The BLM is planning to roundup wild horses in the Adobe Town Herd Management Area in 5 separate locations in order to put radio collars on 30-40 wild mares. The study will begin in December 2016 and end in 2020.
All the documents are here: https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/planAndProjectSite.do?methodName=dispatchToPatternPage¤tPageId=80504
This study, which will be conducted by the University of Wyoming’s Department of Ecosystem Science and Management has the following purpose:
“The Proposed Action is to implement a five (5) year research study (Appendix 1) that would document habitat selection, movement between habitats, seasonal use, and migration patterns of wild horses, within and outside of the ATHMA. The research objective is to understand how horses move across the Colorado-Wyoming border, how the removal of horses from the checkerboard portion of the HMA influences the movement of mares from non-checkerboard portions of ATHMA (i.e. creation of a void), how horses select landscape resources relative to their proportional availability, and how site fidelity of horses is influenced by season.”
Originally they were considering using bait trapping to capture the mares which would have much less chance of injuring or killing the horses than a helicopter roundup. They do not even discuss it as an option in the EA despite the response to the public’ comments to the Scoping Document which requested them to use this much less stressful and harmful method. Bait trapping also allows the family bands to be kept together, intact, much more easily.
The BLM dismisses very easily any impact on the wild horses that are rounded up using helicopters. Many will be injured and die, most will lose their families, foals will be separated from their mothers, and they will most likely be disrupted in a very substantial way from their normal areas and routines which DOES impact the outcomes of the study. Helicopter roundups use fear to drive the wild horses which is inhumane and also leads to extreme fear of helicopters.
This herd is not even above AML by the BLM’s own count, only 648 adult horses in the flyover count in April 2016.
My second biggest problem with this study is the use of radio collars which in past studies have led to injury and death when horses become entangled with brush or on fences or get a hoof caught. They say that they have remotely detonated release mechanisms on the collars so they can release the collar if the collar stops moving – but there are a tremendous number of questions that are unanswered:
(They cite testing the collars at a short term holding facility, Palomino Valley. This is a completely different situation than the horses will face in the wild. Horses are not in families in holding facilities and there are not brush and fencing to get hung up on).
For all of these unanswered questions and because wild horses have been injured and died because of radio collars in previous studies: https://www.nap.edu/read/18466/chapter/5 I again suggest that they do NOT use radio collars but instead use Interns to follow, track, observe and photograph horses from specific areas.
This would remove the need for a helicopter roundup, which would provide far less stress and injury on the horses, and if would also provide more accurate data from people on the ground. Ten horses in Adobe Town are very colorful, and easily distinguished, so it would not be impossible to follow specific horses. It does not matter than some horses are less easy to find and see because if they have a few horses from each area, it does not matter which horses are less easily observed. If you round them up by helicopter this will be a complete disruption to the horses’ families and movement patterns. If you observe them without rounding them up you will obtain much more accurate data on where the horses are and move to.
My final argument is that this study is in no way, shape or form in the best interests of the horses. The researchers are seeking to prove that wild horses will “move into a void” created by rounding up and removing horses from the Checkerboard, so they can “prove” that it impossible to remove horses from the Checkerboard and keep them out. They are also hoping to “prove” that wild horses degrade riparian areas. There is no attempt to account for livestock grazing. They do not care about wild horse behavior or band fidelity, or they would use human observers. This cruel and dangerous study which is slanted toward proving that wild horses have no place on the HMAs in the Checkerboard should not be allowed to move forward. Since BLM has now formally withdrawn the 2016 Checkerboard Removal Decision Record – which was not the case at the time it issued the Draft EA – BLM should not move forward with the radio collar research because a major underlying premise (that 500+ wild horses would be removed from the Checkerboard before the radio collar research began) has now been eliminated. In other words, the entire purpose behind this roundup was to see how horses move in response to a Checkerboard roundup; since there will be no Checkerboard roundup, there is no legal basis for the radio collar research as currently described in the Draft EA.
Please select alternative 2.2 No Action
This study is poorly conceived and planned and does NOT take the well being and humane treatment of the wild horses involved into proper consideration. This is not managing wild horses in the least invasive way possible, as they are mandated by the 1971 Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. They should spend the next few months revising the study and if then they do decide to move forward they should use another capture method, which is bait trapping which they said they would discuss in the EA but failed to do. It is far more humane and will result in many less injuries and deaths. They should come up with a new EA including Bait Trapping or no rounding up at all but using direct observation as alternatives. And they should use a newer, safer technology if they do wish to proceed with tracking the horses and eliminate the proposed use of radio collars.
