Partnership with Princeton University and the Whole Horse Institute
ISPMB is proud to announce that Princeton University and the Whole Horse Institute are partnering with our organization to conduct wild horse behavioral ecology studies. Dr. Cassandra Nunez, Associate Research Scholar at Princeton University, and Mary Ann Simonds, Director of the Whole Horse Institute and equine behavioral ecologist, along with Karen Sussman, President of ISPMB, will investigate the various behaviors of four separate herds under ISPMB's care.
The purpose of the study is to identify the critical variables of functional populations of wild equids, specifically focused on social behaviors of individuals leading to the development of a model which can be used for both population management and conservation of critical genetics. ISPMB's four herds have been managed for a number of years in the same environment, but with each herd isolated from each other. The herds demonstrate cultural differences and thus offer a unique opportunity to study the comparisons between herds.
Princeton University with Dr. Dan Rubenstein is "a leading expert in the fields of animal behavior, evolutionary ecology and sociobiology, with particular interest in equine behavior and conservation. He studies how environmental variation and individual differences shape social behavior, social structure and the dynamics of populations." Dr. Nunez has been working with Dr. Rubenstein on a variety of equid research programs.
Dr. Nunez has a strong background and interest in mare-foal bonding and the implication to social structure and survival. She has also worked on the impacts of fertility control on the social behavior and survival of wild horses. Dr. Nunez's current research is investigating animal movement in equids to determine the impact of social structure on the behavior, ecology and evolution of the species. Specifically, how do an animal's sex, age, hierarchical status, and reproductive state affect its movements and the likelihood that it will follow other animals. "Such questions are important to the determination and prediction of land use by social species and can help ensure effective conservation", states Dr. Nunez.
Mary Ann Simonds has investigated the social ecology of wild horses since her undergraduate work at the University of Wyoming in 1974. Working as an inter-disciplinary scientist Mary Ann has spent over 35 years consulting and teaching a natural whole systems approach to human/animal/nature interactions. I dentifying "adaptive social behaviors" such as strong social bonds, maternal/paternal nurturing, functional social structure, decision making, leadership and learning in wild horses has been the focus of Mary Ann's work. Stating, "We need new models in science beyond the basic population ecology models of 'management by numbers', and 'prey-predator' in order for humans to help facilitate sustainable and healthy species." Discovering Dan Rubenstein's and Cassandra Nunez's work with world populations of wild equids and their interest in behavioral ecology is exactly what is needed to evolve the science of wild horse management. This research is critical to both the management of populations who reproduce beyond what their habitat can support and to help conserve the genetics of those species whose survival is at risk."
Karen Sussman says, "These studies will have a significant impact on the management of wild horses on public lands and worldwide." Karen has been studying wild herds since 1999 when ISPMB accepted the White Sands Missile Range wild horses. These horses had not been gathered or manipulated in decades except to be moved to South Dakota. In comparison with the Catnip Herd that had been nearly eradicated several times, it is obvious that the destruction of band structures from removals has a devastating effect on the herds.
The team is developing the research parameters and the program is scheduled to start in May 2010. The program will offer research opportunities to students. ISPMB is seeking funding for the study. ISPMB looks forward to working with Dr. Nunez and Mary Ann Simonds and gives particular "thanks" to Princeton University, Dr. Dan Rubenstein and Dr. Cassandra Nunez for their generosity in sharing their research and offering support and guidance for this program.
Your immediate contribution is critical to the future of our wild herds. WE HAVE THE DATA - can you help!
EMERGENCY FUNDING NEEDED
As many of you know, we sustained the worst winter on record since ISPMB's move to South Dakota and yet, we did not lose one horse. Add this frigid winter to a lagging economy and it could spell disaster for the future of our Conservation Center and our four herds unless you can help today! Our funding and hay supplies have dwindled from the extra feed we provided throughout the winter to our herds. Unless, we get sufficient funding we will be out of hay by the end of this month.
We need $2,000 weekly to sustain three of the four herds. $35 buys a bale of hay that feeds 4 horses for a week. We feed 60 bales a week! It would be a travesty t o have to disperse these herds for lack of funding for hay. Any size contribution would help us as we continue to seek other means of revenue.
Our Conservation program is critical to future of how wild horses should be managed on public lands. There have been very few behavioral studies done in the past thirty-nine years since the Act. ISPMB's two herds had not been gathered in decades of time until we acquired them making their data collection critically important. Saving these rare herds are critically important too.
