Return to Freedom https://returntofreedom.org American Wild Horse Sanctuary Wed, 11 Nov 2020 13:04:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.5.3 142543347 BLM to capture 195 wild horses, treat up to 30 mares on Fish Creek HMA (Nev.) https://returntofreedom.org/blm-to-capture-195-wild-horses-treat-up-to-30-mares-on-fish-creek-hma-nev/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 12:50:12 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29496 On or about Monday, Nov. 16, the Bureau of Land Management is set to begin a helicopter roundup of 195 wild horses on the Fish Creek Herd Management Area in Nevada.  The agency plans to treat “up to” 30 mares with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22 and release them with a […]

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Wild horses photographed on the Fish Creek Herd Management Area in June 2019. BLM photo.

On or about Monday, Nov. 16, the Bureau of Land Management is set to begin a helicopter roundup of 195 wild horses on the Fish Creek Herd Management Area in Nevada. 

The agency plans to treat “up to” 30 mares with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22 and release them with a similar number of studs. The balance of the wild horses will be removed from their home range.

The 250,000-acre Fish Creek HMA has an agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 107-180 wild horses –or as low as one horse for every 2,336 acres.

The BLM allows private grazing on four allotments totaling 417,000 acres that overlap about 230,675 acres of the Herd Management Area. The total permitted livestock use for those allotments is 8,855 Animal Unit Months (one AUM is defined as a month’s forage for one horse, one cow / calf pair or five sheep). Actual grazing use from 2008-14 was 5,530 AUMs, according to BLM planning documents.

BLM’s stated purpose for the roundup is to “prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and burros, to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands …The action is also necessary to reduce overpopulation of wild horses within and outside the HMA, where there currently is not enough water to support the number of horses in the area,” according to a press release.

BLM also seeks to protect habitat “for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and elk.”

In 2019, BLM captured 558 wild horses and removed 533 during a nine-day helicopter roundup. Thirteen studs and just seven mares treated with PZP-22 were released, while five wild horses died. Had BLM treated more mares, it would have curbed reproduction and reduced calls for future roundups.

Wild horses removed from the range during the upcoming roundup will be transported to the Bruneau (Idaho) Off-Range Corrals to be readied for BLM’s adoption and sale program.

Read BLM’s planning documents here.

Viewing the roundup

The BLM will escort interested members of the public to observation sites during the roundup. Those who wish to take part must call the gather hotline nightly at (775) 861-6700 for instructions. 

COVID-19 guidelines will apply. Participants will be required to wear masks, bring hand sanitizer and maintain social distancing. Those that believe they may be ill or who have been ill or exposed to someone who was during the prior 14 days cannot attend.

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to continue supporting the use of fertility control so roundups can be phased out

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Urgent: Time is running out to ban horse slaughter! https://returntofreedom.org/urgent-time-is-running-out-to-ban-horse-slaughter/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 12:16:00 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29252 Time is running out to pass the SAFE Act to ban horse slaughter in the United States and the export of American horses for slaughter! The number of representatives backing the SAFE Act to ban horse slaughter has reached 236 – easily surpassing a majority (218) but still falling short of the number (290) needed […]

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Calico stallions Tomahawk, left, and El Presidente taken at RTF’s Lompoc, Calif., headquarters sanctuary by Paloma Ianes.

Time is running out to pass the SAFE Act to ban horse slaughter in the United States and the export of American horses for slaughter!

The number of representatives backing the SAFE Act to ban horse slaughter has reached 236 – easily surpassing a majority (218) but still falling short of the number (290) needed to force a floor vote. Likewise, the Senate bill has not passed out of committee.

The number of legislative days remaining in this Congress is dwindling but must not give up. Much can still happen — especially in the days following an election.

Here’s what you can do:

Send a message to your representatives through our website.

–Call your representative and senators, let them know you’re a constituent, and (politely) urge them to back this bipartisan legislation (H.R. 961 in the House, S. 2006 in the Senate). Capitol switchboard number: (202) 224-3121.

–Call House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and urge them to bring the SAFE Act (H.R. 961 / S. 2006) to ban horse slaughter up for a vote. Capitol switchboard number: (202) 224-3121.

