Tag Archives: BLM


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From The Cloud Foundation




Background. The Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR is a spectacular wilderness but a high percentage of the 39,651 acres is rocky and unproductive for grazing. The herd now exceeds 160 adult horses. Without range expansion which TCF actively pursues, there must be some limited removals to ensure that the range continues to support the herd. There are no livestock on the range. The BLM is seeking your comments on their proposal to remove “up to 25” young horses from the range starting this year.

Because BLM’s email system is inadequate to accept large volumes of correspondence they request that you send a snail mail letter. Please formulate a polite letter in your own words. Here are some points to make:
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The Cloud Foundation
The Cloud Foundation

Story is from The Cloud Foundation
5 April 2012

Major Removal Threatens Cloud’s Pryor Herd
BLM expands removal plan for young Pryor Mustangs

BILLINGS, Mont. (April 5, 2012)—Yesterday, BLM issued their Decision Record to permanently remove up to 40 young Pryor mustangs from their home in the mountains of southern Montana. The bait-trapping operation would begin no earlier than June 4th and could continue until September 30th.

“Surprisingly, the removal decision exceeds the level they outlined in their preliminary Environmental Assessment,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Regardless of the nearly 10,000 comments sent to BLM requesting they proceed with caution, BLM has significantly increased the number of young horses to be removed. So much for listening to the wishes of the American Public.” read more...

Action Alert: Arizona’s Burros Need Your Help

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Wild Burros
Wild Burros

Comments Needed for Cibola-Trigo Environmental Assessment

Dear Wild Horse & Burro Supporters;

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages wild burro herds at disastrously low numbers throughout the West. One of the few viable burro herds lives in the immense Cibola-Trigo Herd Management Area (HMA) in southwestern Arizona along the Colorado River—a 600,000 acre area.

Yet, even here, burros are in danger. The inept Sun J roundup crew is set to swoop into their peaceful desert home in early April, the height of the foaling time for burros.* Pregnant jennies are in danger of spontaneous abortion and small foals can be permanently damaged or killed.

350 burros will lose their freedom—roughly half the herd.

Even worse, the BLM plan calls for capturing and gelding 50 males and releasing them back to the range. Returning geldings into a reproducing wild herd would set a deadly precedent. There are no studies that measure the potential damage to a society of wild burros (or horses). From a behavioral standpoint, geldings have no role in either a wild horse or wild burro herd.

BLM rejects the use of dartable infertility drugs saying they have not been tested on wild burros, yet they opt for surgically sterilizing jack burros. In fact, PZP was successfully tested on the U.S. Virgin Islands wild burro herd in 1996.

BLM states in their EA “at no time should cryptorchid jacks be released back into an HMA.” The EA continues saying that they will be “shipped to a BLM facility for appropriate surgery or euthanasia (emphasis added) if it is determined they cannot be fully castrated.” If the jack is a full cryptrorchid (two undescended testicles), it is likely sterile, yet will display all the natural behaviors of an intact male. By allowing these jacks to remain on the range, BLM could avail themselves of a natural form of population control.

To justify removing half the burro herd, BLM cites a high adoption demand for burros. (If this reasoning holds true, then BLM should immediately cease the removal of any more wild horses from their homes on the range!)

Below are suggested points to make in your letters. Please use your own polite words.

Comments must be submitted by Tuesday, February 28th, no later than the close of business at 4:30 PM Mountain Time. If you feel like a little light bedtime reading, you can read the EA here.

Comments can be submitted via mail to:
John MacDonald, Field Manager
BLM Yuma Field Office
2555 E. Gila Ridge Rd
Yuma, AZ 85365

Or via email at: BLM_AZ_YM_WHB@blm.gov – with “Cibola-Trigo EA Comments” in the subject line.

Dear Sir;
Select the No Action Alternative
Conduct an accurate, current census using the most up-to-date technology
Consider other methods of population control (PZP)
Return cryptorchid jacks to the range as natural population control
Do not kill healthy burros for any reason
Consider capture methods other than a helicopter roundup (bait and water trapping)
Do not run small foals and pregnant jennies with a helicopter
Do not geld the jacks and do not release gelded jacks into the herd area
Do not threaten the social dynamics of a wild burro society by returning geldings to the range
Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement before taking the drastic sterilization actions outlined in this EA
Do not skew the sex ratio
Do not remove any elder animals
Do not use our tax dollars to conduct this costly roundup
[Your name]

*Burros are polyestrous and foal throughout the year in the American southwest, but the documented height of the foaling period is March and April according to international expert and CITES representative for asses, Patricia Moehlman.