The earliest they could start this roundup is December. They should not do it in December – it can get very cold, the horses are at greater risk of colic and injury when run in extremely cold temperatures. They should wait until next year in late summer or fall and address the questions that I have listed about the study and issue a new EA.
Please send your comments to the BLM here by November 1, 2016 at 4pm Mountain Time:
Wild Horse and Burro Specialist
Bureau of Land Management
Wyoming High Desert District
Rawlins Field Office
1300 North Third Street
P.O. Box 2407
Rawlins, Wyoming 82301
Fax: (307) 324-4224
Electronic comments must be sent to the following email address to be considered:
(Please include “Adobe Town EA Comment” in the subject line.)
From the BLM: Public comments are most helpful if they are specific. The regulations (40 CFR 1503.3), state that comments on a proposed action ‘ shall be as specific as possible and may address either the adequacy of the statement or the merits of the alternatives discussed or both.” The most valuable comments are those that cite specific actions or impacts in the document and offer informed analysis of what is presented.
Also, pleased do send personalized comments in your own words. The BLM will count all of the form letter comments as one, which is not helpful for the horses.
Are YOU KIDDING ME?!? These people JUST WON’T STOP THEIR HELLISH BEHAVIOR!! Throw the BLM team out on their ______!!! They’re not fit to PROTECT (I repeat….PROTECT)these innocent creatures.
The BLM needs to stop this!
Dear Ms. Walker,
With the way the BLM discounts our opinion do you think it better to take this in writing to the senator of Wyoming?
From past information they don’t even read our letters of disapproval.
So I’m thinking who’s there boss? Not their immediate boss, but state boss. Flood that person with letters and emails.
We only have about 6 weeks to make the BLM listen this may be faster. What do you think?
Robin Del Grosso
Please leave these Wild Horses alone this study will not benefit them in any way and is dangerous
Hey, the email, which I copied and pasted is not a legit email. cannot send a message. WHAT IS UP ?
Hi Linda. Somehow there were extra spaces when I copied what was in the BLM Scoping letter – this should work:
BLM’s approach to this “study” is profoundly irresponsible as it appears they choose to ignore very valid and serious concerns regarding the positive welfare of Adobe Town wild horses. Clearly BLM has an “agenda” at hand that is driving the dangerous and harmful nature of the actions to be perpetrated on these beautiful wild horses. As a tax-paying citizen of the United States, I DO NOT WANT our wild horses abused to serve the greedy ranchers who have influence over the BLM.
The BLM should not do any helicopter roundups in December it is inhumane is too cold and the horses are at risk of injury and colic. This is not Humane and adequate treatment of are wild horses and it does NOT uphold the 1971 free roaming wild horse and burro act.
The use of breakaway collars would be more humane.
Please start to work with the wild horse advocates instead of against them. They follow and understand the actions and movements of wild horses and their herds. Many lawsuits would be avoided and the inhumanity would stop. The BLM should be an organization that is respected not hated. We all keep talking about Americans sticking together. What better example could we set than to aid the wild horses together.
This is a poorly conceived and designed study that will most assuredly harm wild horses and fail to provide valid results. Please do not move forward with this proposed study.
They need to leave our wild horses and all the rest alone!!…… Almost everything that they’ve done in the past decade has been wrong!
Radio collars are dangerous and so are helicopter roundups. If the purpose of the radio collars is to study the horses movements preceding a roundup and the roundup has been cancelled then there is no reason to collar horses.
Everything about this is wrong. The plan is half baked and not taking into consideration the well being of the horses. Round ups are cruel year round but particularly hard in winter. The use of radio collars on horses is a terrible idea. Please go back and come up with a better plan.
The BLM needs to protect our Wild Horses instead of terrorizing, removing and destroying them. In addition, the BLM is costing the US citizens millions a year to cozy-up with the many rancher/cattlemen associations and, at their behest, alter, warehouse and eventually eliminate our beautiful Wild Horses. The US was build on the back of our horses and then citizenry is not going to let this BLM shame continue any longer.
To the BLM: Uphold the law and stop “managing” our herds to death. Otherwise, there are plenty of professionals in the private sector who are willing to step-up and maintain our herds.
Brenda Love Bennett
Boulder, CO USA
PLEASE PROTECT THESE BEINGS. THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO LIVE. PRAYING FOR YOU TO HAVE COMPASSION.