–Share our SAFE Act posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

–Tell your friends and family how to get involved. If they’d like to learn more about the issue, point them here: https://bit.ly/30psbhU

Donate to the Wild Horse Defense Fund, which fuels our lobbying, grassroots advocacy, and selective litigation.

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New research proves yet again that modern horse originated in North America https://returntofreedom.org/new-research-proves-yet-again-that-modern-horse-originated-in-north-america/ Tue, 10 Nov 2020 19:18:15 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29490 A growing body of evidence shows that far from being an invasive species, the horse originated in North America some 53 million years ago and traveled over the Bering Land Bridge, dispersing into Asia 800,000 to 1 million years ago. Fossil evidence had long supported the idea that horses, once leaving the Americas, evolved into […]

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Wild horses at RTF’s San Luis Obispo, Calif., satellite sanctuary. Photo by Bari Lee.

A growing body of evidence shows that far from being an invasive species, the horse originated in North America some 53 million years ago and traveled over the Bering Land Bridge, dispersing into Asia 800,000 to 1 million years ago.

Fossil evidence had long supported the idea that horses, once leaving the Americas, evolved into a new species, and so the horses which Spanish explorers brought to the New World were unfamiliar to this land.

Advances in molecular genetics, however, have proven otherwise: the horse completed its last adaptation in North America before its absence (for what was ostensibly a short-term blip on the scale of geologic time), and so when the Spanish and then early European settlers brought horses to this new land, these horses from which today’s wild horses have descended – Equus caballus– were, in fact, returning home.

In the early 1990s work by Ann Forstén of the Department of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University, utilized molecular biology to more precisely describe the story of the evolution of the horse (1992). Carles Vilà, also in the Department of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University, verified this research in 2001. And Hofreiter et al showed that E. lambei and E. caballus were, in fact, genetically the same (2001). It was these detailed, more-accurate mitochondrial DNA assessments that showed how wild horses in American were actually a reintroduced native wildlife species.

Return to Freedom has been educating Congressional representatives, animal welfare organizations, supporters, sanctuary visitors, and government agency staff about this important research since 2005, and first spread the word about a document written by the late Drs. Jay Kirkpatrick and Pat Fazio digging into what that research meant scientifically, and in the context of wild horse management considerations.

RTF is thrilled to share a new article from Beth Shapiro and Alisa Vershinina of the UC Santa Cruz Paleogenomics Lab which provides an overview of current collaborative work among researchers, including Ross MacPhee, chair of the American Museum of Natural History’s Department of Mammalogy and an esteemed member of RTF’s science advisory committee.

Read the article here

Wild horses at RTF’s San Luis Obispo, Calif., satellite sanctuary. Photo by Bari Lee.

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Fertility control vs. surgical sterilization: Where RTF stands and why https://returntofreedom.org/fertility-control-vs-surgical-sterilization-where-rtf-stands-and-why/ Tue, 10 Nov 2020 18:43:03 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29484 By Celeste Carlisle Return to Freedom strongly supports the implementation of fertility control and strongly opposes surgical sterilization of wild mares and burro jennies, but why? In fact, to begin with, why support slowing reproduction, at all?  Because under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, and with the continued support of […]

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Ruby Tuesday was born at RTF’s Lompoc, Calif., headquarters sanctuary in January. RTF’s use of the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP slows but does not stop reproduction while allowing family bands to remain together at the sanctuary.

By Celeste Carlisle

Return to Freedom strongly supports the implementation of fertility control and strongly opposes surgical sterilization of wild mares and burro jennies, but why?

In fact, to begin with, why support slowing reproduction, at all? 

Because under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, and with the continued support of Congress, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service have been granted broad powers to set population goals (called “Appropriate Management Levels”) and to take actions to keep herds from growing what the agencies deem too large on the areas set aside for them (the BLM calls these “Herd Management Areas,” the USFS “Wild Horse Territories”). 

