Monday, January 4, 2010

BLM announces yet another wild horse roundup

Carrol Abel

Public comments on the Eagle roundup will be accepted until January 27!

Amid mounting protest and the legal wranglings of the highly controversial Calico Complex roundup, Bureau of Land Management officials  have chosen to announce yet another roundup of wild horses to take place in February of this year. A Preliminary Environmental Assessment of the Eagle Herd Management Area capture plan along the Nevada/Utah border targets 545 wild horses for capture and removal.  Fifty will be removed from private lands.  An additional 92 horses will be removed from two adjacent Utah Herd Management Areas (HMA's) in the process.
The reason stated as need for the roundup repeats the BLM mantra of "thriving natural ecological balance" though there seems to be no one who can truly define the term.
The remaining population of 100 animals appears to confirm wild horse advocate concerns about genetic viability of  America's wild horse herds.  Past explanations by BLM personnel point to migrating patterns that bring about the mingling of horses from different HMA's as a factor in maintaining herd viability.  The two adjacent Utah HMA's will be left with populations of 15 and 30 wild horses.  A genetic pool of 145 animals raises a red flag  in the scientific community.
This topic is of particular relevance to the Wild Horse and Burro Program because the majority of wild equid populations managed by the BLM are kept at population sizes that are small enough for the loss of genetic variation to be a real concern.  Because a loss of genetic variability can lead to a reduction in fertility or viability of individuals in a population, it is critical that genetic considerations be included in management plans for wild equid populations.  -  "Genetic Variation in Horse Populations" E. Gus Cothran, PhD, Department of Veterinary Science, University of Kentucky
Genetic viability is no longer an issue in HMA's that have had the horses removed altogether.  The BLM does not deny the practice of "zeroing out" wild horse herds.  As of March of last year BLM website pages  admit to 15 such HMA's in Nevada alone.  Fifteen additional HMA's have been combined to create only six.  These combined areas show a tremendous loss of acreage available for use by wild horses, the Eagle HMA being one.  Investigation reveals no BLM denial of accusations that over 19 million acres of land mandated for use by wild horses  have disappeared since 1971.
Protesters throughout the country are asking for an immediate moratorium on wild horse roundups and Congressional intervention to clean up the mess in BLM's  Wild Horse and Burro Program  which was originally intended to protect American herds.
Public comments on the Eagle roundup will be accepted until January 27.  Written comments can be mailed to: BLM ELY District office, HC 33 Box 33500, Ely, Nv 89301   attn: Mary D'Aversa, Schell Field Manager.  Comments can also be e-mailed to:
BLM officials were not available for comment prior to publishing this report.

For more info: 
   Time to "rein In" BLM's wild horse and burro program


No comments:

Post a Comment