Wild in the Pryors

A Blog about the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses

The Cloud Foundation Asks For Increased Use of Fertility Control For Pryor Herd

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For those of you that would like to know what the current plan is for the Asseteague Horses, it is this:   on Assateague every mare is treated with PZP and then allowed to foal once around the age of 5 and then she receives PZP for the rest of her life.
I personally feel this is too aggressive for the Pryor Horses.  The Pryors is not the Assateague  Islands.  There are many more factors to consider.  Only allowing a mare to have one foal?  Will we next be choosing the lucky stallion that gets to reproduce?   I am against this micromanagement suggestion.
The NPS is assisting in the PZP injections.  This is the second year for that.  I would like to suggest that we give this a few years to see how it works now that there are more people helping with it.  Let’s not jump into something that may not be reversible.
Sandy
Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Logo designed by Amber Bushnell

Sandy

70 Responses to “The Cloud Foundation Asks For Increased Use of Fertility Control For Pryor Herd”

  1. LoriG

    Good job Sandy! Thank you for keeping everyone up to date on these matters.
    I find it very disappointing that TCF would ask for even MORE aggressive PZP use in a herd that is small to begin with. What is the goal here? Is it for no more gathers? In my opinion if they keep on the current plan, and must have a few small bait trap gathers every now and then…is this not enough to subject these wild horses to? I believe the goal of managing this herd should be for a genetically sound & healthy herd of wild horses and NOT “no more gathers.” I also believe that they should be focusing on range improvements (reseeding, etc.) and adding more land to the WHR so that the AML could be raised instead of figuring out more ways to decrease the herd size. I will for sure be writing my letter. There is only a month to do this.
    You can check out this very informative “Dissertation” that was studied & written by Jason Ransom. It is very long, 114 pages, but full of facts on his study he did on the use of PZP on the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustangs.
    While I do support some PZP use along with small gathers, I do not want to see more aggressive PZP use in the Pryor herd.

    http://www.fort.usgs.gov/Products/Publications/23498/23498.pdf

    Reply
  2. LoriG

    PS. Notice how all of the “K” girls, who have not yet had PZP are foaling when nature intended them to foal…when there will be plenty for them to eat…springtime!!!!

    Reply
    • LoriG

      Well that is a very interesting article Sandy. So now TCF wants a more aggressive PZP plan knowing all of the “risks” involved? Hmmm, what’s up with that change?

      Reply
  3. Effie Orser

    Yes the goal is for as few removals as possible. I am personally tired of seeing these horses adopted out to less than ideal homes. The use of PZP has been successfully used to maintain a genetically viable herd on Assateague for more than 20 years. When mares are not foaling every year they are healthier and live longer.

    Reply
    • wildinthepryors

      Thank you Effie for your comment. I am just trying to understand all this and what it means. Do you have a link that would give us all an idea on what the current plan is for the Assateague Horses? I can’s seem to find one.

      I am also confused on why TCF still has a statement on their website that says they are against it.

      Reply
      • Effie Orser

        Every mare on Assateague receives PZP and then around the age of five is allowed to reproduce once and then will receive PZP for the rest of her life. This way no genetics are lost and the herd remains viable.

        TCF was originally against it but now realize that population control through contraception is a lot better for the horses than removals. I do not know why they have not changed it on the website.

      • wildinthepryors

        Thank you Effie,
        What happens if the horse does not survive until their 5th year? There is a possible loss of genetics, depending on whose offspring she is.
        I am for PZP and using it in the Pryors, but not this aggressive.

    • LoriG

      In my opinion Effie, I would like to see the goal remain as it is, and that is: to have a Genetically sound and healthy herd, and a healthy range.
      You cannot compare the PZP plan that they do on Assateague Island and then do the same here on the Pryor’s. The elements are totally different and the predator situation is not the same at all. Treating all mares, and allowing each mare to only have one foal for her entire life is immoral. Remember when the lions killed all but one foal? There was also another time that lions killed quite a few foals. The winter’s can be very brutal and no one can predict Mother Nature. This plan would ultimately be the demise of the Pryor Mountain wild horses in my opinion. I expected more of TCF for the protection of these horses and am very disheartened by their decision to support such a plan!