Why are they hurting , killing and abusing horses? Now studies? Wild animals need their freedom. They need real stiff laws that people can not hurt or use or kill .
This brings me to tears and heart is shattered . I think of these poor horses and other animals that become victims in peoples evilness !! This is going on everyday and I am broken !!
Why can’t you guys,, eave the wild horses alone. What the hell is wrong with just letting them live free with your constant instrusion???
I am just a bystander. I live in Pa. So, i know nothing about the specific horses or the area. I just think that so much of our natural resources have been lost over the years. I thi k we have been charged with caring for these beautiful historical animals. I thin k we have to care for them. Period. I also think it should be a. national conversation. I think more news coverage is in order.
[…] by Carol Walker, Director of Field Documentation for Wild Horse Freedom Federation Published on WildHoofBeats […]
The email address to copy and paste into an email does not work as is. Do the under score lines need removed?
It actually does work. You can manually type it into your browser. Yes those are underscore lines and they need to be there. Or use this:
No – there were extra spaces there when I copied it from the BLM Scoping letter – try this:
Please do not do this collar study. It is not natural. stop it!
ES IMPERDONABLE Y UNA DESGRACIA VER CÓMO EL SER HUMANO ES TAN INTRUSO Y DESTRUCTIVO, BLM ES UNA VERGÜENZA, UNA PENA QUE SÓLO VEA NEGOCIO Y COMERCIO EN LOS CABALLOS Y BURROS SALVAJES. DETENGAN SUS CRÍMENES EN SERIE, DETENGAN LA CRUELDAD Y EL SINIESTRO ABUSO DE ESTAS INCREÍBLES ESPECIES. NO TOLERAMOS MÁS SUS MÉTODOS ARCAICOS Y PRIMITIVOS, SÁDICOS DE ESTERILIZACIÓN, NO QUEREMOS QUE QUITEN Y SECUESTREN A LOS CABALLOS Y BURROS QUE HAN NACIDO LIBRES, NO INVADAN NI ROBEN LAS TIERRAS DE ESTOS ANIMALES. NO MÁS VENTA DE PIELES NI CARNE DE CABALLO NI BURRO, NO MÁS TIERRAS ROBADAS PARA LOS RANCHEROS. SIMPLEMENTE EXIGIMOS QUE DEJEN EN PAZ Y EN ABSOLUTA LIBERTAD A LOS CABALLOS Y LOS BURROS. NO MÁS ATROPELLOS, Y QUEREMOS LEYES URGENTES QUE LOS PROTEJAN DE FORMA DETERMINANTE. ALTO AL BLM!!!!!!
Because the court said the blm count numbers were wrong? Now we need to spend tax dollars to police the blm? Get rid of them! They are an unnecessary burden to tax payers. I want this money used for school lunch programs!
Hopefully all of the above comments were emailed to the BLM!
Yes, please send your comments here: firstname.lastname@example.org
Did send my comments to the BLM & also a copy to University of Wyoming’s Dept of Ecosystem Science & Management!
At the time of the Oregon University’s “project’ – I remember many of us sent emails to them, too. Might not be a bad idea to do that this time.
Thank you Maggie!
Carol – this is my comment AND I got a very short reply from the professor at the University!
Thank you for your email and comments.
Scott N Miller
Professor and Head
Ecosystem Science and Management
University of Wyoming
> On Oct 30, 2016, at 12:23 PM, Maggie Frazier wrote:
>> —–Original Message—–
> From: Maggie [mailto:Mfrazier74@hotmail.com]
> Sent: Sunday, October 30, 2016 2:19 PM
> To: email@example.com
> Cc: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: Adobe Town Wild Mare Radio Collar Study
> I am addressing this to both the BLM and the University of Wyoming’s Dept.
> of Ecosystem Science & Management>
> This seems too much like the previous “study” that was gifted to the Oregon
> University back in last January when the BLM wanted to experiment with the spaying of wild > mares!
Once again,> We “step into the breech” so to speak. NOW the BLM and the Wyoming
> Department of Agriculture(Of course, no connection to RSGA there) using the University of Wyoming’s > Dept. of Ecosystem Science & Management – wants to see what happens when you put a foreign object on a wild animal & turn it loose! Back in the mid to late 1980s – this experiment was done and judging from the injuries and deaths of wild horses, no one took into account that when you put a restrictive collar on a YOUNG wild horse – obviously that horse will grow larger! Apparently – someone paid attention to that issue – since no mare under the age of 5 will be collared this time. Which brings up another question – exactly how will you learn the age of these mares? By the size or is this going to be another guesstimate? Checking teeth wouldn’t be a sure way, considering that these animals are WILD!