In the absence of predators, the agencies have relied on the capture, removal and warehousing of wild horses as their primary tool to reduce numbers on the range for nearly 50 years. RTF believes that AML needs to be adjusted to reflect a more equitable share of the range for the horses and burros on Herd Management Areas. We continue to fight for the resource needs of wild horses and burros to be considered equally, not last as they have been for decades. They should be weighted at least equally against other uses, like private livestock grazing, which overlap Herd Management Areas / Wild Horse Territories as part of the federal multiple-use mandate imposed on agencies overseeing public lands.

Given the agencies’ powers to set population targets for wild horses and burros and to act to reduce those levels, and given Congress’s blessing to do so, RTF has emphasized a humane alternative that it believes can and should replace controversial and often deadly helicopter roundups: fertility control.

These are vaccines of the sort that we at RTF have been using at our American Wild Horse Sanctuary for over 20 years under the guidance of the Science and Conservation Center, with a 91-98% efficacy rate (in other words, we still have a few foals most years but the numbers are much smaller). Our sanctuary was the fourth large project in the world to use a fertility control vaccine called PZP, which has been used across a variety of species, from elephants to deer. The vaccine we use is non-hormonal and reversible. Using fertility control allows us to manage numbers responsibly while allowing stallions and mares to remain together in their family bands and retain natural behaviors. We see this as a model for how wild horses and burros can be managed on the range, where they belong. This model was implemented successfully on Assateague Island by The Science and Conservation Center in collaboration with the National Park Service and has inspired the growth of over 32 projects on and off the range in the last 15-plus years.

Wild horses are fortunate enough to have high reproductive success: 15 to 20 percent annually, according to the National Academy of Sciences. In biologic terms, this means that wild horses tend to produce offspring who then produce offspring who then produce offspring, and so on and so forth.  That’s great if you are a large mammal in a balanced ecosystem, with population controls like predators, and limitless lands and waters. Unfortunately for wild horses, those balances are way out of whack, (mainly due to human encroachment and industry), and what we have today are herds of our revered horses relegated to drying lands doing their fantastic job of reproducing their populations, with little at hand to check those populations and keep them within the agency-set carrying capacities of their ranges. And so it is that BLM and USFS have come to manage wild horses and burros through an unworkable system of gather-removals, ad infinitum. 

The 2013 National Academy of Science report (p. 266), reminds us of the futility (and population growth enhancement) that “gathers-only” management does to wild horse and burro populations: “The management strategy of removing free-ranging horses and burros from the range leaves the animals that remain on the range unaffected by density-dependent population processes. Thus, population growth is not regulated by self-limiting pressures, such as lack of water or forage, and this allows horse, and possibly burro, populations to grow at an annual rate of 15-20 percent.” (National Research Council 2013. Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program: A Way Forward. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.)

You can gather and remove whoever you deem “excess.” However, if the challenge at hand is reproduction, it would really be better to address that

Alas, the BLM / USFS have resisted the challenge of implementing fertility control. Through 2019, the BLM’s Wild Horse & Burro Program has never spent as much as 4 percent of its annual budget on fertility control, despite the lobbying of RTF and others. And, yet, the BLM has attempted use its base wild horse budget to pursue research into permanent sterilization.

Return to Freedom has always supported fertility control, but “fertility control” is a broad category, which “surgical sterilization” is technically underneath.  Below are various forms of fertility control available, and our thoughts behind why we support some, but not all, methods of fertility control:

PZP and PZP-22

Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary supports the use of the wildlife contraceptives Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP and PZP-22) for wild horse management on our public lands.

PZP, or ZonaStat-H, is an elegant immuno-contraceptive vaccine.  All mammalian eggs are coated with a membrane called the “zona pellucida,” which contains proteins necessary for sperm reception.  When the PZP vaccine is injected into a mare, her immune system develops antibodies against the vaccine, and also to the zona pellucida of her own eggs.   In effect, the mare cannot become pregnant because her eggs will never “allow” for the transmission of genetic material from the sperm to the egg.  Ovulation can occur, natural reproductive behaviors can occur, but fertilization will not occur.  Since PZP is a vaccine which must be boosted, if a mare does not receive a scheduled injection, she may still become pregnant.  What this means is that in terms of population management; PZP slows, but does not altogether stop, reproduction.  Thus, it is a simple and effective tool for stabilizinga population of animals (and by strict oversight by the Humane Society of the United States, it can NOT be used to zero out wild horse populations).  

