The Wild Beauty Foundation welcomes you to the fifth edition of our weekly newsletter!
This Week in Wild Beauty
Read the newest wild horse and burro focused headlines for the week of June 18th, 2022
GonaCon Vs. PZP : The Effects of Birth Control on Wild Horses
While not all advocates for wild horses support birth control measures, this is something the BLM plans to continue to implement. Despite your views on this subject, it is important to know the information behind these medications.
In a recent press release by the BLM in the Little Fish Lake HMA in Nye County, Nevada; plans were introduced to not only conduct a roundup in this area but implement multiple forms of birth control after it is completed. These birth control measures can be dangerous when used in a herd as small as the AML planned for this area, as the population will reach what the experts WBF has consulted with consider genetically unsustainable levels.
The two primary forms of birth control the BLM plans to use are GonaCon-Equine and Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP). While birth control has been proven effective in herd management, that is only if used responsibly by the BLM.
The plan constructed for the Little Fish Lake HMA threatens herd eradication and irreversible sterilization of wild horses.
The Wild Beauty Foundation does not support GonaCon.
Get to Know the Facts:
Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP)
- PZP birth control is a reversible birth control injection that can be administered via dart guns.
- Thus far studies conducted for nearly 30 years on Assateague Island have proven the safety and effectiveness of PZP to manage herd size when used correctly.
- When used in a monitored setting, officials can suspend PZP’s use if herd size becomes too low, allowing mares to become fertile again and the population to grow once more.
- GonaCon-Equine is a hormone-blocking GnRH administered by a dart gun.
- BLM claims “it is expected that most, if not all, mares would return to fertility at some point” after being given GonaCon-Equine, but this evidence has not been quantified.
- Studies have shown that GonaCon impacts natural wild horse social behavioral structures and data has been found that proves GonaCon breaks down ovaries, leaving mares chemically sterilized after only 2 injections.
The most effective form of herd management is natural predation, meaning that natural predators keep the herd size at a sustainable level. However, the systematic eradication of wolves, mountain lions, coyotes and other species, along with the inability for horses to move freely across the land, has impacted the natural population regulation of wild horses in certain areas.
FOR YOU TO KNOW:
It is factually inaccurate that wild horses have no natural predators.
WBF believes that the use of GonaCon-Equine in the BLM’s plan for the Little Fish Lake HMA is unsafe and will lead to the sterilization of the herd. This will lead to irreversible damage to the future of wild horses in this area as well as future herds that are subject to its use.
Educate yourself and read more:
Colorado Roundup Date Moved Up
Despite Governor Polis’ requests to halt the roundup of Colorado’s East Douglas horses, the BLM released a statement Monday announcing that they would be moving forward with roundup efforts. Not only are they continuing their unjust plans to eliminate most of the wild horse population in this area, they are doing so against an outcry from both the public and government officials. The initial planned roundup dates were August 28 through September 28th, 2022. However, due to what the BLM claims is “the poor condition of the horses and range conditions coming out of the winter” they will be beginning preparations for the roundup as soon as this week.
The BLM seems to have completely ignored the fact that photographers and advocates have posted current photos of horses on the range this week, who are clearly in healthy body condition.
The introduction of bait traps in the HMA began Wednesday, June 15th. This is the first step in the BLM’s plan to eradicate this Colorado herd. On or about July 15th, they will conduct a drive using inhumane methods such as low-flying helicopters and dangerous funnel traps. These methods can lead to horrible injuries and preventable deaths due to horses being driven for miles at high speeds before entering a tight, overcrowded pen.
The East Douglas HMA consists of 1,385 horses residing on approximately 190,130 acres of land. Reducing the herd size to the BLM’s adjusted AML of 135-235 horses would leave over 800 acres per horse at the very least. WBF maintains that the elimination of over 80% of this herd’s population will lead to genetic unsustainability and the eventual collapse of the East Douglas herd as a whole.
Horses collected from this roundup were initially supposed to be sent to Cañon City, the location of a recent deadly equine influenza outbreak taking at least 145 lives; and the site of violations including a whopping thirteen instances of non-compliance by the Bureau of Land Management, including euthanasia. Read more about this on the Colorado Sun.
However, after public response and outcry, the BLM then released that these horses will be sent to a holding facility in Utah instead. After the outbreak in Cañon City, Colorado’s governor called for the BLM to halt all future roundups until the facility could be investigated. Though after releasing a report on the illness within the facility, the BLM decided to continue with their destructive plan.
The Wild Beauty Foundation maintains the Cañon City holding facility should be shut down until a comprehensive investigation is done, the horses should be moved to another facility, and disapproves of the BLM’s choice to go against governor Polis’s requests.
We hope that advocates will spread the word about what is happening.
Please share this newsletter on social media.
This Week’s Call To Action
Oppose the BLM’s Roundup of Colorado’s Piceance-East Douglas Wild Horses
After this week’s rescheduling of the East Douglas Roundup by the BLM, Colorado Governor Polis’s spokesman, Conor Cahill, stated “It is apparent not only that they will not seriously consider better alternatives, allowing only a few weeks for bait-and-trap methods, but that the agency truly doesn’t care to first listen to stakeholders before moving forward.”
To help advocate for these wild horses you can send a letter to the BLM expressing your concern and disapproval of yet another unnecessary roundup.