      Reply
      • Effie Orser

        It would in no way be the demise of the herd! PZP is completely reversible. If the mare does not have a surviving foal then she will be allowed to foal again.The Pryor herd is comparable to Assateague they are both small populations on limited space.
        One foal immoral? So you would rather see the terrible homes some of these horses end up in. That is terrible.
        TCF is protecting them. If you believe otherwise you are mistaken.
        I suggest you do some research on how PZP has preserved multiple wild and endangered species.

  4. wildinthepryors

    This is what I found out: On Assateague every mare is treated with PZP and then allowed to foal once around the age of 5 and then she receives PZP for the rest of her life.

    Reply
    • Sarah Griffin

      I definitely think the Pryor mares need to foal more than once. The mortality rate for the Pryor herd is higher than Assateague’s herd. The Assateague horses aren’t in as harsh of an environement and don’t as much natural interfearence with the survival rate of foals.

      Reply
  5. Sarah Griffin

    There are changes I would like to see to the pzp program, but not a more aggresive plan. Things such as mares who have never foaled or have no offspring on the range, but are still at a healthy reproductive age taken off pzp and given the chance to foal. I think the pzp program in the dryhead needs to be adjusted, because there are only 3 mares currently in the reproducing pzp window and there are not many mares that will enter that window in the next couple years either. I would definitley like to see no more gathers, or gathers of a smaller size but I’d like to see this done by opening up areas of the range that the horses have historically used such as the administrative pastures and the Forest Service lands. And also get the AML raised. I know that many parties, TCF included, has been working towards that goal.

    I’m also wondering who the five mares are that have never recieved pzp. I think they’d be in the 2005, 2006 age groups…

    Reply
    • LoriG

      I am totally with you on this Sarah!
      I am not sure who the five mares are that have not been treated…but my guess would be it is mares who will not let a human get close enough to deliver the dart….smart horses!! HA!
      Maybe Sandy knows who the five are.??

      Reply
  6. reevesimagery

    I always wish scoping letters would give more information about the proposed action/change in action. I do find it interesting that this was requested by TCF while the lawsuit to remove the Forest Service fence is still ongoing.

    I can’t say as I would necessarily oppose more PZP over removals taking place every 3 years, because I do see it as a lesser of two evils. I was very surprised by the poor turnout at last September’s adoption and would hate for future youngsters to end up lost in the system. With 50,000 wild horses in holding, there is a big supply and very little demand.

    But then what about years where you have a higher foal death count? If the PZP restrictions are tightened that is made into the manage plan then there is no getting out of it. The BLM won’t budge to increase the PZP age range again once this goes through. Once you give an inch to the government, you never get that inch back. There’s pretty big pros and cons on both sides of the argument. Personally I don’t know where I fall and probably won’t the BLM releases an EA for comment with detailed proposed actions.

    I sometimes ponder over taking a more staggered approach to PZP. Instead of having the 5-10 year old bear the burden as a big block, it would be more off and on. For example, we could say that a mare will be taken off PZP and allowed to foal a total of 3-5 times from ages 5-15.

    For example: Say the default plan is that every mare is taken off PZP for years 5, 8, 9, and 11. The weather is really terrible one year, they can’t get up to dart, and as a result there is a big foal crop the next year. There could be measures in place to say that if a mare falls under the no PZP category that year, but is pregnant or has a foal at her side, then she gets PZP that year anyway. Or if there is a mare whose foals have not survived (or a bad year for foals in general) you could relax the PZP for that mare until a foal does survive, so we don’t lose the lineage.

    Is it complicated? Absolutely! (Welcome to my brain) Clearly I need to think this through much better than my daydreaming at work has allowed thus far. That’s why I’m throwing it out there to hear others thoughts. The Pryor herd is small enough that I believe there has to be a way to structure the PZP to make it a little more individual to each mare and season while still passing through the bureaucratic red tape. This is a small herd that is very carefully tracked by the public and BLM alike.