Safe, effective contraceptive techniques have the following characteristics (Kirkpatrick and Turner 1991): 1) Contraceptive effectiveness of at least 90 percent; 2) The capacity for remote delivery with minimal handling of animals; 3) Reversibility of contraceptive effects; 4) Safety for use in pregnant animals; 5) Absence of significant health side effects; 6) No passage of the contraceptive through the food chain; 7) Minimal effects upon individual social behaviors; 8) Low cost. 

It should be stated that PZP is safe, with 30 years of data, collected and analyzed by equine scientists, wildlife biologists, geneticists, animal behaviorists, and reproductive physiologists.  These are professional people who have dedicated significant portions of their lives to finding elegant and humane solutions to wild horse population management through serious scientific study, with oversight from peers and research institutions.  PZP is not an untested, hazardous material, wreaking havoc on herd behaviors and causing out-of-season births, as has been intimated by some wild horse advocates. Indeed, Return to Freedom is proud to provide our own PZP-use and population data towards the goal of a less-intrusive way to maintain healthy herds on public lands.

PZP-22 operates by the same mechanism that ZonaStat-H does, but utilizes a pelleted, slow-release primer to lengthen the efficacy of the booster dose.  If timed properly, a mare can receive a pelleted primer dose which will initiate her antibody response and offer her protection from pregnancy, and then a well-timed booster dose of ZonaStat-H could protect her for 3-4 years.

GonaCon

GonaCon is a hormone releasing antagonist which works by interrupting the hormone cascade that ultimately results in fertilization being successful.  We remain guarded about the use of the longer-lasting fertility control vaccine GonaCon because it may cause other behavioral changes that would affect herd dynamics. As such, RTF would like to see more studies to ensure that GonaCon meets the parameters of ethical and thoughtful wildlife fertility control. That is the case with PZP, a non-hormonal vaccine with more than three decades of research behind it that RTF has used at its sanctuary with a 91-98% efficacy rate.

Surgical Sterilization

Recently posed methods to surgically sterilize wild horses or burros on the range include a spay procedure called ovariectomy via colpotomy and gelding of males.  Return to Freedom does not support these methods of surgical sterilization for management of wild horses and burros on public lands.

Ovariectomy via colpotomy removes the ovaries of a restrained mare in a chute via an incision made high enough inside the vagina so the abdominal cavity can be accessed. A tool called an ecraseur is used to crush the ovarian pedicle and excise the ovaries.  This is an extremely painful procedure, and a wild mare or jenny cannot receive the post-surgical care necessary for a surgical spay: how can meaningful pain management or emergency medical intervention be performed on a frightened, unhandled mare in a holding facility?  Further, there are no substantive studies to evaluate long-term health of ovariectomized mares.  Advanced musculoskeletal deterioration is a concern if estrogen is removed from a mare’s hormonal system, as an ovariectomy does.

Surgical spays polarize stakeholders and lead to litigation, which delays projects.  The BLM has an opportunity here to set this management strategy aside – because it can: because other forms of proven, safe, humane reproductive growth suppression exist and their use is generally supported by the public (immuno-contraceptive vaccines).  

Gelding is, of course, the surgical removal of the stallion’s testicles. We do not advise gelding as a population management tool since there are effective and well-studied, safe and humane and reversible population growth suppression alternatives and there are not sufficient studies to understand the behavioral effects of gelding some proportion of a population.  Modeling for population effects of a certain percentage of male horses in a population being geldings is a guess, at best. 

Celeste Carlisle is RTF’s biologist and science program manager.

Take Action: Urge Congress to support the use of fertility control

Take Action: Tell Congress to oppose surgical sterilization

Donate to RTF’s Wild Horse Defense Fund, which fuels our lobbying, grassroots advocacy and selected litigation

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Red Desert (Wyo.) update: 1,952 wild horses captured, 10 killed; 95 mares treated https://returntofreedom.org/red-desert-2020-1952-captured/ Sun, 08 Nov 2020 09:03:00 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29470 The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,952 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Saturday. A total of 170 wild horses have been returned to the range, including 95 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth. Ten wild horses have been […]

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A contractor’s helicopter pursues wild horses on the Red Desert Complex on Oct. 12. Photo by Meg Frederick for RTF.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,952 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Saturday.