Official Website of The Cloud Foundation

Help Protect the Pryor Wild Horses – BLM Now Accepting Email Comments

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Original email from the Cloud Foundation

2-year old Adelina, granddaughter of Blue Sioux & Red Raven
2-year old Adelina, granddaughter of Blue Sioux & Red Raven

Dear Cloud Friends;

The Billings BLM has decided to accept emails (BLM_MT_Billings_FO@blm.gov) and faxes (406-896-5281) for comments on their Preliminary Environmental Assessment (PEA) which calls for the permanent removal of 30 young horses (ages 1-3 years) from the Pryor Wild Horse Range during 2012. Comments are due by close of business (4:30 pm MST) January 6th.

The removal will bring the herd to the “Appropriate” Management Level of 120. This drastic plan is completely unacceptable and dangerous for the future survival of the Pryor Wild Horse Herd.

The herd currently numbers only 150 adults (one year and older), the bare minimum to maintain genetic viability.
In 2011, mortality equaled births which is exactly what BLM states as their goal for the herd.

The PEA includes an alternative (which was considered but not analyzed – why?): “This alternative consists of initially removing ten wild horses and re-assessing every year until the recruitment rate is equal to the natural mortality.” This is already the case! In 2011 mortality equaled recruitment (surviving foals).

Bottom line, it is dead wrong to remove any horses of any age before knowing how many foals are born in 2012, how many horses survive the winter, how many foals survive going into the fall, and the level of predation.

We urge you to write, email or fax (currently broken according to Billings BLM). Please encourage BLM to select the No Action Alternative.

Stand up for Cloud and the young horses of the Pryors, including Cloud’s look-alike grandson, Echo (Killian) and so many other youngsters who are the future of the herd. They deserve to live their lives in precious freedom!

Happy Trails!
Regular post letters can still be mailed to:
Jim Sparks
BLM Field Manager
Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101

Further confirmation:
I confirm that the Billings Field Office will accept electronically transmitted public comments, but definitely do encourage comments being mailed or hand delivered since malfunction of the electronic means when receiving a high volume of comments can lead to comments not being successfully received in their entirety. Thank you.
– Richard Hanes, Ph.D.
BLM Acting Assistant Director, Washington D.C.

The above article was copied verbatim, including photo (cropped) and punctuation.
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Action Alert: Your Help Needed to Protect the Pryor Mustangs BLM Sets Sights on Cloud’s Herd Once Again

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The following is an email I received from the cloud foundation.

Dear Cloud and Pryor Wild Horse Defenders;[sic]

The BLM is proposing another significant removal of wild horses on the Pryor Mountains. I know. Just when you thought it was safe… they’re back!

BLM’s recently released Environmental Assessment (EA) seeks to remove via bait trapping and potentially water trapping, 30 young Pryor mustangs, ages 1-3 years. Bait and/or water trapping could begin as early as mid-January. Comments are due by January 6, 2012. We urge you to comment and to support the NO Action Alternative, the only alternative that keeps a viable population of horses on the mountain.

Here are the points we feel you may want to mention in your remarks. Make sure to use your own words.

1) 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.
2) 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.
3) In 2011 there was no population growth. Births equaled deaths—18 births versus 18 deaths.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) 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.
7) 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.
8) Urge BLM to adopt the No Action Alternative.

We are encouraging you to speak up on behalf of this small, isolated, genetically unique, world-famous herd. BLM will not accept emailed comments but feel free to send your comments via email to info@thecloudfoundation.org and please put in the subject line, “Pryor EA comments.” We will print out your emails and mail them with our Foundation comments. Or you can send your letters directly to:

Jim Sparks
Field Manager
BLM Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101

Thanks for speaking out to ensure that the Pryor herd and Cloud’s family line will continue into the future! Stay tuned for an update on our latest visit.

Happy Trails!

Take Easy Action for Nevada Wild Horses: Submit your own comments for the Pancake Complex herds

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The following is a copy of an email I received from The Cloud foundation.