    Reply
    • wildinthepryors

      Thank you Rachel. Yes, I agree with the use of PZP as well. But to only allow a mare to reproduce once, at the age of 5, seems to harsh to me. There are so many variable in the Pryors that are not seen in the Assateague Islands. I would even support more aggressive PZP as you have touched base on. But not this.

      Reply
      • reevesimagery

        No, I definitely agree that following the exact Assateague model would be the end of this herd. That cannot happen.

    • Sarah Griffin

      With a such a small and publicly watched herd, I think a staggered approach that can also be individualized could definitely work. I was definitely able to follow your thoughts!

      Reply
    • Sarah Griffin

      I am also wondering exactly what TCF has said in their letters to the BLM and what the BLM has posted here. They haven’t posted much detail, but it seems like rather drastic turn around from what TCF has said in the past. I know they have said before when there’s been comments for scoping notices that pzp is now kind of a “necesary evil.” Yes it is manipulating nature and while they’d like to see the herds naturally mangage themselves, pzp use is better than having very frequent round ups. I feel like this statement about Assateague has gone way off from that standpoint. So I’m wondering if this letter is making things seem different from actual ideas presented. I don’t have a lot of trust for the BLM and this seems like such a drastic turn.

      Reply
      • wildinthepryors

        I agree Sarah. I hope TCF comes out with a statement. I want to know the details of their position on this. I may be in support of it, if I knew more about their exact position. Right now, this is making us all believe that their stance is the same as Assateague. I believe there needs to be more information in that scoping notice.

    • Clarissa

      That is exactly what I was thinking for the PZP program Rachel! :) Let the mares have an on and off treatment over their lives. Since we all can see where some older mares and stallions only have one or two or maybe even no offspring; If they continually had foals through out their life, I’m thinking there’ll be more chance of their lines staying intact. I’m also thinking a mare’s first offspring and her last should not be removed, as in Damsel’s case; since none are guarenteed to to live a long life (Cabaret, Fortunatas, Ferdinand, Goldrush, etc.)

      Reply
      • wildinthepryors

        Hi Clarissa. Thank you for your comment. I agree, I would like to see a PZP program that is more flexible and not so “cookie cutter”.

      • Sarah Griffin

        I definitely agree with that! It frustrates me when a mare’s offspring is removed under the assumption that she will continue to reproduce. In the wild there are so many variables that it’s hard to make assumptions. .

  7. LoriG

    I like some of your thinking reeves…but just what if after all of the years of PZP it would not reverse? I am just leery of these things.
    Geez…just take some of the fences down and let Mother Nature be in charge!!!! Then there would not be a need for all of this controversy! Wishful thinking and knowing that this will probably never happen. ) : So we have to try to make the best of what we choices we have.

    Reply
    • reevesimagery

      I absolutely see what your saying, Lori. Mares like Bella (Belluah?) and the Black ended up permanently sterile as a result of the initial testing done on them. I do not believe that is a problem anymore? But we would need to be wary. I would suggest we test before any mass implementation. Take the 13 or 14 year olds off the PZP, and see what the percentage is of those who conceive vs. not conceive compared with the data of the mares that have been under the current 5-10 plan.

      Mother Nature is always the way to go. Though they would have to let the area’s cats get up in numbers again to let her be truly effective.

      Reply
      • LoriG

        That would be a real good test…it would give some insight as to any after affects of the pzp and if the mares would conceive. Also to take into consideration is if a group of mares were left totally alone, would they have a foal every year, or every other year? Would they indeed have the instinct to control their own population with the available forage on their designated and allowed land? Just some food for thought.

