Wild Horse Coalition Lauds BLM Pryor Mustang Management Program

Billings, MT (May 29, 2015)… Today, he American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) praised the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Billings, Montana field office for implementing a model management program for the popular mustangs of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range on the Montana/Wyoming border.

“The BLM is to be commended for ending cruel helicopter roundups in the Pryor Mountains and for utilizing a humane birth control vaccine as an alternative to the removal of wild horses from the range and administering it in a manner that keeps the horse families together respecting the importance of their social structure,” said Deniz Bolbol, director of field operations, American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign. “If you are a wild horse born in the Pryor Mountains, you should be able to live your life free in the Pryor Mountains and die in your home on the range. That is the goal this humane and sustainable management program is working toward.”

According to AWHPC, the BLM approach to managing the Pryor wild horses is a “model program” that is being replicated in a handful of other Herd Management Areas (HMAs) around the country, including in the McCullough Peaks HMA in Wyoming and the Onaqui HMA in Utah. The goal is to eliminate the removal of wild horses on the range and the use of humane, reversible fertility control to management population growth if necessary.

The BLM annually removes thousands of wild horses from the range in ten Western states and now warehouses more wild horses and burros in holding facilities than remain free in the wild. In June 2013, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) slammed the BLM’s “business as usual” to wild horse management as “expensive and unproductive for the BLM and the public it serves.” The NAS concluded that the BLM’s continued removal of wild horses from the range was actually fueling high population growth rates in the horses left behind and recommended using fertility control as a cost-effective and scientifically sound management tool.

Due to previous BLM-imposed restrictions (since lifted) on the age and number of mares that could be vaccinated with PZP, the fertility control program in the Pryor Mountains has not yet attained zero population growth. The agency is currently accepting public comments on a proposal to remove 25 wild horses from the herd. The wild horse population in the Pryor Mountains, a small range where livestock grazing is not permitted, is presently 160 horses, excluding this year’s foals.

AWHPC is joining with its coalition partner, The Cloud Foundation, to call on the BLM to restrict the number and ages of horses removed from the range. AWHPC’s action alert on the situation can be found here.

The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) is a coalition of more than 50 horse advocacy, public interest, and conservation organizations dedicated to preserving the American wild horse in viable, free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.