A total of 170 wild horses have been returned to the range, including 95 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth.

Ten wild horses have been reported dead through the first 29 days of the roundup, most recently one on Thursday that suffered a “fractured leg or pelvis.”

BLM aims to remove 2,400 “excess” wild horses from the complex — about 80 percent of the horses on Herd Management Areas in Sweetwater, Fremont, Carbon and Natrona counties west and south of Wyoming Highway 287.

The BLM plans to turn back out a total of 305 horses, including about 150 mares that will be treated with PZP-22, to “ensure genetic variability and to preserve the New World Iberian Genotype present in the complex.”

The BLM estimates the wild horse population of the Red Desert Complex to be about 3,000 wild horses, several times over the agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 480-724 wild horses.

The agency also says the removal is necessary because “horses are moving outside of their established herd management areas and causing impacts in areas not identified for their management,” according to a press release.

The roundup is a continuation of another in August 2018, which was brought to an end after 11 days due to a lack of off-range holding capacity. A total of 1,444 wild horses were removed and 10 killed before the postponement. During the 2018 roundup, 25 wild horses were returned to the range, including 12 mares treated with fertility control.

The BLM will transport wild horses removed from the range to holding facilities in Rock Springs, Wyo., Canon City, Colo., and other locations, to be readied for adoption or sale. Some will be shipped to the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton, Wyo., or the Mantle Adoption and Training Facility in Wheatland, Wyo., for gentling before being made available for adoption.

The BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” for the Red Desert Complex is 480-724 horses — as low as one horse for every 1,569 acres of the complex, which includes 703,500 acres of public land and 49,500 acres of private land.

For livestock in the complex, BLM has allotted 69,889 Animal Unit Months. One AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow-calf combination, one horse, or five sheep for a month. Actual use has varied from 10-70% of authorized use in recent years, depending on availability of forage and water, according to the agency.

The Red Desert Complex includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Gap, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek Herd Management Areas in south-central Wyoming.

Attending the roundup

The BLM will escort interested members of the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Those interested must notify Sarah Beckwith at sbeckwith@blm.gov or 307-347-5207.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. The following COVID-19 guidelines will apply: 

Always stay at least six feet from others. Avoid gathering with others outside of your household. Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as restrooms will not be available. Do not attend the gather if you are sick, recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 or are not feeling well. 

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range

Donate to RTF’s Wild Horse Defense Fund

See BLM’s tentative roundup calendar

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Help slow virus’s spread while supporting wild horses! https://returntofreedom.org/help-slow-viruss-spread-while-supporting-wild-horses/ Fri, 06 Nov 2020 00:20:00 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29375 Since the arrival of COVID-19, we’ve been asked by many whether RTF will have reusable masks for sale. Thanks to a supporter who connected us with Matt and Luis, the founders of Miami-based Peekaboo, the answer is now yes! Peekaboo has created a special line of handmade, adjustable masks made of polyester and spandex fabric […]

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Since the arrival of COVID-19, we’ve been asked by many whether RTF will have reusable masks for sale. Thanks to a supporter who connected us with Matt and Luis, the founders of Miami-based Peekaboo, the answer is now yes!

Peekaboo has created a special line of handmade, adjustable masks made of polyester and spandex fabric featuring images of some of our resident horses (including Spirit!) and burros from some of our wonderful photographer friends – with 35% of sales going directly to our sanctuary fund.

Click here to shop!

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Red Desert (Wyo.) update: 132 wild horses released, including 75 treated mares https://returntofreedom.org/red-desert-2020-1770-captured/ Tue, 03 Nov 2020 15:50:58 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29465 The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,770 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Monday. A total of 132 wild horses have been returned to the range, including 75 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth. Six wild horses have been […]

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Wild horses enter a trap site on the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming on Oct. 12. Photo by Meg Frederick for RTF.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,770 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Monday.

A total of 132 wild horses have been returned to the range, including 75 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth.