      • Sarah Griffin

        I definitely agree. Even before the pzp program was implemented not every mare foaled every year. Of course there are always some exceptions. But mares also generally stopped foaling as they entered their older years. And this was all a natural process. I think it would definitely be something interesting to look at. And taking a group of 13/14 year olds off pzp wouldn’t cause too much of a drastic population increase even if they all foaled, which I doubt they all would. Even now not all of the mares in the “pzp free” window foal all of the five years.

  8. wildinthepryors

    If someone had told me 3 years ago, that I would be disagreeing with Ginger about PZP being too aggressive, I would of told them it would never happen.

    I spent a long time one evening camping with Ginger and having a conversation about PZP. I had just met with Jay Kirkpatrick in May of 2010 and got a better understanding of it. Ginger was very much against PZP at all at that time.

    I am in total shock of this turn of events. I would like to work with all those involved with the horses. I am not against PZP, but I am against this micromanagement of the herd to this extent.

    Reply
    • LoriG

      I met with Jay Kirkpatrick last year and did get a better understanding of the drug. I still believe that using this drug as the only means to manage the population on the Pryor’s would be a huge mistake and would cost this herd it’s very existence.

      Reply
    • reevesimagery

      So disclaimer: y’all know my bias tends to be favorable to TCF. They have been involved in the legal actions trying to save my beloved Southern Wyoming herds from elimination, one of their employees is super awesome & I love hanging out with her and gossiping about horses, etc. Out of the way? Good.

      To me, this document doesn’t sound like it was The Cloud Foundation who proposed an Assateague model. They are mentioned in the ‘Description of Project’. Talk of an Assateague model is mentioned in the ‘Background’ section and says that in 2010 a large number of people who commented on their scoping suggested that model. So unless TCF wrote to the BLM in 2010 urging them to adopt an Assateague model and encouraged their supporters to do so as well, the two are actually not related.

      I don’t know what range TCF actually was going for when they suggested more PZP. Therefore I can’t agree or disagree. But I do think it is a pretty safe bet from the previous track record that Ginger would not suggest the BLM that they should work up a proposal that would only allow one year of foaling for every mare.

      Reply
      • wildinthepryors

        Thanks Rachel. Ginger and I have had our differences, but I in no way intended this post to be a slam to TCF. I was simply publishing a public document. (I just wanted to make that clear, not to you, but to everyone) I like being able to communicate with Ginger. It is nice be able text or call and ask about a horse if one of us is up there and wants to know something. I hope that can always be the case. I wish she had given me a heads up on this coming out. It was a bit of a shock. Hopefully TCF will come out with a public statement clarifying the path they want to follow with the increase PZP. I would hope and really like it if someone who represents TCF would make an official comment here, so that we call can see it and there will be no confusion.

      • Sarah Griffin

        I just posted a similar statment to this above, before I got down to these comments! I definitely support TCF and they are the reason I fell in love with this amazing herd of horses. I also support the ideas of many of the people who post and comment on this blog. I think it’s a good idea when everyone can come together for the good of the horses.

      • Linda D

        I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about Lori G’s concerns for the Dryhead horses, and I sure wish we could be hearing from Matt on that one.

        As many of you know, it was the sight of those beautiful horses, the sounds of their hoofbeats on the rocky ground and their whinnying to each other that awakened the awesome passion in me that I now have for the whole herd. They’ll have a special place in my heart always. I believe that anyone who visits the Range without experiencing the beauty of the Dryhead is missing out on a lot—and those who ONLY experience IT, if they do it correctly, will have a wonderful adventure they’ll never forget.

        I am reluctant, however, to feel that the herd should be managed to such a degree that the control formula be altered by area. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that the makeup of the population of any given area will naturally fluctuate over periods of time thru the makeup of the family groups and the social dynamics, along with the gathers, and that it might not be a good idea to try to manipulate it for the convenience of visitors—including me. My instincts tell me that when the ratio of mares/stallions decreases in a geographical area of the Range (like the Dryhead), the deep-seated urge to socialize and procreate will cause stallions to venture into other areas and bring back new mates. If the forage and water is there, they will come back. The horses are free to roam the whole Range, and they do, as we have seen many times over. With some time, NO MORE REMOVALS for a while and hopefully no more tragic accidents (altho it was only stallions who were lost that way), I think the Dryhead population will even out and be OK, even tho the “luck of the draw” has hit them hard recently. And if people want to see the horses, they will have to do what they have to do to accomplish that.

