Thursday, October 1, 2009

T. Roosevelt Nat'l Pk Wild Horses to go to Livestock Auction! - Need for an Amendment to the WFH&B Act

Wild Horses in our National Parks DO NOT enjoy the protections that the Wild Free-Roaming & Burros Act bestows upon our Nations Wild Horses on Forest Service, USDA or BLM lands. This is because of an oversite by 92nd Congress who wrote the law in 1971, in failing to realize that we have wild horses in our National Parks. Since the Act specifically mentions lands controlled by the BLM, USDA or Forest Service, ...and DOES NOT specifically mention lands under the National Park Service,,....those horses roaming upon National Park Lands remain unprotected - eventhough the National Park Service IS under the jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior!!! Surely the intention of the Act was to protect all wild horses and burros on all public lands. For entitlement to these protections, the Act describes our Nations wild horses and burros as: "all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States;" To me this would seem to indicate that any unbranded or unclaimed horse on ANY public land should be protected under this act, regardless who is "charged" with their care, custody and control. The "wild horse advocate" politicians need to look into this more fully and propose an amendment to the Act to include protections for the WFH&Bs who roam the public lands of our National Parks. A simpler way to word the Act would be to indicate that all wild horses and burros on all public lands should be protected by this Act, and that, IMHO, is the original intent of the Act.


As you will see when you read this article below, these National Park Service wild horses will be round up and sold without restrictions at a local livestock auction! Dont you think it is time we ask Congress to "fix" the oversite and AMEND the WFH&B Act to include those wild horses grazing on our National Park Lands?

Sec. 2. As used in this Act-

"Secretary" means the Secretary of the Interior when used in connection with public lands administered by him through the Bureau of Land Management and the Secretary of Agriculture in connection with public lands administered by him through the Forest Service;

"wild free-roaming horses and burros" means all unbranded and unclaimed horses and burros on public lands of the United States;

Click on title above for full text of the act;

See article below;

Wild horses capture Badlands spirit
Tribune Editorial | Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2009 2:00 am |

The wild horses in Theodore Roosevelt National Park are exquisite, rivaling with the bison for the spirit of the place and eclipsing the majestic elk in sheer intelligence and beauty. What may be the last roundup of TR wild horses will be held this fall and 90 animals will be sold at auction Oct. 23. The 2009 roundup marks a change for the better in the management of the wild horse herd.

A roundup-auction strategy has been used to cull the herd, keeping wild horse numbers under control. There are now about 165 wild horses in the park, and the ideal number falls somewhere between 60 and 90 horses. Unfortunately, the roundup in very difficult terrains has been forced to rely on helicopters, and the result has been expensive and has meant a high degree of stress for the horses -- as well as pilots.

A similar but more difficult situation exists for the elk in the park. Elk numbers are nearing 1,000, culling needs to be more extreme, birth control has been discarded as an effective option, and chronic wasting disease and restrictions on moving elk across state lines limit the benefits of roundup and redistribution. With the elk, volunteer and professional hunters are expected to be used to reduce the population, an unaccepted option for reducing horse numbers.

The National Park Service's management of horses in TR Park will begin to experiment with birth control. During the roundup, a new contraceptive vaccine will be administered to about 25 mares and a like number of non-vaccinated mares will be a control group. The vaccine can be administered with a dart gun.

It's easy to think of the national park as a wild place where animals and plants should be left to nature, but when it comes to bison, elk and horses, there's not enough space -- grass and water -- for unlimited numbers. The NPS must manage the wildlife in the park, for the sake of the animals as well as the habitat. Too many bison, horses or elk mean overgrazing, as serious an issue in the park as it would be with cattle on a ranch. The marginal grazing in the Badlands makes overuse an intense issue.

TR park needs to bring its numbers of large grazing animals down in line with what the thin vegetation can support.

The horses from the roundup will be auctioned at 2 p.m. Oct. 23 at Stockmen's Livestock in Dickinson. The market for horses has been very soft, but hopefully the unique nature of the wild horses will draw a strong bidding crowd, one made up of people capable of taking home a spirited animal.

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