Six wild horses have been reported dead through the first 24 days of the roundup. Two were euthanized for osteoarthritis in their knees, two due to limb deformations of their left front legs, one after suffering a skull fracture after being kicked by another horse, and, on Wednesday, a fourth after suffering a “neck injury” at the trap site.

BLM aims to remove 2,400 “excess” wild horses from the complex — about 80 percent of the horses on Herd Management Areas in Sweetwater, Fremont, Carbon and Natrona counties west and south of Wyoming Highway 287.

The BLM plans to turn back out a total of 305 horses, including about 150 mares that will be treated with PZP-22, to “ensure genetic variability and to preserve the New World Iberian Genotype present in the complex.”

The BLM estimates the wild horse population of the Red Desert Complex to be about 3,000 wild horses, several times over the agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 480-724 wild horses.

The agency also says the removal is necessary because “horses are moving outside of their established herd management areas and causing impacts in areas not identified for their management,” according to a press release.

The roundup is a continuation of another in August 2018, which was brought to an end after 11 days due to a lack of off-range holding capacity. A total of 1,444 wild horses were removed and 10 killed before the postponement. During the 2018 roundup, 25 wild horses were returned to the range, including 12 mares treated with fertility control.

The BLM will transport wild horses removed from the range to holding facilities in Rock Springs, Wyo., Canon City, Colo., and other locations, to be readied for adoption or sale. Some will be shipped to the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton, Wyo., or the Mantle Adoption and Training Facility in Wheatland, Wyo., for gentling before being made available for adoption.

The BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” for the Red Desert Complex is 480-724 horses — as low as one horse for every 1,569 acres of the complex, which includes 703,500 acres of public land and 49,500 acres of private land.

For livestock in the complex, BLM has allotted 69,889 Animal Unit Months. One AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow-calf combination, one horse, or five sheep for a month. Actual use has varied from 10-70% of authorized use in recent years, depending on availability of forage and water, according to the agency.

The Red Desert Complex includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Gap, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek Herd Management Areas in south-central Wyoming.

Attending the roundup

The BLM will escort interested members of the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Those interested must notify Sarah Beckwith at sbeckwith@blm.gov or 307-347-5207.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. The following COVID-19 guidelines will apply: 

Always stay at least six feet from others. Avoid gathering with others outside of your household. Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as restrooms will not be available. Do not attend the gather if you are sick, recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 or are not feeling well. 

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range

Donate to RTF’s Wild Horse Defense Fund

See BLM’s tentative roundup calendar

The post Red Desert (Wyo.) update: 132 wild horses released, including 75 treated mares appeared first on Return to Freedom.

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Red Desert (Wyo.) update: 1,672 wild horses captured, 6 killed https://returntofreedom.org/red-desert-2020-1672-captured/ Mon, 02 Nov 2020 22:35:31 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29460 The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,672 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Sunday. A total of 115 wild horses have been returned to the range, including 59 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth. Six wild horses have been […]

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A contractor’s helicopter drives wild horses toward a trap site on the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming on Oct. 12. RTF photo.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,672 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Sunday.

A total of 115 wild horses have been returned to the range, including 59 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth.

Six wild horses have been reported dead through the first 19 days of the roundup. Two were euthanized for osteoarthritis in their knees, two due to limb deformations of their left front legs, one after suffering a skull fracture after being kicked by another horse, and, on Wednesday, a fourth after suffering a “neck injury” at the trap site.

BLM aims to remove 2,400 “excess” wild horses from the complex — about 80 percent of the horses on Herd Management Areas in Sweetwater, Fremont, Carbon and Natrona counties west and south of Wyoming Highway 287.

The BLM plans to turn back out a total of 305 horses, including about 150 mares that will be treated with PZP-22, to “ensure genetic variability and to preserve the New World Iberian Genotype present in the complex.”

The BLM estimates the wild horse population of the Red Desert Complex to be about 3,000 wild horses, several times over the agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 480-724 wild horses.

The agency also says the removal is necessary because “horses are moving outside of their established herd management areas and causing impacts in areas not identified for their management,” according to a press release.

