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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Why the Suspicions in terms of Mustang Mismanagement?

While I am one of those who usually sees the "glass as half full", many of those who know me, ask why the government suspicion regarding the recent escalated roundups, and where did it originate from? I believe it was in 2005 following the Burns Ammendment (2004) without any public notice or review, 30 years of the wild horse act was ammended. It escalated in my mind when I followed the Sheldon-Hart Mt. Complex on a controversial wild horse gather. I am not a range ecologist, but I spend a lot of time and thought on wild horses, wildlife, and the natural rangelands, and came across these photos as provided by US Fish & Wildlife Service to justify removal of wild horses.

Again, not being a rangeland ecologist, but I am highly aware of my natural surroundings. Look carefully on these two photos, provided by the US National Wildlifethe first one is labeled BEFORE Horse Gather 2004, the second as AFTER Horse gather 2005 " one year later", showing that the riperian area improved following the removal.

Pay close attention to the yellow flowering rabbitbrush and the 'greyed'-mature sagebrush. Those indicate the time of year to be late late summer/fall (where land typically looks dry anyway). In the second lower photo, they said it was the same time of year (one year later... following horse removal), that "riperian conditions improved". However, from my own field knowledge/experience in the high desert, and researching flowering times for Rabbitbrush, the second photo, if you'll notice the rabbitbrush is merely in the immature budding phase, and the sage has tender young bluish-silver tender new-growth. This photo indicates roughly the time frame to be 'approximately' May. (want to know more? Does this appear misleading?

I have contacted them with all my questions and my concern of possibly misleading the public along with my relevant OSU and range ecology references, but my comments/concerns were ignored. Was this an oversight/error on their part? I truly hope so. But from what I've been finding, my suspicions grow... So I continue my endeavor to help protect OUR mustangs in my own small way.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Mustangs and the "Land of the Lost"

This was my reply to some anti-mustang people on a facebook "Save the Wild Horses" group:

Here I go again (I know all my buddies on here are rolling their eyes... LOLL). It would save me a lot of time and a sore hiney sitting here, if people would go back and read what's already been said PRIOR to trying to make friends. But no problem, bc it's "just" for our last frontier here in N. America and mustangs... and I suppose there are always new people who come aboard in need of an education, so I'll take another deep breath and put in my poker chips.

Some of your points are valid, however please read in full (click on the link provided) about the ancestry posted earlier, line by line... and word for word, and you will have a clearer understanding about that topic. And along with that, MANY species during that period, were whiped out or effected in some way, along with the horse here in N. America. BUT NOT bc the continent couldn't support them, but bc of environmental factors....the last ice age (and ironically, quite possibly due to early man). But ancestry is just a part of what's at stake.

Yes, you're correct in stating there's a bigger picture. THE bigger picture is the CORRELATION between losing 40-50% of our wild horses since year 2000 & the fact that 19 MILLION acres of the original 49 MILLION -and- PUBLIC acres (originally set aside for wild horse management) is also gone. ... See More

By someone NOT wanting these horses protected (here in our west), IS AS GOOD AS SAYING they WANT our wide open spaces DEVELOPED. Bottom line people. Besides all the "wittle horsies", why do you think this is so important? Why else am I sitting here, instead of breaking up my own children's arguments, or helping them with their homework?

American mustangs... with EVEN MINIMAL PROTECTION (ie, 1971 Act), "LOCK UP" the wild public lands from development. Is anyone finally getting it????? Don't turn at eachother, face those yanking your chain, and making a buck at it!

WHERE has the 19 MILLION of OUR public ACRES gone? Besides some allocated to private cattle, that land was SOLD OFF, or TRADED with other gov't agencies. Like I originally said, to pay some 'big bills' (note: our economy is in crisis). THAT's where the true hostility should be. So yes, Holly, thank you for pointing that out, there IS a bigger picture. The mustangs are important, but there even something greater at stake.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Educating Some Anti-Mustang People...

This was my latest response and attempt to educate a couple loose cannons with bad attitudes about our wild horses on the "Save the Wild Mustangs" group:

I know a few of the responders on here. While I hail those who work tirelessly for our mustangs, at the same time I breathe a heavy sigh as it's painfully apparent that there are others where information from previous discussions hasn't been fully grasped and intellectualized, but rather passed silently over the tops of hairlines. I also see that some still haven't learned their manners. It's advised that if one wants to make a point, to avoid rude remarks or name calling, as subsequent comments will hold no merit bc it becomes apparent that those off-color remarks are merely fillers when there is no substantial thought to make an attempted point.