Please ask the BLM to halt the roundup and tell them:
“I stand with wild horses.”
Send your public comment to the office of Chris Maestas
Email [email protected]
Terri Farley’s “The Phantom Stallion” Receives Updated Cover Art
“The Phantom Stallion” series by our dear friend Terri Farley, who also helped judge our inaugural WBF Short Story Competition for kids & teens in 2021; has been adored by horse lovers since the first book was published in 2002. Ten years later, the first book in the series, “The Wild One”, is about to be re-released for a new generation of young adults to enjoy! This re-release features stunning new cover art by Lousie Meijer-Astrom.
The Phantom Stallion series follows Sam Foster, an equestrian who shares a special bond with a wild horse in the American West. This wildly popular series includes 24 books total, with an additional 11 in the spinoff “The Phantom Stallion: Wild Horse Island” series.
The new, re-release version of “The Wild One” is available for preorder on Amazon with a release date set for March 21, 2023.
Save the Date: WBF Trivia Night!
WBF is excited to host an upcoming virtual event to connect with our community and bring some fun and positivity into the wild horse advocacy world. Too often we find ourselves sinking into sadness with the accelerated roundups or other tragic news, and it is healthy to find joy and celebrate our wild horses too. And so, The Wild Beauty Foundation is partnering with our friends at LaLa Horse to bring you a fun wild horse-themed trivia night.
WBF Wild Horse Trivia Night
June 28th, 2022
7:00pm EST / 4pm PST
Special guests include:
Filmmakers Ashley Avis & Edward Winters of The Wild Beauty Foundation
Erik Molvar of Western Watersheds Project
Lobbyist Marty Irby and attorney Scott Beckstead
Renowned wild horse photographer Kimerlee Curyl
The event will be one hour live via Zoom, with the game played on your phones. There are five rounds of ten wild-horse-related questions, and also special surprises!
The trivia itself will be about forty-five minutes, and the last fifteen (and perhaps a bit more) will be a Q&A session with these speakers, all featured in our upcoming documentary WILD BEAUTY: Mustang Spirit of the West.
This event is open to all ages, and anyone is welcome to come learn about our nation’s wild horses or show off their knowledge of these special equines! Invite your friends to this night of wild horse education and fun, and forward along our newsletter.
The sign up form can be found on LaLa Horse’s website and Zoom login instructions will be emailed after registration.
Rescue Horse: Whisper Update!
Whisper of the Wild, a young mare WBF rescued from a Louisiana kill pen a few weeks ago, has been doing great only 30 days into her rehabilitation.
Based on her brand, Whisper was rounded up from the wild in 2019 from Idaho, and adopted out through the BLM. Unfortunately, she was later abandoned by her owner at a kill pen, in a terribly emaciated and clearly abused state. Thanks to one of our adopters altering us to her presence, WBF stepped in to rescue her during the night from an uncertain future.
Whisper’s transformation in just a few short weeks is extraordinary. She has been putting on weight, is up to date on vaccinations, and is on the road to recovery.
This once wild mare has seen a lot of tragedy in her short lifetime, but she will be meeting her new adopter soon – and we cannot wait to share those updates with you, our community.
Thank you everyone who contributed to her rehabilitation, participated in Whisper’s online naming event, or have shared her journey. Everyone should know the value of rescue horses, and that every life matters.
We cannot do our work efficiently without your help; such as raising awareness, creating video campaigns, rescuing horses in need, and crafting other unique innovations to protect our wild world.
If you are interested in donating toward our Rescue Fund to help other horses like Whisper, please click this link. Any amounts are greatly appreciated and will be put directly toward helping rescued wild horses and burros. If you would like to donate toward our overall efforts, you can click the button above or right here.
Glimpse of Wild Beauty
As we celebrate Father’s day, we look to the powerful Onaqui stallions who fiercely stood by their families during the roundup of their herd.
Old Man, a thirty-year-old member of the special herd WBF documented for over three years, survived countless roundups. Though not often among the herd, Old Man kept a watchful eye from the mountains. This beautiful soul became a wise father figure to all of the Onaqui, and so while have been no reported sightings of Old Man recently, indicating his soul may have now have lived and passed on in the wild where he belonged; we celebrate him this Father’s Day.
A Quote to Graze On
EAGLES IN A STORM
Did you know that an eagle knows when a storm is approaching long before it breaks?
The eagle will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, the eagle is soaring above it.
The eagle does not escape the storm. It simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rises on the winds that bring the storm.
When the storms of life come upon us – and all of us will experience them – we can rise above them, we can soar above the storm.
Remember, it is not the burdens of life that weigh us down, it is how we handle them.
Thank you for being a supporter of wild horses, and protecting the wild beauty of our world.
– The WBF Team
Have an idea for a story or a tip for us?
Email [email protected]
Are you a wild horse photographer who would like your work featured in our newsletter or social media pages?
Email a ZIP or link to your photos, along with a short written approval to [email protected]!
Other Ways to Help WBF
Vote for us once a week on MyGivingCircle so we can hopefully partake in a share of grant money! Vote with just two clicks here, we are currently #69 and must get into the top #10 with just a few weeks to go.
Join Us On Our Journey. We’d love to stand beside you.