        All that said, I too, am hopeful that the BLM has some leeway allowing them to respond in a timely manner to various factors contributing to the need, or the lack of need, to reduce the herd size. However, I have this vision in my head of our monster government (Fedzilla), trying to “turn on a dime” and it’s not a pretty picture. It has to be very frustrating for the people who care about what they are doing to deal with all the red tape.

        Kudos again to guys like Jared for what he accomplishes.

        The horses who inhabit the Dryhead are an integral part of the big picture, so I’m all for whatever is deemed by the experts to be the best course of action to ensure that they can remain there—as happy and as healthy as possible.

        Thank you Sandy, for providing this source of information and ideas about our beloved Pryor Mountain Mustangs. :)

      • Linda D

        Also, I concur with Rachel Reeve’s conclusions in her 4/5/13 post with the “disclaimer”. I hope we don’t find out we’re wrong.

  9. travelandnature

    Since people seem confused about TCF’s intentions has anyone tried to contact them via email or phone with clarifying questions? Also, where does it say that the Pryor mares will follow a similar PZP plan to A Asateague? (Sorry if I missed it in my initial speed reading. We all have our stealth moments, Rachel’s are at work, mine are before class.)

    Reply
    • Effie Orser

      You are correct. No one said anything about the Pryors following the Assateague model. It was meant as a reference of a successful PZP program. Sorry if I did not communicate that properly. That is the great thing about PZP it can customized for the situation on a yearly basis.

      Reply
      • wildinthepryors

        Thanks Effie. But with all the government red tape that is necessary to file and get approved, would it be possible to adjust a plan on a year to year basis in the Pryors? That would be something to look into.

  10. knotrune

    If only mares are allowed one foal each, which presumably come out at around 50/50 colts and fillies, the population would halve and then halve again each generation until it vanished! How is that a sustainable model? To keep the population at a stable number each mare should have two foals, one for her and one for the stallion. And the genetics are only preserved in the female line too, surely some stallions sire several foals and some none? That’s just logic.

    Reply
  11. Savannah

    I honestly think it’s better than rounding them up… but I also don’t think it’s fair to allow mares only one foal each. If they PZP any mares this year, I’d hope they’d do some of the 2 year old mares, since 3 is a little young to be foaling. Of course, like you said, it might be good to wait a few years in case the PZP isn’t reversible.

    Reply
    • wildinthepryors

      Hi Savannah. Thank you for your comment. I agree, I support the use of PZP to help eliminate the need for gathers.

      They already have a program in place. They PZP the 2-3 year olds, then the 11 year olds and up. They have been PZPing since mid February. (to see what mares have not been PZPed you can read my post about “Who will foal this year”. The waiting I was talking about is to wait and see if this current program is more effective now that they have the NPS helping with the injections. Also, they got out much earlier this year, and that should make a big difference as well.

      Reply
      • LoriG

        I agree with you Sandy about waiting to see how this plan will do because of the NPS helping with the application of the pzp, and also the removal’s last year. I agree with the use of pzp to help with controlling population growth, but again I don’t agree that it should be the ONLY means of controlling the population. I am all for trying to expand the range so that the AML can be raised, then there would not be such a great need for removals or an aggressive pzp plan. That should be what we are working towards and I know it won’t happen over night, but it is one of my goals for this herd. I know TCF and the PMWMC have been trying to get range expansion too but dealing with the government entities can be very frustrating as not all of them actually “like” the horses, but we must persuade them that it is the right thing to do.