An old mare chased to exhaustion at the Antelope Complex roundup, January 2011
An old mare chased to exhaustion at the Antelope Complex roundup,
January 2011

Dear Wild Horse & Burro Supporters;

Nevada wild horse herds are on the chopping block in FY 2012 with roundups scheduled to begin in the dead-of-winter… again!

The Pancake Complex which includes the Sand Springs Herd Management Area HMA), Pancake HMA, Jakes Wash Herd Area (HA), and the Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory is an enormous 1.2 million acres in northeastern Nevada south of Ely. Helicopters are scheduled to swoop in, driving terrified wild horses for 10 miles or more in January—the coldest month of the year.

We’re asking that you submit comments in response to a truly shocking Environmental Assess (EA) that calls for the elimination of all wild horses in the Jakes Wash HA. In the remaining HMAs, 70% of the horses would be removed, PZP-22 would be given to any mares released back onto the range, and 200 stallions would be released back into the HMAs only after they have been gelded, operated on in either make-shift temporary corrals or in short-term holding facilities. Only 361 truly wild horses would be allowed to occupy 1.1 million acres (acreage without Jakes Wash) in addition to 200 neutered males who no longer qualify as wild horses as they no longer have any role to play in the once rich and complex society from which they came.

Comments must be submitted by Friday, October 28th, no later than the close of business at 4:30 PM Pacific Time. If you feel like a little light bedtime reading, you can read the EA here.

Comments can be submitted via mail at:
Pancake Complex EA Comments
BLM Ely District office
HC 33 Box 33500
Ely, NV 89301

Or via email at: PancakeComplex@blm.gov — with “Pancake Complex EA Comments” in the subject line.

REMEMBER: Please be sure to use your own words when writing your comments.

Dear Sir;

I do not support the removal of wild horses from the Pancake Complex. Allowing only 361 (and 200 geldings) to live on their legal wild horse areas, even though they roam over 1.2 million acres of public lands, is unfair to the mustangs still living free, and to those of us who enjoy seeing them in their natural environment in Nevada.

Gelding stallions and releasing them back into the HMAs violates your legal responsibility of managing for sustainable herds. No research exists on how this radical policy. Regardless, you threaten the social dynamics of wild horse society and ensure chaos and the eventual extinction of the herd.

Removing all the horses from Jakes Wash is illegal. They were legally designated by the Wild Horse and Burro Act to live in this area. How can you justify allowing privately owned cattle and sheep in this area, while calling for the elimination of every single wild horse?

Running wild horses with helicopters in the dead of winter is inhumane and dangerous. Over 140 horses died at this same time of year in the Calico round up of 2009-2010.

I ask that you issue an Environmental Impact Statement before taking the drastic actions outlined in this EA. And, in the meantime, I encourage you to select the No Action Alternative.

When you write your own letter, be sure to include some of the following points:
Increase the appropriate management levels (AMLs) and allocate a fair share of forage to wild horses over livestock.
Do not remove all wild horses from the Jakes Wash HA, it is a legally designated range as established in the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.

– Strongly urge BLM not to put back out geldings onto the range. The effects on herd dynamics has not been researched.
– Push for an accurate census using the most up to date technology, not the outdated aerial headcount used now[.]
– Do not conduct a helicopter removal during the winter. If removals are justified, opt for bait and water trapping.
– Consider predator management as a viable population growth. Work with the local fish & wildlife divisions to urge the reduction of hunting tags permitted for mountain lions.
– Point out that taxpayers could save over $535,000 in contractor fees as well as millions more from holding costs by not conducting this roundup!
– Allow for a truly genetically viable herd in each HMA, HA, and Wild Horse Territory with a 50/50 sex ratio.
– Reconsider the use of PZP-22, as it is an unvetted drug. Opt for the one-year drug.
– Protest the cruelty of removing older horses! Older horses are targeted for removal second only to animals under 4 years of age.
[Your name]

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Take Easy Action for WY Wild Horses

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Photo Carol Walker
Photo Carol Walker

“With roundup season starting up again, it is imperative, now more than ever, that we all raise our voices in support of our wild horses and burros. BLM is still soliciting comments for their planned roundup in Divide Basin, a larger herd in southern Wyoming near Rock Springs. We ask that you submit your own comments regarding the Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Divide Basin Herd Management Area (HMA). There are gross inadequacies and faulty data utilized in the scope of this EA which will come as no surprise. What is a bit more surprising is the rush to create a non-reproducing herd as an alternative, which is what they want to do to in White Mountain and Little Colorado! If a roundup is conducted this summer, the herd will be reduced to only 415 horses on over 700,000 acres with many of these horses being non-reproducers! The Cloud Foundation’s comments for this EA are available online here. Read on for a sample format!”