The roundup is a continuation of another in August 2018, which was brought to an end after 11 days due to a lack of off-range holding capacity. A total of 1,444 wild horses were removed and 10 killed before the postponement. During the 2018 roundup, 25 wild horses were returned to the range, including 12 mares treated with fertility control.

The BLM will transport wild horses removed from the range to holding facilities in Rock Springs, Wyo., Canon City, Colo., and other locations, to be readied for adoption or sale. Some will be shipped to the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton, Wyo., or the Mantle Adoption and Training Facility in Wheatland, Wyo., for gentling before being made available for adoption.

The BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” for the Red Desert Complex is 480-724 horses — as low as one horse for every 1,569 acres of the complex, which includes 703,500 acres of public land and 49,500 acres of private land.

For livestock in the complex, BLM has allotted 69,889 Animal Unit Months. One AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow-calf combination, one horse, or five sheep for a month. Actual use has varied from 10-70% of authorized use in recent years, depending on availability of forage and water, according to the agency.

The Red Desert Complex includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Gap, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek Herd Management Areas in south-central Wyoming.

Attending the roundup

The BLM will escort interested members of the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Those interested must notify Sarah Beckwith at sbeckwith@blm.gov or 307-347-5207.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. The following COVID-19 guidelines will apply: 

Always stay at least six feet from others. Avoid gathering with others outside of your household. Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as restrooms will not be available. Do not attend the gather if you are sick, recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 or are not feeling well. 

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range

Donate to RTF’s Wild Horse Defense Fund

See BLM’s tentative roundup calendar

The post Red Desert (Wyo.) update: 1,672 wild horses captured, 6 killed appeared first on Return to Freedom.

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Red Desert (Wyo.) update: 1,311 wild horses captured, 3 killed; 59 mares treated, released https://returntofreedom.org/red-desert-2020-1311-captured/ Thu, 29 Oct 2020 17:50:20 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29443 The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,311 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Wednesday. A total of 115 wild horses have been returned to the range, including 59 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth. Four wild horses have been […]

The post Red Desert (Wyo.) update: 1,311 wild horses captured, 3 killed; 59 mares treated, released appeared first on Return to Freedom.

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A contractor’s helicopter pursues wild horses near the trap site on the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming on Oct. 10. RTF photo.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,311 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Wednesday.

A total of 115 wild horses have been returned to the range, including 59 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth.

Four wild horses have been reported dead through the first 19 days of the roundup. Two were euthanized due to limb deformations of their left front legs, one after suffering a skull fracture after being kicked by another horse, and, on Wednesday, a fourth after suffering a “neck injury” at the trap site.

BLM aims to remove 2,400 “excess” wild horses from the complex — about 80 percent of the horses on Herd Management Areas in Sweetwater, Fremont, Carbon and Natrona counties west and south of Wyoming Highway 287.

The BLM plans to turn back out a total of 305 horses, including about 150 mares that will be treated with PZP-22, to “ensure genetic variability and to preserve the New World Iberian Genotype present in the complex.”

The BLM estimates the wild horse population of the Red Desert Complex to be about 3,000 wild horses, several times over the agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 480-724 wild horses.

The agency also says the removal is necessary because “horses are moving outside of their established herd management areas and causing impacts in areas not identified for their management,” according to a press release.

The roundup is a continuation of another in August 2018, which was brought to an end after 11 days due to a lack of off-range holding capacity. A total of 1,444 wild horses were removed and 10 killed before the postponement. During the 2018 roundup, 25 wild horses were returned to the range, including 12 mares treated with fertility control.

The BLM will transport wild horses removed from the range to holding facilities in Rock Springs, Wyo., Canon City, Colo., and other locations, to be readied for adoption or sale. Some will be shipped to the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton, Wyo., or the Mantle Adoption and Training Facility in Wheatland, Wyo., for gentling before being made available for adoption.

The BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” for the Red Desert Complex is 480-724 horses — as low as one horse for every 1,569 acres of the complex, which includes 703,500 acres of public land and 49,500 acres of private land.

For livestock in the complex, BLM has allotted 69,889 Animal Unit Months. One AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow-calf combination, one horse, or five sheep for a month. Actual use has varied from 10-70% of authorized use in recent years, depending on availability of forage and water, according to the agency.

