Wednesday, August 1, 2012

BLM Oregon to Remove Most of Jackies Butte Herd After Wildfire

American Wild Horse Preservation Camapign

August 1, 2012 by  · Leave a Comment 
On July 26, 2012, the Bureau of Land Management in Oregon announced the emergency removal via helicopter roundup of an estimated 85 wild horses from the Jackies Butte Herd Management Area (HMA) after a lightning-induced wildfire burned three-quarters of their 65,000+-acre habitat area.
Cows graze in the aftermath of Longdraw fire, but wild horses are being removed. Oregon Live photo.
The action will leave just 5-15 horses in the HMA. Most of the captured horses (50-75) will be sex-segregated and held at the Burns Wild Horse Corrals for up to two years, while the range regenerates, before being returned to the HMA. The captured horses that are not held will be placed into the agency’s adoption program, where they will be adopted, sold or sent to long-term holding.
The BLM has set an allowable management level (AML) of just 75 – 150 wild horses in this public land area where the government allows three times as many privately-owned livestock as federally-protected horses to graze. In August 2011, the BLM conducted a helicopter roundup in Jackies Butte, removing 193 wild horses from the range and reducing the population down to approximately 75 horses (the low AML). Three wild horses were killed during the roundup.
Jackies Butte wild horses captured in BLM August 2011 helicopter roundup
Although a wildfire caused by lightning would appear to be unavoidable, the Western Watersheds Project informs us that the reason why this fire burned so much land so quickly is that the BLM has seeded the area extensively with crested wheat grass, a highly flammable, non-native species that is commonly planted to make forage available for livestock. Once again, the BLM’s policy of prioritizing special interests — in this case the powerful cattlemen’s lobby — over the public interest has harmed our treasured wild horses and the public lands they inhabit.
Cows graze on crested wheat grass.
Read the BLM’s decision record for the emergency Jackies Butte roundup here.

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