Imagine having two herds that were in charge of their own destiny for decades of time! What a treasure of naturally healthy behaviors that is. How lucky we are to have them. Then we have the Catnip herd that had been overly managed. They are giving us a great comparison of undesirable behaviors that could threaten their existence in the future.
Because of our findings, we are concerned about the future of wild horses on public lands - not only that there might not be any horses left from intensive removals by the BLM but what horses remain may not have the survival and leadership skills necessary to survive over the long term. The constant disruption of their harem bands allows younger and younger stallions to take over the harems. The simple analogy would be having a Harvard professor teaching his class and being replaced by six graders. It doesn't work and allows for indiscriminate breeding by rogue stallions breeding younger and younger fillies. It is no wonder why BLM says that fertility rates are increasing. They have yet to understand wild horses as a wildlife species. We have those studies now! Please help us!
As we have said before, we believe that there are only two herds out of 199 left on public lands that have not been manipulated through constant removals resulting in the devastation of their social structures. Those herds are the Cerbats in Arizona and the Montgomery Pass wild horses in California. Both herds have mountain lion predation that keeps their numbers to a minimum. This means that 197 BLM herds may be at risk.
You can see why your contribution is so very important to future of all wild horses in our country. We just must keep our Conservation program moving forward by providing hay for our herds until we have more land. WILL YOU HELP TODAY WITH A CONTRIBUTION?
And until we are over the hump, would you even consider a monthly donation?
We are pleased to have Jo Bunny from MA who is doing our Face Book page. Please become a fan of ISPMB by signing up on our Page. Go to www.facebook.com and type in ISPMB in the seach box.
We also thank Lee Noel Chase who will be updating our website daily. Thanks to the work of Sonya Lee and Heather Collins, we have a new face on the web! www.ispmb.org We thank our volunteer Moms who came recently to help with the care of Cate - Judy Dunlap and Susan Leutheuser. Thanks to Judy Dunlap who sent two boxes of towels and quilts for Cate! A great big thank you to Jane Marie Erickson from the Academy of the Fox Cities in Wisconsin who provided blankets and halters for our orphan foals through the Academy's "Quilt for Cate" program and Jane Marie's Waushara County 4-H Club. Thank you all! Special thanks to Cheryl Rowe who does an outstanding job on our graphic design, magazines and Constant Contact. Thanks to Calamity Cate Crismani who has helped us in providing donors when we desperately needed them. Lakota Cate was named after Calamity Cate. Special thanks to Janet Lacetera who donated five horse blankets, milk pellets, 3 bags of treats for the horses. Our foals and special needs horses would not have made it through the winter without their warm coats! We are ever so indebted to Dr. John Fine and Myriam Moran for spending one month in December with ISPMB and helping us through the worst of our storms. Their presence allowed Karen Sussman to travel to Montana where she was certified and a wildlife darter using air guns and then to AZ to visit her children and grandchildren. They handled every aspect of ISPMB's operation.
Thank you to all of our donors who give with an open heart helping us achieve extraordinary goals with our horses.
Please watch for our magazine, "Wild Horse and Burro Diary" coming soon. We will update you with the results of the Calico Wild Horse Removal which resulted in nearly 100 horses' deaths - adults and miscarriages. This is why ISPMB's work is so important because we can prove the devastation caused by helicopter roundups of America's wild horses. The only way to protect our wild horses is to remove them band by band through bait or water trapping. We have the data! We have spent eleven tireless years gathering this data. This is why it is critical that you fund our Conservation project. This project has the greatest potential to save wild horses!
SPONSOR A WILD HORSE
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Thanks for all you do!!!
IN THE HANDS OF KILL BUYERS! When horses are purchased at auction by buyers intending to kill them, they're hauled away in double- decker tractor trailers where they are beaten and often blinded with baseball bats to mollify them. After crossing the border into Mexico, the animals are stabbed on each side-an act to tenderize their meat-and immobilized. Workers, then saw the horses legs off, at the knee and hang them to bleed out-all while the horses are ALIVE! (This is an excerpt, from an article written by Missy Diaz, crediting Victoria Mc Cullough and Sen. Joe Abruzzo for bringing awareness of horse slaughter, to Florida. In 2010 Florida Legislation unanimously passed the Horse Protection Bill, making it a felony to slaughter horses for personal or commercial use.)