  12. LoriG

    That sounds very logical to me, but what if the two foals did not survive…or what if just one of them survived? That is why I like the idea of a pzp plan that would allow for some change year to year and give the BLM some flexibility when it comes to deciding which mares should be allowed to foal. They have enough knowledge on all of the horses on this range that they could implement the pzp from year to year. I do not know if that can happen or if the adopted plan has to be consistent and be followed exactly from year to year. However, I believe it is something to be brought up and looked into.
    I do not like the fact that these horses or any wild horses (50,000,00) for that matter are living their lives in holding facilities, or that some of these horses go to less than acceptable homes, but it is the government’s fault for this and their “failed” plan. They need to come up with a better way to manage these wild herds. I do support pzp use and I do support “small” gathers as ways to manage these wild horse herds. I only say this because it is one or the other or both, there is NO other choice.
    Since the over population of people seems to be ok with the government and the land keeps getting smaller and smaller where wild animals can exist, it is the wildlife that gets the boot every time and to me it is not fair to them. They all were living just fine until we started killing, managing, fencing and deciding how many and where they could live.

    Reply
  13. Clarissa

    I have a question about the mares that are barren or semi-barren because of the experimental program in the early years, ’00-’04. Are they darted with PZP like the rest of the 11+ mares? or are they left alone since they are barren? (Amethyst, Aurora, Adona, Beulah, Baileys, Celt, etc.) I would hope they are not darted, since it’s a waste of darting a barren mare, yet also gives them a chance to conceive if they get a fertile period.

    Also, how is this PZP program working??? I read in one of the Cloud books that in one year over thirty foals were born, but only twenty survived until the end of summer because of mountain lions. I’m sure some may not have survived the winter. So think about what the numbers would look like from year to year with this information, when PZP was not even in the picture.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I do not want to see predation at these numbers. But, with the PZP program: lions are eliminated, less foals are born, but almost all of them are surviving than before, and many mares may be living longer than before; which means larger gathers. I see mares are happier with more foals, even though they are not as healthy as mares with no foals. That’s how I see it. Sorry if I’m repeating things we all know.

    Reply
    • wildinthepryors

      Hi Clarissa. Thanks for bringing this back to our attention. As for your first question about if they are still darting the barren mares. I do not have the answer to that. But I will make a note of looking for that PZP mark on them. Sometimes that can be visible for several months. You could contact Jared and ask him that question.
      The PZP program (this is my opinion) for the last few years has not been working that well. The reasons I see is this: As of 3 years ago, Matt was the only one darting the horses. That is a lot on one person. The spring of 2011 was a huge snow fall and trying to even get to the horses to try and PZP them was a huge on taking and adding to the fact that I believe Matt was the only one out there. So that is why so many mares had foals that should not have in the spring of 2012 (last year). In the spring of 2012 the NPS started to help with these injections, but I believe they may have started to late (in March and April). So again, we are seeing some horses foaling that should not have. Now in 2013, the NPS and the BLM are darting AND they started in February. So I predict that we will hopefully be seeing a more successful program starting in the spring of 2014, with mares only foaling that should. There of course will always be the mare where it does not take or the mare that is very hard to find etc. But for the most part, I believe it will be working better.
      That is why instead of rushing into a more aggressive program, I would like to give it a few years to see how it all washes out.
      But I do also think that the PZP program could be better. The current program runs through 2015, just two more years. I would like to see it stay in place until then, then go in and rework it, once we see what an actual good year looks like.
      Biggest thing: don’t rush into something that may have results that could be detrimental to the herd.

      Reply
      • Clarissa

        Well said :) Though my only concern is darting the mares early in the year might produce foals born too early when the younger mares come of age. Like you said earlier, a more flexible plan be introduced and not one in ‘cookie-cutter’ fashion. :)

      • LoriG

        I agree with you on that Sandy, although I would like to see the plan change a bit, especially in the Dry Head part of the range. I know I keep repeating myself about this fact but most visitors who come here to see the wild horses rent a car or drive their own car. Those vehicles do not have 9 ply tires & the high leverage to make it up to the top of the Pryor’s where most of the herd lives in the summer. So they can only drive out on the paved road (hwy 37 north) to see some of the wild horses. This road goes through the Big Horn Canyon National Recreation area and that is where the Dry Head horses live. So, there are not that many horses who live there and then add the removal’s and the pzp and you have a very small number of horses who live there or who will reproduce there.
        I would like to see them not pzp any mares in that part of the range so that there are foals and a few more horses that the public can see.
        I would like to see this included into any new pzp plan.
        I also would like to let things as they are as far as the rest of the herd goes and see how this plan plays out, now that they have more people doing the darting and are doing it in a timely manner.