> It’s one thing to do this to CAPTIVE wild animals, yet another to turn them
> back out into the wild with relatively NO oversight. So, yes I do have some
> No. 1 Breakaway collars have been used before – why not this time?
> No. 2 Does the person who supposedly is monitoring these collars have to be within sight of the horse?
> No. 3 If so, what happens in the winter or in bad weather?
> No. 4 If unable to drive in – will there be a chartered helicopter
> available & if so – exactly how will any wild horse (who has already been exposed to roundup by helicopter) react when they come close?
> In the previous study – this caused far too many foals to be orphaned – by separating them from the mares! This problem certainly will skew this “study”!
> No. 5 Will colder temperatures affect the drop off of a collar?
> No. 6 If the remote release fails – what next?
> No. 7 When mares are returned to their families – how do the other horses
> react to this device?
> No. 8 How often are the collars monitored? Daily, weekly, MONTHLY???
> No. 9 Since the horses are being rounded up & held – in order to put
> collars on – why not just use a small GPS under the skin? If its true (which I doubt) that the main issue is NOT to cause the horses any more undue stress – seems this should have been a possibility.
> There are so many more questions about the experimental nature of this whole
> debacle. For instance, when a collar’s release remotely “detonates” – exactly how
> does this affect the horse?
> Since the whole idea of using collars seems to mainly be because “the area
> is so large & there would be no way for volunteers or interns to physically view the horses” – exactly how are the people monitoring these animals going to get to them if there is a problem – for instance – a horse getting their foot caught in the collar – becoming entangled in wire or brush, etc.
> AND – exactly how will these monitors be aware of a collar rubbing or
> irritating the horse’s skin – without “viewing” the horses closely? In the previous study – there were many instances of the collar causing infection or sliding up in front of the ears – possibly causing problems with vision!
> Having read much of the information available on this experimental project –
> I am saddened that this University has become involved in the BLM’s AND the Wyoming Dept. of Agriculture’s latest attempt to create yet another diversion in the war against our Wild Horses & Burros.
> Once again – blaming all of the range devastation on the shoulders of these
> animals that have never done anything but help humans for hundreds of years. The fact that in no “study” or “report” was there the opportunity to bring up the horrible damage that livestock grazing has done to OUR Public lands tell it all: the BLM and the livestock corporations all KNOW where the actual blame lies – on their own shoulders!
> Obviously – the actual common sense answer to the wild horse & burro> “problem” is not management but providing HMAs and/or HAs for the PRINCIPAL animal residing there – with NO grazing allotments allowed!
> Maggie Frazier
> 134 Dunbar Rd
> Windsor, NY 13865-1318
Thank you Maggie for commenting!
Just sent my comments by e-mail to Adobe Town EA comments. I hope with all my heart they stop this madness.
Thank you everyone who commented!
It is quite pointless to talk to the BLM or the University regarding the wild horses and burros. This is charade they don’t care about the input from the public they want the land free of all wild horses and burros to allow for Oil companies and ranchers to use the land. They have no interest in these animals they are going through the motions of ‘counting the numbers’ with no accuracy, ‘scientific testing’ with collars, separating the herds, traumatizing the animals, sterilization the mares,
if they were interested in the welfare of these animals they would never suggest any of these methods. It is a known fact that these animals have their own birth control methods, the BLM and other interested parties are to blame for cruelty that has been inflicted on these innocent animals. To all of you conducting your ‘studies’ were you born with no moral compass? Ethics obviously not. I have no idea how you can look at yourself in the mirror – what is looking back?
Please do not use these collars! Do not round them up by helicopters! Leave the wild horses alone. No more round ups! No collars!
What is wrong with BLM and the University? Do they not care at all about the wild horses? I would love to be able to see these horses in their natural habitat, and for my grandchildren to see them. At the rate BLM is going, there won’t be any wild horses left to see. STOP!!!!!!
Why was the bait trapping dismissed? I can’t understand why there is any agency like BLM? They don’t stand for what they were formed for…A new idea to manage our wild horses & burros is to maybe assign some party or group (not politically involved) to find the best interests for animals & humans.
It was not dismissed – they were going to do it unless it “failed, then they were going to do Helicopter roundup after Feb. 10.