Today is Giving Tuesday, a day designated to honor and support nonprofits on following Black Friday and Cyber Monday. American’s Wild Horse Families count on the Cloud Foundation, a recognized leader in the fight to protect and preserve them on our western public lands. Can we count on you?
ABOUT THE CLOUD FOUNDATION
The Cloud Foundation, is a Colorado 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, that grew out of Ginger Kathrens’ knowledge and fear for not only Cloud’s herd but other wild horses in the West. “I began to realize that we were losing America’s wild horses,” Ginger says. “They are rounded up by the thousand, losing in an instant what they value most–freedom and family. I realized that even Cloud and his family were in danger.”
Take Action to Preserve Wyoming’s Wild Horses!
BLM is planning another destructive roundup of Wyoming’s wild horses. This time the agency has set its sights on the Adobe Town and Salt Wells herds in the southwestern section of the state—some of the largest remaining in the West.
In addition, BLM plans to sell oil and gas development leases within the herd areas without any analysis as to how it will impact the wild horses.
For the second time in three years these two herds would be forced to endure a helicopter stampede. The reason? Livestock. The Rock Springs Grazing Association (RGSA) leases the private and public portions of the checkerboard lands (1 square mile public, 1 square mile private) along the I-80 corridor. RSGA filed a lawsuit last year demanding removal of all the wild horses in the checkerboard lands. This would result in wiping out the vast majority of Wyoming’s wild horses, including many Adobe Town horses and nearly all of the Salt Wells bands read more…
Dear Friends of Cloud, his family, and the Pryor herd;
Every trip to the spectacular Pryor Mountains is full of wonder, but no season holds the promise of discovery more than spring. A handful of new foals have been born and our friend and Pryor wild horse adopter (Cloud’s granddaughter Summer), Patty Hooker, sent us a picture of the latest foal to be born on the mountain, and it is an exciting one to be sure. Feldspar, who Cloud stole from Flint in December of 2010, gave birth to a colt this week, just in time for Mother’s Day! When we last saw Cloud’s family in April, Feldspar looked very pregnant.
This is just the fourth colt Cloud has sired. Of those, only Bolder survives, but he was raised by Shaman. I hope Cloud will be able to raise this little one, and that he will live his life in precious freedom. I can’t wait to see if he roans out. My bet is that he will. What do you think?
This weekend, we honor not only the Pryor mustang mothers, but moms everywhere–four-leggeds as well as two!
Below are a few Pryor photos to get you in the Mother’s Day spirit.
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...
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.
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
*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.
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!
Regular post letters can still be mailed to:
BLM Field Manager
Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101
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 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 email@example.com 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:
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.
The following is a copy of an email I received from The Cloud foundation.
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.
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.
The time is rapidly drawing to a close for you to be submit your letter to help prevent another removal in Cloud’s herd in 2012. I know you all care deeply for Cloud and his family, just as I do, and it is of vital importance that we all stand together to help the Pryor herd. It is therefore of the upmost importance that you submit a letter in your own writing to the BLM Billings Field Office postmarked by August 30th.
We’ve written our letter, which you can read here. I encourage you to take a look at it, and use it to help you with your own letter if you haven’t written yours already. You can also read over some talking points to help you get started. A reminder that BLM is not accepting emailed comments (we crashed their server last time!), so you can mail them yourself to the address below or you can email them to us firstname.lastname@example.org and we will mail them for you. You can also Fax your comments to (406) 896-5281. Although we are all frustrated that this unique little herd is continually being threatened, please remember to be polite.
I hope you will all take a moment to help Cloud and the Pryor herd. Thanks so much!
You can mail your letters to:
Jim Sparks, Field Manager
BLM Billings Field Office
5001 Southgate Drive
Billings, MT 59101
America’s Magnificent Mustangs
& the Fight to Preserve Them
A special Enrichment program class on wild horses with Emmy-award filmmaker and Cloud Foundation Director, Ginger Kathrens.
Join Ginger Kathrens at the University of Denver to learn more about the work to save America’s fast-disappearing wild horses, including Cloud, the palomino mustang and his Pryor Mountain herd made famous through Ginger’s multiple award-winning documentaries and books. Film clips and firsthand stories reveal a wild horse society full of drama, tenderness and complexity. Ginger will reveal the latest in horse evolution on our continent and the need to protect these returned-natives to the American West. Open to the public- $30 admission fee
Friday, Nov. 19, 2010 from 6:30-8:30 pm
Please pre-register by mid-day Friday or come a little early to register at the door.
Friday, Nov. 19th, 6:30pm – $30 class fee