The BLM has announced the beginning of a plan to remove more wild horses from the internationally acclaimed Cloud’s Herd in the Pryor Mountains.
The herd was decimated by BLM just 2 years ago in 2009 when the horses were stampeded by helicopters and 52 wild horses were permanently removed from the range.
Then the BLM reconstructed a fence that has cut the horses off from their traditional late summer and fall feeding grounds in the Custer National Forest. Litigation is pending over that.
With this removal Cloud’s Herd is likely to lose 45-75 horses, leaving the population below the minimum necessary to maintain genetic viability, 120-150. According to The Cloud Foundation, the herd has not even grown in the past year. The population may actually have declined by 4% as 8 horses are missing. Also according to TCF, the majority of adult mares have been administered PZP, a birth control measure, which is likely to mean fewer foals in 2012-2013.
The plans are in the public scoping process phase which is the initial stage in developing an Environmental Assessment (EA) that analyzes the effects of the proposed roundup and removal of wild horses.
The BLM has said the horses will not be stampeded by a helicopter this time. Instead, BLM says it will use bait and water trapping and "herding" to round up the wild horses. Some mares will be administered PZP and returned to the wild.
But there is no reason to remove these horses other than to continue to try to wipe out the herd.
BLM accepted input on this proposal until August 30, 2011. Here is more information.