Comments need to be submitted by Monday, June 20th, no later than the close of business at 4:30 PM Mountain Time. Comments can be submitted via mail at:

Divide Basin EA Comments
BLM Rock Springs Field Office
280 Highway 191 North
Rock Springs, WY 82901

or via email at: DivideBasin_HMA_WY@blm.gov – With “Divide Basin EA Comments” in the subject line.

REMEMBER: Please be sure to use your own words when writing your comments!

Subject: White Mountain/Little Colorado Environmental Assessment Comments

Dear Sir;

I do not support the removal of horses from the Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas and encourage you to select the No Action Alternative. Concluding that only 415 horses can live on this legal Wild Horse Herd Management Area, even though they roam on over 778,000 acres of public lands is truly unacceptable and unfair to the mustangs still living free, and to those of us who would one day like to see them in their natural environment in Wyoming. The idea of including an Alternative that allows for this herd to become a non-reproducing population is also unacceptable as well as dangerous for the horses and costly for those of us who pay your salaries.

I ask that you issue a new EA containing up-to-date, factual, realistic statistics with no discrepancies in acreage, census data, and reproduction rates before making a decision.

When you write your own letter, be sure to include some of the following points:
Increase the appropriate management levels (AMLs) and allocate a fair share of forage to wild horses over livestock.
BLM needs to address the clearly erroneous data they present for population stats
BLM statistics for FY2009 report there were 498 horses in the HMA, and the EA maintains that after a survey in April 2010 that the population was 1,004. This would mean that every horse, including stallions, gave birth and no deaths occurred
Using their 20% reproduction rate, a more accurate number of horses in 2011 would be 862 animals, not their estimated 1,640
Strongly urge the BLM to eliminate ‘Alternative D,’which would allow every horse to be rounded up and those slated for release would be spayed or gelded, resulting in a dead-end herd that would die out over time – very costly and dangerous for the mares and stallions.
Consider predator management as a viable population growth
Point out that taxpayers could save almost $500,000 in contractor fees as well as millions more from holding costs by not conducting this roundup!
Allow for a truly genetically viable herd with a 50/50 sex ratio
Protest the cruelty of removing old horses!
[Your name]

The Cloud Foundation’s Official Website
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Story is from The Cloud Foundation

Calico Colt Photo by Carol Walker
Calico Colt Photo by Carol Walker

Help Us Stop the Tuscarora Roundup
Young foals will be run in high heat over rugged, rocky ground without public oversight

Please read the following press release and share with your local news station and any major news outlet you’d like to cover this story- this is yet another example of the cruel mismanagement of the BLM and it is unacceptable. Call on your Senators to pass your concerns onto Senators Reid and Ensign of Nevada. Thank you.

BLM Helicopter Roundup To Begin Despite Presence of Vulnerable Young Foals

BLM violates protocol designed to protect wild horse babies
Elko, NV (July 8, 2010)— Over 1,400 federally-protected wild mustangs are to be rounded up beginning tomorrow, July 9, in the Tuscarora area of Elko County Nevada during the hottest month of the year. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is violating their own set-protocol for waiting six weeks after the main foaling season, defined as March 1-June 30, so that young foals can escape the inherent danger of a high-heat summer roundup. BLM will dispatch privately contracted choppers to run the Tuscarora mustangs over miles of rugged terrain in a taxpayer-funded roundup expected to last three weeks and result in the removal of some 1,100 mustangs. Only last month, Oregon BLM wild horse managers postponed a planned roundup that would have started the day after foaling season—opting to begin instead in mid-August for the horses’ safety.

“If allowed to go forward this will be a massacre,” states Anne-Marie Pinter who rode the Pony Express Race through the area on her Spanish Mustang and saw small foals. “It is covered with razor-sharp, volcanic rock that will rip up the feet of these poor foals. Before riding the area, our event veterinarian strongly recommended that we put thick rubber boots over the metal shoes of our horses—the rocks are that treacherous. We experienced triple digit temperatures and had to constantly work at keeping our horses hydrated. I can’t even imagine the toll on terrified small foals and even the adult animals at the hottest time of the year. This amounts to horrible animal cruelty and no one will know what is going on because BLM has closed the area, even the roads.”