      • Sarah Griffin

        I think that the barren mares are still darted under this plan. Which is something I’ve wanted to see changed. I think they should get the chance to see if they would get pregnant. Aztec and Texas were both barren for many years because of the usage of pzp when they were young and then they evenutally did foal, but was also out of season. The same happened with Audobon and in her case as well as Texas this one time they were able to get pregnant and they haven’t reproduced since. And Echo is the only foal Celt was able to have. I’d really like to see them, as well as the others you’ve mentioned not be darted.

  14. amelie88

    How interesting, I never even considered the fertility control plans for the Assateague horses (which is definitely closer to where I live and I have always wanted to visit since I read Misty of Chincoteague as a little girl). I don’t think I really took into account that the horses wouldn’t be allowed to reproduce at will. While I am not crazy about it, I suppose it’s a necessary evil, otherwise you’ve got too many horses running around in too small an area? For Assateague, since it is an island, it could easily become overrun very quickly and I guess that is why they are so aggressive about it. Also the horses there do not seem to be as wild as the Pryor horses. I’ve seen videos of horses crossing streets and hanging out very close to people because they’ve gotten into the habit of being fed (though it is discouraged).

    Reply
  15. Linda D

    Just wondering how this Scoping Notice came to your attention, Sandy? Are you the “Interested Party” it is addressed to, or is that just a general term for anyone who might see it published? I’m not at all well informed on how all these things work, but it seems to me that the line “The Cloud Foundation has requested the BLM to intitiate more fertility control on the PMWHR” is a very ambiguous statement at best, without more specific facts and information, which I’m sure would have had to accompany the request for it to be considered. I can’t help but wonder why it is in this document at all, unless there wouldn’t be a Scoping Notice without the said request being received by the BLM. Is there a Scoping Notice everytime an idea is expressed that the BLM believes warrants consideration, or how does a Scoping Notice originate? I haven’t had the time required to look at all of TCF’s publications to see what it is they may have submitted to the BLM on this subject, so I appreciate seeing the comments of those of you who have seen more than I have.

    I’m not a very good data analyst so a lot of the details genealogy and ratios kind of things go over my head, but my gut feeling is that it is better to prevent having to take horses off the Range at any age, as much as possible, but it is also VITAL that the genetic viability of the herd be of paramount importance. In other words, genetic viability trumps any other idea. I know the possibility of a mare becoming barren must be one of the criteria considered, but I also know that can happen from problems from a difficult birth, etc., too. The most current knowledge of the effects of PZP would be the guide for any program and is the best we can do. And, there is no way anyone is going to be able to guarantee that nothing is going to go wrong no matter what plan is followed. We’re talking about Nature here, and there could be a disaster at some point even if humans weren’t interfering. The only way there could be a “hands off’ environment for wildlife is if we went back 200 years, and that’s not reality.

    As far as the PZP program goes, I’m in agreement with those of you who don’t see a need to rush in a new direction. I too believe the plan in force now will work better for the coming foaling season and then maybe better yet for the next one, as those performing the tasks improve their skills. A lot of time and effort has gone into the analysis that has resulted in the current formula, and it should have a chance to work—“God willing and the creek don’t rise”. I’m all for learning from plans implemented elsewhere, but agree that each area is unique and it’s plan should be formulated accordingly. Everything else with these things seems to move at a snail’s pace, and that might be good in this case. :)

    When I have the time to look further into all this, my feelings may change about some things, but this is where I’m at right now. My biggest concern is genetic viability and having persons at the helm who are concerned about that, too. I believe that if that is at the core of all actions, the other factors will work themselves out.

