Friday, June 7, 2013

Wild horses pose problems for wolf and cougar habitat

The modern horse was introduced to North America by the Spanish late in the 15th Century.
Artefacts such as projectile points, stone scrapers, bi-faces and large stone chopping/cutting tools found at Kotenski in Russia, a mass horse kill site, are similar to those found on large kill/butchery sites of North America, (Hoffdecker et al 2010, 1087). [Lisa Bond, Gender Roles and the Mass-kill Event: A Cross-cultural Analysis, Heritage Daily--Archaeology News]
From an Associated Press piece in the Casper Star-Tribune:
A scathing independent scientific review of wild horse roundups in the West concludes the U.S. government would be better off investing in widespread fertility control of the mustangs and let nature cull any excess herds instead of spending millions to house them in overflowing holding pens. A 14-member panel assembled by the National Science Academy’s National Research Council, at the request of the Bureau of Land Management, concluded BLM’s removal of nearly 100,000 horses from the Western range over the past decade is probably having the opposite effect of its intention to ease ecological damage and reduce overpopulated herds.
This story aired on Yellowstone Public Radio that reinforces ip's rant on a non-lethal compromise to manage predators, especially cougars and wolves:
The federal Bureau of Land Management announced Wednesday it will use fertility treatment on some 900 wild horses that it hopes to round up in western states during the current fiscal year. The "catch, treat and release" approach comes amidst ongoing controversy over the roundups, which are designed to control the population of horses on federal rangelands.
The BLM argues that reducing herd sizes are necessary to protect the range and to keep the horse populations healthy into the future.

The technology exists to administer this drug to predators without capture even as western states are suing to force the United States Fish & Wildlife Service to remove gray wolves from the endangered species list pressured by livestock producers. The South Dakota Game, Fish, and Parks has ordered the extermination of cougars in that state under pressure from hunting industries who rely on tourist dollars.

Here is an article on the contraindications associated with the long-term use of PZP, it's environmental effects are noted.

From Lauren Hansard at New Mexico's KOB:
The Valley Meat Company is still waiting for final approval to slaughter horses, but that seems to keep getting farther away.
The Oglala Lakota Nation is pursuing an economic development opportunity according to Tim Huether writing in the Bennett County Booster
Tribal council member Craig Dillon from the LaCreek District confirmed that they are indeed looking at it but said they have a long way to go, but have also come a long way on the project. The location they are considering for the plant is just under two miles north and west of the U.S. Hwy 18 and U.S. Hwy 73 junction which is 12 miles east of Martin. The tribe owns approx. 220 acres there that Dillon said would be a good location. Slaughtering horses ended in the U.S. in 2007 after Congress began prohibiting the use of federal funds to inspect horses destined to become food during 2006.
In evidence obtained through South Dakota Brand Board Inspection records and Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests:
Jim Reeves and Lyle Anderson own Spur Livestock, and have a contract with the Bureau of Land Management for a long term holding pasture for wild horses on private lands within the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota, as well as on Indian Trust Lands administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. This facility is the Whitehorse Wild Horse Long Term Holding Facility. Wild Horse Freedom Federation received records from the South Dakota Brand Board that reveal on 11/8/2008, while under contract with the BLM, “owner” Spur Livestock sold 34 horses with “BLM tattoos” to JS Farms, owned by kill buyer Joe Simon.--Debbie Coffey, PPJ Gazette.
Two North Dakota counties have asked a judge to rule on horses seized from William Kiefer writes Jenny Michael in the Bismarck Tribune:
Officials in Morton County seized 119 horses after finding 96 dead on Kiefer’s property north of New Salem in late January, and Burleigh County officials seized 38 horses after finding three dead on property in that county. Sheriff Dave Shipman said numerous dead horses were found in a pile and appeared to have been dragged out of view of the road. Others were piled up in barns and a stock trailer.
interested party has jammed this concept into numerous western blogs with mixed success. Selling licenses to track and identify female wolves and cougars then administer these drugs with darts or biobullets could capitalize its application.

From the Wolf Conservation Center:
It’s possible to better manage unruly wolves in estrus with birth control treatments called MGA (melengestrol acetate) and Deslorelin. These oral remedies have been proven to diminish the competitive behavior that females naturally demonstrate during the winter months.

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