Some wild horse non-profits favor the use of artificial chemicals to control wild horse populations.
This obtuse and unnatural concept and resulting wild horse management policies subjects large and small wild horse families to genetic erosion and social disintermediation. Stallions can sense when a mare is infertile and will favor a fertile mare.
The use of PZP or GonaCon on any wildlife including wild horses is more or mankind’s foolishness; playing God with snapshot information and flying in the face of evolutionary biology and natural selection; nature’s way of controlling populations.
Excerpt below from: ‘Consequences of porcine zona pellucida immunocontraception to feral horses’-
Dr. Cassandra M.V. Nunez
“On Shackleford Banks, PZP-treated mares were up to 10 times more likely to change bands than their untreated counterparts (Nuñez et al. 2009; Figure 1). Moreover, mares receiving 4–6 total treatments were more likely to engage in the behavior than those receiving 1–3 or 0 treatments (Nuñez 2005, unpublished data). This is an important shift in behavior, as band stability, which is affected by the degree of female loyalty to the band stallion (Kaseda et al. 1995), is important to overall animal health. Decreases in band stability have been associated with decreased physical condition and female fecundity, increased parasite load and off spring mortality, and less time spent in preferred behaviors (Linklater et al. 1999). Moreover, increased mare turnover can disturb resident females (Monard and Duncan 1996), causing an overall increase in their levels of aggression (Rutberg 1990, Monard and Duncan 1996). In addition, repeated changes to band composition may prevent the establishment of stable female dominance hierarchies, which are critical to maintaining social cohesion among mares and overall group stability (Berger 1977, Houpt and Wolski 1980, Heitor et al. 2006). Evidence suggested that such decreases in mare fidelity to the band stallion were related to PZP-induced subfertility: mares that conceived more often over a 5-year period (i.e., mares that were left untreated or for which treatment had failed), were less likely to engage in group changing behavior (Nuñez et al. 2009; Figure 2).”
However, because wild horses are in most cases commingled with livestock on HMAs where ranchers have over the past 300-years culled native apex predators to maximize livestock production (making money), native species wild horses are no longer exposed to the evolutionary process of ‘natural selection’ by their co-evolved natural predators. The BLM has engaged in the systematic spread of misinformation, saying and writing that wild horses have no natural predators, which is a manifestly untrue statement, and is arguably a fraud being perpetrated upon the U.S. Congress and Americans.
In this video, the five-year old (bay) mare (‘Meadow’) seen is infertile and for three years she was Blue Boy’s (Appi stallion) only mare (she was the first mare he rounded-up as a bachelor). And thereby Meadow would ordinarily have natural rights as the lead (senior) mare when other mares came into the family. However, Meadow lost her seniority to the younger mare (Jessie) who bore a little filly to Blue Boy.
Sadly, now Meadow is treated like a third-wheel. I have known Meadow for 6-years, and it’s clear that she has become depressed compared to when she was in-favor with Blue Boy. This is merely one example of the social implications of any mare being made infertile by nature or by man’s doing using chemicals.
When mankind plays God with wildlife, it’s a crime against natural and the highest insult to the Creator and the perfect balance that was put in place prior to the arrival of mankind’s (includes womankind) ego and money driven motives.
Wild Horses must be rewilded using a plan that is both economically and ecologically appropriate. Upon careful examination in contrast to the facts on the ground and the consumerism driven economics that affect public lands, including HMAs, there is only one plan that meets those criteria; being both economically and ecologically appropriate.
Wild Horse Fire Brigade is the only plan that provides a path that accomplishes the following key objectives:
(i) Reduce loss of human life and injuries, loss of capital assets, the damage to watersheds, losses of heritage forests and threatened and endangered species of wildlife from catastrophic wildfire by a reduction of grass and brush fuels in areas appropriate for native species grazing but unsuited for livestock; and,
(ii) Reduce costs related to prescribed burning and mechanized fuel abatement; and,
(iii) Reduce costs for aerial fire attack in remote wilderness areas (up to $1 million/hour); and,
(iv) Reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases from excessive wildfire and prescribed burning; and,
(v) Reduce costs related to particulate pollution from wildfires and prescribed burning into atmosphere and subsequent additional health impacts added to those of catastrophic wildfire; and,
(vi) Reduce costs related to rounding up and storing American native wild horses and related litigation costs; and,
(vii) Reduce insured and uninsured losses due to catastrophic wildfire and loss/increased costs for homeowners wildfire insurance; and,
(viii) Immediately mitigate the massive depletion of megafauna (deer and elk) over the last five decades which has caused the excessive overgrowth of ground fuels by substituting another native species large-bodied herbivore (E. Caballus –American wild horse); and
(ix) Abate prion pathogens found on forage that’s causing the spread of CWD (chronic wasting disease) and death in cervids (elk, deer, moose) by grazing wild horses; the wild horse is the only large mammal/herbivore left in the U.S. that is resistant to prion disease; and
(x) Add valuable humus to forest soils and disperse non-digested seed for re-germination by grazing wild horses.
The Department of Interior and Bureau of Land Management need to evolve their policies to move past outdated and incorrect information and embrace the newest most enlightened information that is supported by the best science.
Rewilding native species American wild horses into areas that are economically and ecologically appropriate is the key to solving the big wild horse management issues at hand.
A recently published Study ‘Impacts Of Wild Horses On Wilderness Landscape And Wildfire’ makes clear the value proposition of wild horses living in the appropriate areas.
The Study can be seen here: https://grazelife.com/blog/wild-horse-fire-brigade-lessons-in-rebalancing-north-american-ecosystems-by-rewilding-equids/