The Red Desert Complex includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Gap, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek Herd Management Areas in south-central Wyoming.

Attending the roundup

The BLM will escort interested members of the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Those interested must notify Sarah Beckwith at sbeckwith@blm.gov or 307-347-5207.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. The following COVID-19 guidelines will apply: 

Always stay at least six feet from others. Avoid gathering with others outside of your household. Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as restrooms will not be available. Do not attend the gather if you are sick, recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 or are not feeling well. 

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range

Donate to RTF’s Wild Horse Defense Fund

See BLM’s tentative roundup calendar

The post Red Desert (Wyo.) update: 1,311 wild horses captured, 3 killed; 59 mares treated, released appeared first on Return to Freedom.

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Red Desert Complex (Wyo.) update: 1,121 wild horses captured, 3 killed https://returntofreedom.org/red-desert-2020-1121-captured/ Tue, 27 Oct 2020 18:53:13 +0000 https://returntofreedom.org/?p=29432 The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,121 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Monday. Ninety wild horses have been returned to the range, including 46 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth. Three wild horses has been reported dead through […]

The post Red Desert Complex (Wyo.) update: 1,121 wild horses captured, 3 killed appeared first on Return to Freedom.

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A contractor’s helicopter drives wild horses toward the trap site at the Red Desert Complex on Oct. 11. RTF photo.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 1,121 wild horses from the Red Desert Complex in Wyoming through Monday.

Ninety wild horses have been returned to the range, including 46 mares treated with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22, intended to slow herd growth.

Three wild horses has been reported dead through the first 17 days of the roundup. Two were euthanized due to limb deformations of their left front legs, one after suffering a skull fracture after being kicked by another horse.

BLM aims to remove 2,400 “excess” wild horses from the complex — about 80 percent of the horses on Herd Management Areas in Sweetwater, Fremont, Carbon and Natrona counties west and south of Wyoming Highway 287.

The BLM plans to turn back out a total of 305 horses, including about 150 mares that will be treated with PZP-22, to “ensure genetic variability and to preserve the New World Iberian Genotype present in the complex.”

The BLM estimates the wild horse population of the Red Desert Complex to be about 3,000 wild horses, several times over the agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 480-724 wild horses.

The agency also says the removal is necessary because “horses are moving outside of their established herd management areas and causing impacts in areas not identified for their management,” according to a press release.

The roundup is a continuation of another in August 2018, which was brought to an end after 11 days due to a lack of off-range holding capacity. A total of 1,444 wild horses were removed and 10 killed before the postponement. During the 2018 roundup, 25 wild horses were returned to the range, including 12 mares treated with fertility control.

The BLM will transport wild horses removed from the range to holding facilities in Rock Springs, Wyo., Canon City, Colo., and other locations, to be readied for adoption or sale. Some will be shipped to the Wyoming Honor Farm in Riverton, Wyo., or the Mantle Adoption and Training Facility in Wheatland, Wyo., for gentling before being made available for adoption.

The BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” for the Red Desert Complex is 480-724 horses — as low as one horse for every 1,569 acres of the complex, which includes 703,500 acres of public land and 49,500 acres of private land.

For livestock in the complex, BLM has allotted 69,889 Animal Unit Months. One AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow-calf combination, one horse, or five sheep for a month. Actual use has varied from 10-70% of authorized use in recent years, depending on availability of forage and water, according to the agency.

The Red Desert Complex includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Gap, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek Herd Management Areas in south-central Wyoming.

Attending the roundup

The BLM will escort interested members of the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Those interested must notify Sarah Beckwith at sbeckwith@blm.gov or 307-347-5207.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. The following COVID-19 guidelines will apply: 

Always stay at least six feet from others. Avoid gathering with others outside of your household. Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol as restrooms will not be available. Do not attend the gather if you are sick, recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 or are not feeling well. 

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range

Donate to RTF’s Wild Horse Defense Fund

See BLM’s tentative roundup calendar

The post Red Desert Complex (Wyo.) update: 1,121 wild horses captured, 3 killed appeared first on Return to Freedom.

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