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Recap of Events – Keep Working for the Survival of Our Wild Herds
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The month of September was full of tragedy and also a lot of hope. 57 horses, aged less than one month to over 21 years old were removed from their home in the Pryors. Rain, Image, Arrow, Ember, Sage and Summer were among the young horses to lose their freedom and families. I can report that all are doing well in their new homes- the real tragedy of this roundup was the removal of ten horses over the age of ten and the total number of horses removed- the Pryors herd is now only at 125. Montana’s only remaining wild horse herd is now below the levels recommended for minimum genetic viability and a number of the horses on the mountain top, including Cloud, are still lame. Read the vet report and an article here. Read more on our blog, and from Horseback Magazine here.
Thanks to you and amazing efforts by Billings residents, the four family bands who were removed in their entirety from the Pryors are back together on a beautiful ranch in Montana, located at the base of their mountain home. Watching Conquistador reunite with his mare, Cavalitta, and Bo, Shane and Trigger do the same with their families was certainly a miracle. Listen to Ginger Kathrens describe these events and more here. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, through your donations to the Freedom Fund, your action and your support. Donations for the continued work of the Cloud Foundation and care of these horses are still needed, please donate here.
From the auction the Cloud Foundation took the horses’ cause to Washington DC. Many advocates spoke at the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Advisory board meeting but this board is stacked against the horses and behaves much like the BLM. However, the next day we had a marvelous press conference at which Congressman Grijalva spoke and took questions. The group then met with over 45 Senate offices for “Mustangs on the Hill” to support the ROAM Act (S. 1579). Read more about these events here. Full video coverage of the Advisory Board Meeting and Press Conference should be up on the www.nvHorsePower.org site this week.
But the roundup of Cloud’s herd is really only the tip of the iceberg. BLM just announced plans to remove over 12,000 wild horses and burros from the wild this fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2009 – Sept. 30, 2010). Last year the BLM threatened to kill the 30,000+ wild horses in holding but now they are using nearly all the additional funding to round up a record number of our wild equids. 12 herds are being zeroed out right now in Nevada; 1000 horses are to be removed from Wyoming this month alone— it goes on and on. This is mismanagement of our living national heritage with millions of taxpayer’s dollars and the real losers are the horses and burros.
TAKE ACTION: Please take a moment today to write and call both your US Senators and ask them to support the ROAM Act (S. 1579) which is currently in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
The new Cloud program, Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions, will air on October 25th on PBS stations nationwide. Let’s keep up the momentum to stop, or at the least, limit, the massive roundups already underway. 20-plus million acres have already been taken away from the wild herds and they should be returned. Plan a get-together to watch the new show and then write letters to your senators and take action to preserve and protect all our wild herds.
Conquistador is now back with his mare on a ranch in Montana.
BLM Capture of Iconic Wild Horse Herd Sparks Controversy:
Friday, 18 September 2009 09:43
Senator Landrieu, Congressman Grijalva Join Public in Calling for an Immediate End to the Mismanagement of the West’s Living Legends.
For Immediate Release:
LOVELL, WY– September 17, 2009 — Once wild and free, living in spectacular sub-alpine meadows designated by Congress as their home, 57 wild Mustangs now wait in dusty pens in the 90 degree heat. The BLM pens sit at the base of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range of Wyoming and Montana. The corrals offer no shade for the wild horses, now branded, with ropes and numbers around their necks. 19 year-old Conquistador is no longer a proud band stallion. He is number 5336. 21 year-old Grumpy Grulla is no longer a lead mare. She is number 5321.
The Pryor Mountain wild horses have been made world famous by the popular PBS Nature series that has followed the pale Palomino Stallion “Cloud,” throughout his lifetime. The third program will air this Fall in October, but many of the horses the world will meet next month are among those being put up for sale and adoption at the Britton Springs corrals in Lovell, WY on Sept. 26th. “They are losing what they value most – their freedom and their families,” says Ginger Kathrens, Volunteer Executive Director of the Cloud Foundation.
“Despite a National outcry and letters from Congress demanding that the BLM halt these roundups until an acceptable long-term plan is made, we have yet to see them make a single concession to an outraged public. Somewhere along the line BLM forgot that these are the public’s horses on the public’s land.” Kathrens continues.
Great hopes for change lie in the Restore Our American Mustang Act (ROAM- §1579), now in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee. Advocates are planning a gathering, “Mustangs on the Hill,” in Washington D.C. on September 29th. Supporters of preserving our wild herds will fan out and meet with key Senate staffers and Senators.
“The ROAM Act comes too late for thousands of horses, but we are hopeful that Congress can ride to the rescue for our wild horses,” states Arizona advocate, Julianne French. The Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971 saved wild horses in the American West from complete destruction. Since then, the BLM, charged with their protection, has failed to follow the Act. Nearly 20 million acres have been taken away from the dedicated land set aside for America’s wild horses. Over 30,000 wild horses are held by the BLM at a cost of over $100,000 per day according to Ed Roberson, Department of Interior official.
Advocates are demanding that the wild horses be returned to the rangelands that were stolen from them. Congressman Grijalva (D-AZ) called for a stop to all roundups and Senator Landrieu (D-LA) recently called for the management of wild horses to be taken away from the BLM altogether.
The American public is enamored with the mustang, one of the last symbols of freedom and the disappearing spirit of the American West. “Isn’t it time that the public finds out the truth, that this gross misconduct is not a result of managing for ‘healthy horses on healthy rangelands, but is an all out eradication of America’s wild horses?” questions advocate Monika Courtney. “Will hoof beats be replaced completely by oil and gas rigs and uranium mines as the old-guard BLM regime carries forth? BLM is betraying not only our horses, but our nation.” As one advocate stated, “The West will one day be about as wild as Wal-Mart.”
The small Spanish mustangs in the Pryor herd, descendents of the Lewis and Clark expedition horses and the original Crow war ponies, may not be aware that their highly contested roundup and subsequent removal has created a wave a protest from Thoroughbred racing forums to front porches in South Texas.
“A whole new group of advocates concerned about our wild horses have come out against this roundup,” states Willis Lamm, a horse trainer noted for his work with BLM mustangs. “Moving forward with this roundup was a huge mistake on the part of the BLM.”
For more information contact: The Cloud Foundation Valerie Kennedy, Public Relations Manager 312-371-4933 Makendra Silverman, Associate Director 719-351-8187 email@example.com
All photos and text appear courtesy of The Cloud Foundation