With that said, the common thread to this issue is the federal government and it's need for our lands. Ranchers are not the culprits, they feed our nations and other countries. Nor are the local/regional BLM personnel rounding these horses up, they're just following orders and doing their jobs. Our ranchers are essential and a good way to also utilize our public lands through leasing, and as an added benefit, the cattle are an excellent measure to the health of the rangelands enjoyed by all... private livestock or wildlife. But one must not lose sight of the fact that these lands were set aside for our wild horses, and for the American people. For the ranchers, I would like to see the government reduce the lease per head where there are wild horses sharing the same ranges. With money talking instead of 'smokescreeners', ranchers will be happier to share their borrowed land.

Again, this is not a wild horse and cattle war, my next remarks are to point out some false statements by head officials justifying escalated roundups, even zeroing out many herds across the west. As most of you know by now, cattle to wild horse ratio is 200:1 and there's been approval of cattle grazing by up to 300% on some of the rangelands also shared with our mustangs, (current ratio soon to be outdated). This approval to increase cattle grazing by 300% occured shortly after Ken Salazar deemed the removal of our wild horses as necessary bc "they are starving", and the lands were too poor to sustain them. Have any of you seen a herd of the many millions of cattle 'a bag on bones' on these same rangelands? I'm all over the high deserts of SE Oregon, and not a one. I look high and low for wild horses and often come up short but bump into a bovine around any given rimrock. Simply propaganda on the federal level.

Management is necessary, but the wild horse act needs to be changed before our wild horses are managed to extinction. Once a horse is born wild, it IS wild (I don't even need to go into the DNA, as it's all over the place and a fact they're a native species). These hundreds of generations of mustangs since the RE-introduction of our native species have adapted genetically and behaviorally to fit the high desert environment. Management is necessary but must be done at the least invasive level. It must comprise of a united coalition including an expert wild horse group, ranchers, government BLM, with unbiased annual range analysis by a third party. Also as previously mentioned, reduced lease per head for the cattle ranchers to keep them happy, and inturn advocating for the mustangs. Mustangs will need to be culled, but only to the amount of adoptions or other programs available rather than utilizing American taxpayers to flip millions to roundup/feed/vet our 33,000 CAPTURED and retained mustangs in holding facilities, when they cost nothing in the wild. The BLM even suggested euthanizing these horses, and there's also a current effort to bypass our laws and as a "work around" ship them 'live' overseas to fine restaurants. We will soon have a mere 25,000 horses left roaming our west in small bands in several western states, and dwindling at about 12,000 per year (current assessment for 2010). The BLM stats of roundups are public record... why are there herds being permanently zeroed out?

The government needs to pay it's big bills aka the deficit, and they're struggling to stay above water, which makes this country vulnerable to buy-outs of property and land by other countries. Funny how since year 2000 we've lost 40% of our protected mustangs (that's more then a healthy culling), and funny how we've also lost 19 MILLION acres of OUR public lands (originally 49 million was allotted for mustang management. It doesn't take much cerebral energy to see a CORRELATION. THAT'S why I am always saying "With every roundup, our west is less wild" bc it's more than the mustangs now, it's also about the last of our wide open spaces, our "wild west". You see, our "protected" wild horses, simply by residing on these public (ours, your and mine) rangelands, are PROTECTING those very same lands simply by being there. I'm hoping the bigger picture is now in view.

Another sobering thought.... our mustangs are so MISmanaged, that by simply human shallow "tastes", like a breeding program selecting (what nature does best) which horses are to be culled or left... will undoubtedly result in a bunch of 'show ponies' with genetic flaws... instead of wild horses shaped by the environment to survive best. I study wild horses, and I appreciate watching the NATURAL mustangs resulting from NATURAL selection, not human fads.

Bridger, I think even you appreciate our western heritage and our wide open spaces to hunt on.... truly, the high desert basin and other areas where wild horses roam are the last frontier, but if everyone idly sits by scratching beneath their ballcaps...they'll no longer be there.

I don't know of many people who would like stripmalls in place of the last open wild lands, and it's equivalent... where there are NO MORE MUSTANGS. THAT's what IS happening here... the federal government will be moving mustangs to artificial preserves in the east, and off our wild rangelands in the west. Now, can anyone guess why?

"Together THEY stand. Divided THEY fall"
~aka Mustang Meg

Group this information was in ‘Save the Wild Mustangs’ January 3rd, 2010