Last winter, during the deadliest BLM roundup in memory in the Calico Mountains of Northwestern Nevada, at least two 6-9 month foals suffered a horrible death. Their hooves literally separated from their leg bones after running over similar terrain. Yet, BLM justified the dead-of-winter roundup by stating in their Environment Assessment: “Fall and winter time-frames are much less stressful to foals than summer gathers. Not only are young foals in summer months more prone to dehydration and complications from heat stress, the handling, sorting and transport is a stress to the young animals and increases the chance for them to be rejected by their mothers. By gathering wild horses during the winter, stress associated with summer gathers can be avoided.”

BLM photo of Calico Roundup by Kurt Golgart
BLM photo of Calico Roundup by Kurt Golgart

“Let’s be honest. What is driving these roundups has very little to do with concern for vulnerable foals and everything to do with contractor availability and using up taxpayer money before the end of fiscal year 2010,” states Cloud Foundation Director, Ginger Kathrens, who has spent over 16 years documenting the lives of wild horse families. “With only two helicopter contractors available to round up the horses, scheduling becomes tricky, especially when the goal is the removal of 6,000 wild horses before the end of September. So, the rush to rid the land of mustangs trumps humane treatment. Disgusting.”

The Cloud Foundation is asking that humane observers and the public be allowed to document the roundup and any injuries and deaths which occur. Currently BLM has arranged for a near total lockdown of roundup activities, including a widespread closure of public roads around the area. Access will be extremely limited despite promises made by top BLM officials to the contrary.

“Having a ‘media day’ during the operation is certainly not the same as having humane observers on site at all times during the operation,” says Elyse Gardner, who has documented the Pryor and Calico roundups. “A sanitized version of BLM activities is not transparency in dealing with the public’s horses. If anything, rather than transparency, BLM is closing the door on public observation because of what our cameras have already revealed about these roundups.”

Tuscarora horses including young foals, photo by Craig Downer, June 2010
Tuscarora horses including young foals, photo by Craig Downer, June 2010

If allowed to proceed, the Tuscarora roundup will decimate three herds, Owyhee, Little Humboldt and Rock Creek, living in a vast 455,000-acre area about 90 miles northwest of Elko, Nevada. Over 4,000 cattle are allowed to graze on the Tuscarora designated wild horse herd management area while only 337-561 mustangs are welcome. In 1990 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) Report underscored that wild horse removals did not significantly improve range conditions and pointed to cattle as the culprit for public lands damage. Despite GAO noting the lack of data provided by BLM back 20 years ago, the public has seen no improvement in the piecemeal management of an agency that favors welfare cattle over legally protected mustangs and burros. Herd areas containing 10 to 30 times more livestock than horses are the norm rather than the exception.

“Damage to livestock fences is cited as a reason to remove the horses in Tuscarora. Give me a break,” states Craig Downer, wildlife ecologist, former BLM employee, and 3rd generation Nevadan. “How about removing the fences, reducing the number of cattle and starting to manage wild horses as principal members of their ecosystems, as well as celebrated symbols of the American West? BLM’s habit of operating behind a veil of enforced secrecy is completely unacceptable.”

The Cloud Foundation opposes the further manipulation of the Tuscarora mustangs through the use of experimental infertility drugs in combination with skewed sex ratios. The result will be increased turmoil among the highly social wild horse family bands. Given the disastrous management and the lack of accurate range censuses and the presence of over 37,000 wild horses in government holding at enormous taxpayer expense, advocates continue to call for an immediate freeze on the costly roundups. Congressional hearings are needed to discuss the shortcomings of an out-of-control program that threaten the future existence of wild horses and burros on lands set aside for their use.

“BLM has responded with its classic bunker mentality, abandoning any transparency efforts and placing at risk the lives of these small foals that have never even had a chance at life with their families,” states Kathrens. “We pray that BLM will show some compassion and ground the helicopters. With all the uncontrollable disasters in the world, why is BLM determined to create one in Tuscarora?”

Click here for The Cloud Foundation’s Press Release for this story

The Cloud Foundation’s Official Website

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