to protect horses in the past Sheldon now fails to follow the CCP.
Legal action has been filed (by Wild Horse Educations Leigh and member of the public, Bonnie Kohleriter) that also covers continued violations of First Amendment rights in documenting Sheldon horses. red here>>
note: It was really hard to sit out there on 9/11, a day we honor all that it means to be an American, and watch our “war horses” rounded up and then hidden from any ability to assess them. I can’t describe what it felt like having your Constitutional Rights violated on that day.
WE NEED: Please realize that this action is to help 252 Sheldon horses at risk this year and those left on the Refuge. We need help trying to get these horses the historic status they deserve and protect them on the range. Those being removed must be protected from slaughter. We are looking for veterans and children of veterans to write letters about what it means to them to protect our American “war horse” on the range and off the range. We are also looking for people that might be able to adopt a Sheldon either this year or next…. Send emails to: WildHorseEducation@gmail.com and put “Sheldon plan” in the subject line. We are CRAZY busy but will get back to you in a couple of days. Please mail letters asap as we would like to p resent them in court.~~ Thank you.
Yes, the Diamond 30, plus 8 babies born in holding, are going up for adoption and will not be returned to the range. We urge you to go read about the background on the Diamond horses. Some of it can he found here>>
Wild Horse Education has done extensive background on the area. The Diamond range sits north of Eureka and is managed by three districts. One district (Battle Mountain) did extensive livestock restrictions that were NOT shared by the other two districts. However there was every expectation that the horses would be returned to the range even though ranchers and Eureka County were fighting the return. The release locations were chosen and range repair efforts had been organized. HOWEVER what we have found is that a large number of horses are moving out of TRIPLE B to the east of Diamond into the Diamond area. The reason is not understood nor is it easy to gather the data and create any comprehensive plan simply as the Diamond is managed by THREE districts and sits on the very far eastern edge of Battle Mountain.
That movement has created a situation where the Diamond range (already battered by overgrazing from domestic livestock) has an influx of horses from Triple B (at this juncture we have no information that the Ely district is doing anything to understand that movement nor have they adjusted estimated populations in Triple B to reflect the exodus). As we all know BLM has no seasonal migration data to compare if this is normal movement and the horses will leave. See map in this post from the roundup last winter here>>>
So at this juncture (with the livestock restrictions still in place in Battle Mountain) the horses can not be returned to the Battle Mountain side. We will make further inquiries to push the Ely district to understand the movement and continue to work with the Battle Mountain side to try to complete the range improvements discussed.
Diamond is a great example of what the lack of data, communication and cooperation exists in what is supposed to be a national program, not islands of control. BLM was confident those horses would go back but their own lack of data and understanding of what they manage in any cohesive fashion now causes these horses to need placement (or enter the system).
We have gotten to know some of the older horses and our hearts break for them. However what has happened in Diamond has hardened our resolve to push BLM National to create a comprehensive national plan based on data, the “who what when where how.” The current district by district patchwork of information is pushing not only our wild horses into chaotic extinction, but destroying America’s public land. We wish you could have seen the Diamond range with us… the devastation would make you as mad as we are. Irresponsible grazing based on decades of tyrannical oppression by public land “livestock bullies” must stop. AND we MUST begin to understand WHAT wild horses really are and what they need to be protected…. and then do it…. plain and simple.
WHE has been joined in Amicus on the Ninth Circuit case by more than 15 news organizations. Briefs filed this past week and excerpts of record filed as well. Massive case spanning almost four years of work. The case is solid. We will update you on hearing date.
Our other cases are active as well including: Owyhee heading for a hearing on amended and PI and Triple B and Jackson moving back into Discovery.
More later on Massacre Lakes, Theodore Roosevelt and volunteer projects.
Check our website if you have not been there recently… we need your support to keep the cases running and gather the data our government has failed to provide to protect our wild horses and burros.