Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Proposed Elimination of Wild Horses in Nevada!!

For crying out loud!!! When will this nonsense stop!!!!

In a letter to John Ruhs, District Manager, Ely, NV of BLM, Craig Downer, author and wildlife ecologist writes:

"From: Craig Downer <>

Date: June 27, 2009 10:13:43 PM MDT

To: Craig Downer <>, Craig Downer <>

Subject: Protest to Zeroing out of 11 Wild Horse Herd Areas, 620

wh's, Due July 6th, 2009

June 27, 2009

John F. Ruhs, District Manager

Ely District Office, Bureau of Land Management

HC33 Box 33500, Ely, NV 89301-9408

Re: 8560(NVL0000) May 29, 2009. Notice of Proposed Action:

‘Elimination of all wild horses from 11 Herd Areas’. Attn. also:

Ruth Thompson, wh & b spec. T. 775-289-1826 (Seaman & White River

HAs).; Ben Noyes, wh & b spec. T.

775-289-1836. (Caliente wild horse HAs Complex)

Dear Mr. Ruhs:

I have received your letter of May 29th announcing the zeroing out

of 11 wild horse herd areas (HAs) in your district. I have reviewed

your justification for this drastic action and find it to be

deceptive and untrue. You and your team, as public servants, are

supposed to fairly represent diverse public interests on public

lands, not just livestock, big game, mining and other extractive

activities. What you are proposing and your justification for such

constitute an abandonment of duty. You intentionally target wild

horses for elimination in order to clear the way for other more

politically pushy interests.

I have noted that in the Seaman and White River HAs, according to

the figures you have provided, there are 475,100 legal acres and a

presently censused population of 350 remaining wild horses. Don’t

you realize that this works out to the enormous area of 1,357.43

legal acres per remaining wild horse! This is hardly the

“overpopulation” you claim! Rather “under population” more

accurately describes this small remnant within this vast region.

Your claim is arbitrary and designed to secure the land and its

resources for other interests, e.g. livestock, big game, oil and gas

leases, etc. Your final terse statements purporting to justify the

wholesale elimination of the two herds slant to lay the blame on the

horses for environmental damage while ignoring livestock present,

past history and other factors. For example, you make no mention of

the role that unwisely located fences -- including those that

deprive horses of access to water -- are playing in unnaturally

constricting the movements of the horses, contrary to the true

intention of the Wild Horse Act within their legal HAs! -- In

short, I simply do not believe you here; and your track record

demonstrates an extreme prejudice against wild horses in the wild.

Your injustice toward the wild horses in the nine legal herd areas

of the Caliente Wild Horse Complex (Meadow Valley Mountain, Blue

Nose Peak, Delamar Mountain, Clover Mountains, Clove Creek,

Applewhite, Mormon Mountain, Little Mountain and Miller

Flat HAs) is even more egregious! I’m sure you realize that with

only 270 wild horses in this vast legal wild horse domain summing to

911,892 acres, there are 3,377.38 legal acres for every remaining

wild horse! It is extremely hard to believe that this small number

of wild horses are overpopulated in such a vast area, yet this is

what you are asking. Also, it is remarkable that you overlook the

substantial role that wild horses play in reducing fire hazard by

consuming large quantities of dry flammable vegetation over the vast

areas where they roam (home range). Yet you tersely list “drought

conditions, fire and nuisance animals” as your sole justifications

for removing all of the wild horses from this vast complex of legal

herd areas. You are not telling the whole story here – not anywhere

near! How many allotment drift fences interfere with wild horse

movements that naturally moderate grazing pressure throughout these

HAs and are themselves contrary to the Wild Horse Act? And for that

matter, how many livestock graze in these legal wild horse HAs,

where by law the wild horses are supposed to be given priority, i.e.

“principal” status (since overall their legal HAs represent only a

small fraction of the public lands). This would truly be “multiple

use,” not the over-magnification of wild horse presence/impact in

which over the years BLM/USFS, has repeatedly engaged!

I am keenly disillusioned with your decision to eliminate all wild

horses from these vast and legal HAs in my home state of Nevada.

How can you preserve the true spirit of the West without wild horses

in the wild? Seems you are bent on killing this spirit rather than

preserving or, better yet, restoring it, as you should be doing.

Summing all of the 11 wild horse HAs planned for zeroing out yields

1,386,992 acres; and summing all of the presently remaining wild

horses in these 11 herd areas yields 620 wild horses. This

signifies 2,237.08 legal acres per remaining wild horse. Yet you

still mean to tell me that in these vast areas wild horses are

overpopulated and destroying the ecosystem?! I find this extremely

hard to believe, especially given my knowledge of wild horse

behavior and ecology as well as public lands politics (See Western

Turf Wars by Mike Hudak, 2008, Biome Books). It is farcical that

such a vast region cannot support a modest population of 620 wild

horses. I believe the root cause for their planned elimination is

the hostile attitude toward them by certain humans, especially

vested interests blinded by their possessions and the uncaring or

uncourageous public officials that go along with them!

A couple years ago, I protested this outrageous plan and am again

vigorously protesting this travesty. This is directed at the wild

horses, a restored native species in North America with so much that

is truly positive to contribute to the Western ecosystem and

ambiance; and it is also directed at the substantial majority of

Nevadan and citizens throughout America who enthusiastically support

wild horses in the wild and have repeatedly expressed their strong

desire to see them fairly treated and represented upon the public

lands – no more nor less than what the Wild Horse Act requires.

This is your job as public servants; and I strongly request the

cancellation of your decision to zero out these 11 remnant herds.

They represent many generations of natural selection to their

specific eco-regions, a benign process that establishes harmony with

the many sympatric species of plants and animals they, in fact, live

with, and not against. Clearly it is we people who need to change,

not the wild horses. These powerful and beautiful animals are

returning to the land of their evolutionary origin and to that

ecological way of life and fitting that is their inheritance from

millions of years upon this Earth, and herein upon the North

American continent.


Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist

Author: Wild Horses: Living Symbols of Freedom

P.O. Box 456, Minden, NV 89423.

P.S. I have personally visited several of the herds you are planning

to zero out – especially memorable was the Delamar herd amid the

Joshua trees – and it would be a tragic personal loss were you to

follow through on these ill-conceived plans to eliminate the horses

from this life-nurturing place of freedom and biodiversity."

Bravo, Craig!!!

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