The agency in charge of managing wild horses, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), is planning on rounding up all the horses in Cloud’s herd and removing 70 of them, plus some foals, beginning September 1. All mares that have foaled before will be given a two-year contraceptive drug, PZP-22, which is still in the experimental phases in the wild. The Cloud Foundation, which I started in 2005 to protect Cloud’s herd and all wild horses in the west, is opposed to this massive roundup. Noted geneticist Dr. Gus Cothran has written that the minimum population for this herd to maintain genetic viability is 150 to 200 horses. With this removal, Cloud’s herd would be left at only about 120 horses plus some foals.
In order to remove 70 horses the BLM will roundup older horses. I am fearful that many of the horses I have known since birth, which have lived their entire lives in the wild and that you have seen in the Cloud programs, will be removed. Many of the horses you’ll meet in the next Cloud program, Cloud: Challenge of the Stallions, may be gone from the wild by the time this program airs.
At this time the wild horses in the Arrowheads are healthy — some are even fat on the abundant grasses and wildflowers in the Arrowheads. The BLM states that the horse range can only support 120 horses and is being degraded. At this time about 40 horses live exclusively off the range, in the adjacent National Forest lands, where they are considered trespassers. In reply to the Cloud Foundation’s legal appeal, the Forest Service has postponed the building of a fence that would keep horses out of their historical range in the Forest Service lands.
I hope that Cloud and his family and herd will continue to live free in their wild home.
Please visit www.thecloudfoundation.org for more information, photos and action alerts if you are so inclined.
- Ginger Kathrens
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