A bait-and-trap roundup using livestock panels stocked with feed was tentatively set to begin Nov. 15. It may now be delayed because of a possible government shutdown, according to BLM staff.
RTF believes the removals are unnecessary: a frivolous, fiscally irresponsible action and an insult to volunteers who since 2011 have worked with BLM to dart McCullough Peaks mares with safe, proven and effective PZP fertility control.
This consistent, ongoing effort has lowered the herd’s population growth to an average of 2% per year, according to the agency — as opposed to 15-20% growth rates typically seen in herds not being managed with fertility control.
As a result, the last removal of wild horses from McCullough Peaks took place in 2013, according to the BLM website, when 20 wild horses and seven domestic horses were captured in a bait-and-trap roundup, in which feed or water are used to lure wild horses in cattle pens.
The BLM says that the wild horse population on the Herd Management Area now stands at 181. The agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” allows for 70-140 wild horses on the 109,814-acre McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area.
Local volunteers and photographers who know the herd well expect four or five foals to be born this winter. An estimated 15 to 20 of the horses may not make it through a harsh winter.
Please write to email@example.com with the subject line “McCullough Peaks.” Here are some suggested talking points:
- BLM should reassess the McCullough Peaks herd after winter passes. If wild horses are removed from the range now, they will only end up in long-term holding, without shelter, at greater cost to taxpayers.
- BLM should prioritize the most heavily impacted Herd Management Areas, not McCullough Peaks.
- This herd has a successful fertility control project with dedicated volunteers. Allowing this herd to remain intact and managed on-range through the fertility control program is a positive part of the National BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program’s search for economically and ecologically sustainable management, with no wild horses needing to be gathered and placed into holding or the adoption program, volunteer hours to subsidize labor and care costs.
- McCullough Peaks is a valuable example of a successful volunteer fertility control project working alongside a BLM field office and could be a great example of managing smaller numbers of horses on-range.