By Grace Kuhn, AWHPC, for One Green Planet
July 28, 2016
Colorado’s majestic mustangs are a fine match for the state’s breathtaking landscapes. They also provide a shining example of how wild horse management programs can work when government and people come together to protect these national treasures.
An antidote to the steady stream of bad news coming out of the national wild horse and burro program, the work of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Colorado is leading the way with community partnerships for humane management programs that are keeping wild horses wild and free.
BLM Colorado currently is using less traumatic bait trapping as a priority over helicopter roundups in most Colorado herd management areas and has minimized removals of wild horses from their homes on the range thanks to successful PZP fertility control programs. (The PZP vaccine, given to mares, prevents pregnancy while maintaining the horses’ natural behaviors.)
At Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range, BLM Grand Junction Field Office managers have greatly reduced removals by implementing a humane bait trapping and native PZP fertility-control program in conjunction with community advocacy group Friends of the Mustangs.
In the Spring Creek Basin herd management area, BLM Tres Rios Field Office managers have committed to conducting bait-trapping operations when needed instead of helicopter roundups. This goal was achieved thanks to a successful fertility-control and management program – also using native PZP – in conjunction with the Disappointment Wild Bunch Partners, which includes the National Mustang Association, Colorado Chapter, Four Corners Back Country Horsemen and Mesa Verde Back Country Horsemen. The last removal of wild horses from this HMA took place over five years ago, and no removals are on the horizon for Spring Creek Basin mustangs.
In Sand Wash Basin HMA, an active PZP fertility-control program implemented by BLM Little Snake Field Office managers in conjunction with the Sand Wash Advocate Team SWAT) is humanely reducing population growth rates in this popular herd while maintaining the horses’ natural free-roaming behaviors that are protected under federal law.
On August 4, the BLM Colorado will hold a public hearing on the use of motorized vehicles in the management of the state’s wild horses. This public hearing provides an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the BLM in Colorado for setting an example for the rest of the nation and demonstrating clearly that humane management of our wild horse and burro herds can and does work!
Please sign AWHPC’s petition to THANK BLM Colorado for its leadership in protecting mustangs. Your signatures will be hand delivered, along with a thank you card, at the meeting by Colorado wild horse advocates.
This is a chance to give credit where credit is due and support the BLM when it takes important steps in the right direction! Hopefully, the ongoing success of the humane management programs in Colorado will encourage other BLM districts across the West to implement similar programs.