Posted by: starhorsepax | December 16, 2010

Reintroduction of Wild Horses

Wild Horses and the Ecology

In Britain and Mongolia, the native wild horse is being reintroduced to benefit the ecology.

Meanwhile, in the US, the Bureau of Land Management claims they are ruining it.

The Environment:

  • In Mongolia, it’s the Przwalski horse, also known as the takhi. The third family has been brought into what is called an Ecoregion. Specifically, the Altai-Sayan Ecoregion is to sustain the biodiversity and conserve endangered species.  The World Wildlife Federation recognizes this as a region where they make a scientific effort to study and restore the ecosystem there.
  • In Britain, it’s the Konik, a descendant of the Tarpan.  They eat plants which contribute to biodiversity in their fen home. They were reintroduced in 2002.  It’s a known fact that they were a keystone species in the region that were wiped out and scientists mean to study their return.

America is the origin of the horse. It died out here, was reintroduced and since termed feral.

Feral.  That’s the problem, the scapegoat word.   For it means that the National Park service and Wildlife interests don’t have to get involved in protection.  They are considered non native.  They are considered native if other countries reintroduce them after they were extinct. But in America? Nope. Never mind, too, that if horses are returning natives, they are likely good for the environment, and certainly not the wreckers of it.

So that dubious job lands in the hands of the Bureau of Land Management.  Who never wanted it or them, who have the cattle lobbyists best interest at heart.  Never mind that cattle are not returning, not native at all, or that millions graze the range.  Never mind that science both here and in other countries show that farm animals like cattle, not wild grazers like the horses, can demolish the environment in concentrated numbers.

Kiger Mustangs

Kiger Mustangs

The Tourism

I’ve heard it said on various tv shows promoting help for pregnant teens, that kids that dump babies in dumpsters can’t imagine anyone else wanting them.  They are that tied up in their own point of view. Such seems to be the case of the BLM and Department of Interior.  Yet evidence suggests that others do value wild horses.

  • The Wild Horse Adventure tours of of Corolla, South Carolina are rated number 1 by Trip Adviser. It also got written up in the London Times.  The star of the show, naturally, is the Corolla wild horse.
  • The Chincoteague Pony Penning gets an explosion of tourists every year.  The swim itself only lasts 3 minutes but there is still the run for the corrals, viewing ponies and watching the foals to be sold and watching the wild horse ride.  Tourists watch the release and visitors to Assateague island may find themselves slowing to watch the returned ponies on the side (or occasionally, in) the road.  It’s changed dramatically from the simple days of Misty of Chincoteague but the popularity never has died.

How do these places handle the wild horses?

  • Well, the chincoteague pony population, of course, is kept low by the pony penning and sale, with proceeds going to the fire department.  They also use contraceptives: carefully dosed as instructed on a limited number of horses.
  • The Corolla ponies are endangered. Forget wiping them out, they are seeking federal protection for the limited number left.

So why won’t the Bureau of Land Management which is supposed to balance the needs of the land, ‘balance’ the horses in a scientific fashion? Why can’t they prove their methods?

Sheer inconvenience.  The cattle lobbyists are a big industry.  The head of BLM, Salazar, is a cattle rancher.  He is hardly a neutral party.  Better to have that million cattle, it can line their pockets.  The horses can’t.  Then their are the foreign concerns.  Decry it as a lie all they want, it looks mighty suspicious when foreign investors want to study the land for new energy sources right smack where a wild horse herd is suddenly shrunk to nothing by the BLM.

Apparently the BLM is caught in a time warp.  This isn’t the 1800s, but they are still fighting the old range wars, where cattle, homesteaders and sheep herders feuded. As for environmental protection, they had never heard of it.

The BLM isn’t about science.  They are illusionists, directing attention elsewhere while they do whatever they please.  They convince the politicians: well, we don’t want starving wild horses do we?

Warning. Sarcasm alert.

We don’t want starving wild horses do we?

Really?  I love horses, but I don’t see them gather starving elk, mountain lions, oh, yeah, they do sometimes take care of wolves. They want to shoot wolves.  Same reason as the horses. They are pesky.  Can’t have starving wolves, they might come down on the cattle.  Of course, they can’t come down on the other wildlife- like horses -because horses aren’t considered wildlife,and we’d rather have the cattle. So much kinder to murder the wolves and leave the horses imprisoned for crimes, convicted of false evidence.

But there are so many more important things.  American economy is struggling.

Really?  Wasting Millions of dollars rounding up and penning indefinitely the wild horses has no effect on the economy? The economy can’t be struggling that bad if we can spare it.  Or maybe imprisoning all those horses is more important than educating the children or locking up murderers.

Health care

Air quality, environmental conditions all lead to poor health. So does stress. How to get away from it?  Get out, go on vacation, even if it’s just a drive in the west.  See a herd of wild mustangs in all their glory. Oh. Right can’t do that.  They are being wiped out and they are rounded up on private land, not like the Chincoteague one. Wouldn’t want some pesky visitor get upset over that foal bleeding, or the helicopter ramming the horse.  It’s more important and more important to fight that crowd at Disney world.  Much more relaxing to fight the traffic to get in a place like that, get the bill for the souvenirs, the hotel, the overpriced concession food…..Are you all right?  You look a little green….Maybe you should see a doctor.

Energy:

We need new energy sources.  Gotta get free of that foreign oil dependence.  Oh. Wait. Those companies looking into the energy sources and mining on the land horses are running on…who owns them?  Foreigners?  Really? Oh, but the BLM roundups were purely for the horses benefit.  Can’t have them starving.  Pure coincidence that….several…were right in line with those energy studies and plans.

end sarcasm alert.

…..I wonder now, when I look at the old west.  We are so much more enlightened or so we think.  We know the ‘indians’ we knew from childhood westerns are really native americans and they  weren’t always the bad guys, the cowboys and army weren’t always heroes.  We say, “It wouldn’t happen today, but we can’t change yesterday.”  But I’m no longer so sure.  The only difference between today and yesterday is that today, the people who would steal the land know they have to hide it and justify it better, at least to congress.  They have some wariness of reporters and viewers and the internet.  But it would happen today.  It is happening today Unless we find a way to stop it.  Because greed doesn’t stop for time, place, or space.

Sources:

Mongolian Wild Horse Reintroduction

Przwalski Horse

Wildwood Trust

BBC News Story

OBX Horses endangered

Corolla Wild Horse Fund

Polish Ponies to the rescue

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