Please act and write comments to the Bureau of Land Management by January 20th to save Cloud’s herds from another round of devastation. The Billings BLM is finally willing to accept emailed and faxed comments by 4:30 pm MST on January 20: (NEW DEADLINE!)
Mail: Jim Sparks, Field Manager
BLM Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101
The BLM is planning to remove at least 30 young horses from the Pryor Mountains in 2012, bringing the numbers of horses in the Pryor Mountain Herd down from 150 adults, which is the minimum number necessary for genetic viability, to 120 horses, despite a high death rate last year. The BLM is not even willing to see how the horses survive the winter before making this decision which will possibly remove Cloud’s beautiful grandson Echo, and many other young horses, such as Flint’s son Jasper and Adalena, named after Congressman Raul Grijalva’s granddaughter.
Here are some points that you can include in your emails or letters, courtesy of the Cloud Foundation – but please use your own words!
From The Cloud Foundation:
- Making decisions on a 30 horse removal now could put the Pryor Wild Horse Herd in jeopary of a die-off. Natural mortality in the winter of 2011-2012 is an unknown. The number of foals to be born and survive in 2012 is also unknown.
- The population of the Pryor Wild Horse Herd is currently stable with only 150 animals one year of age or older. According to Gus Cothran, PhD, the foremost equine geneticist in the U.S., “A census population size of 150-200 is required to achieve the minimum effective population size (usually 1/4 to 1/3 of the of the total population).” Currently, the Pryor population is at this bare minimum level.
- In 2011 there was no population growth. Births equaled deaths—18 births versus 18 deaths.
- Removing 30 young horses in one year alone is risky, unnecessary and threatens the genetic viability of the herd, diminishing their ability to survive into the future.
- We urge BLM to wait and see what winter brings as far as mortality, and what the foal crop looks like in August of 2012. Late summer would be the time to assess herd growth and health as well as range health and decide on whether removals are really necessary.
- No details have been provided in this EA regarding the disposition of young horses once they are caught, other than their transport to the Britton Springs corrals at the base of the mountain. What then? Where and when would the young horses be available for adoption? These details need to be revealed to the public.
- There are no criteria cited which ensure that young horses with narrow genetic representation in the herd, unique or underrepresented colors and markings, and rigorous physical characteristics (i.e. size, health) would be retained on the range. Consideration must be given to these removal criteria to ensure that the “best” are left on the range in order for the herd to perpetuate itself into the future.
- Urge BLM to adopt the No Action Alternative.
Thank you for speaking up for Cloud’s Herd.