    Thanks for all the info and ideas being shared here. I truly wish I had more knowledge of all of it to contribute. :)

    Reply
  16. wildinthepryors

    Hi Linda. Thank you for your comment. You bring up some very good points. I was looking forward to (your comment) and hoping you would post one on this post.

    Anyone can view this document. It is on the BLM website, main page: http://www.blm.gov/mt/st/en/fo/billings_field_office.html. But, I am on the “interested Party” list.

    I was in contact with Ginger about this and expected her to have a statement released by now to give us all more exact detail on what they are thinking (or asking for). But I have not seen or heard anything yet. I will certainly keep everyone up to date with anything I see or hear.

    Reply
    • Linda D

      I’m thinking that this deal is a bit strange. 1) Why wasn’t more detail included on what TCF is proposing in the BLM’s announcement that this issue is being considered? and 2) Why isn’t said information already on the TCF website if it’s actually already been submitted to the BLM? Hmmmmmm…

      Reply
      • wildinthepryors

        Yes, the whole thing is a bit confusing. I have contacted Jared to see if he can or will provide me with more information on this. I will let you know if and when I hear back from him.

  17. travelandnature

    I have been in contact with TCF too and the time line they gave me was that they would get the statement out this week. It’s only Tuesday, so we all just need to be patient

    Reply
    • wildinthepryors

      I am trying. We only have until May 7th to make our comments. I want a bit of time to weigh it all out and I will be in the Pryors for part of that. So time is important.

      Reply
  18. wildinthepryors

    I have my letter composed and ready to send. I am giving TCF a bit more time to produce their thoughts at how they want changes. But I am doubting I will change the contents of my letter. If anyone wants to see the letter I wrote, please contact me by email. wildinthepryors@aol.com I may publish it at a later date, as it will be public property once I send it.

    Reply
  19. wildinthepryors

    I just received this email from Jared and it does make things a bit clearer:

    The scoping letter pretty much explains it. TCF isn’t the only party that has wondered if the current PZP prescription is adequate, based upon the details provided in the scoping notice about demographics, efficacy, timing due to access, etc TCF just requested BLM do more. The first place to start to determine the feasibility is a scoping notice. There has been no proposal from any party for an Assateague model, that died in 2010 when the preliminary current EA was issued and the public saw exactly what they asked the BLM to do. This is an opportunity for the public to send BLM a proposal, instead of BLM sending one out and trying to read the tea leaf’s. Any scoping comments provided to the BLM are public record.

    Hope this clarify’s things

    Jared Bybee

    Reply
    • Linda D

      Thank you Jared, for your input. These things aren’t as easily understood clearly by a lay person like me, so I appreciate any explanations I can get.

      Would it be possible for us to know who else supports a more agressive administration of PZP? I have a vested interest in knowing if those parties are for or against maintaining the genetic viability of the herd, or if their main, or only concern is protecting resources for sport prey animals. I would also be concerned about how they feel about maintaining the primitive characteristics within the herd, since the comparative purity of the old bloodlines in this herd is what makes it so unique. I do love ALL wild horses, but we’re not talking about just any herd of animals here.

      I don’t recall any but TCF being mentioned in the Scoping Notice, but I will read it again to see what I missed the first few times. :)

      In trying to think of things that might make it easier to administer the PZP to as close to 100% of the prescribed list as possible, I wondered if it would be feasible, and helpful, to place food in selected areas (similar to bait trapping but without corrals) to draw the horses in and make them easier to find and dart. I know it wouldn’t be really simple, but might be worth the effort. An additional side effect would be that the hay would help them thru the winter just a bit. Just a thought.

      Thanks, Jared and Sandy.

      Reply
  20. PZP part 2 | travelandnature

    [...] was no direct statement from TCF nor any specifics on who the ‘others’ were yet when posted here there was much speculation on the stance of TCF about PZP use. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for [...]

    Reply

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