Home

Exclusive: Wild Horse and Wild Burro Good News and Bad News from Twin Peaks HMA

25 Comments

strip banner

143921428x_coverStraight from the Horse’s Heart

Exclusive: Wild Horse and Wild Burro Good News and Bad News from Twin Peaks HMA

 

Exclusive report from “Grandma” Gregg, Environmental Researcher and Jesica Johnston, B.A., M.A in Biology and Environmental Planning

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________

“The forage has grown back from last summer’s fire and there is an abundance of food…”

DSC06304_zps35963a14 (1)Last weekend several experienced wildlife observers with binoculars and long-distance camera lens thoroughly combed 77 miles of the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area (HMA) and found only 27 wild horses and 5 wild burros. Is this good news or bad news? This is good news for those few wild horses and burros that remain on their legally designated land, but bad news for the Twin Peaks HMA as a whole. The forage has grown back from last summer’s fire and there is an abundance of food as was obvious by the condition of the few vigorous and healthy wild horses and burros that were observed, but this is still a small and discouraging number of wild horses and burros. This survey is consistent with previous surveys and documentation supporting the impacts of an enormous and devastating roundup in 2010. There seems to be few remaining wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks HMA. In our two days of ground observation the BLM’s mantra of the term “excess” was on our minds as we traveled numerous miles; most of which had nodsc06304_zps35963a14-1 wild horses or burros or even signs of wild horses and burros. This public land is set aside by Congress principally for wild horses and burros, but there are very few that remain since the roundup of 2010. It is hard to believe when the BLM says there are 1,750 out here again…

Click (HERE) for the entire independent observers’ summary report and many photos.

There has been no further official round-up announcement for Twin Peaks since last fall’s after the Rush Fire Environmental Assessment was published by BLM stating that they were going to capture and remove all but about six-hundred wild horses and burros. It is unknown at this time when this capture has been rescheduled for but in the meantime BLM did an aerial population survey in April of this year and stated there were 1,750 wild horses and burros on the Twin Peaks HMA. This data was FOIA’d and although that number was written on the aerial log, they only photographed 460. They had two photographers in the helicopter and per their map a very thorough coverage of the HMA was done, but they only physically photographed 460 wild horses and burros. Even though we paid with our tax money for four BLM employees and the cost of the helicopter to document the actual population of wild horses and burros … they did not. Over the four days in flight only 26% of the wild horses and burros that were “counted” were photographed.

In fact there were far more photos taken of coyotes, elk, antelope, and other landscape features than of wild horses and burros. Although there was ample opportunity, this left 1.290 wild horses and burros that they “counted” undocumented with photos during the census flight. Why? The aerial census over the four days clearly fails to sufficiently document BLM’s stated wild horse and burro population.

In the meantime, this Thursday will be an important day for the future of the Twin Peaks HMA and all wild horses and burros. This is the first time in the history of the Wild Horse Act that an Appeals Court will determine whether the BLM’s interpretation of the Act is consistent with Congress’s intent to protect these living symbols of the West over 40 years ago.

The 2010 Twin Peaks roundup resulted in the permanent removal of more than 1,500 wild horses and 160 burros from the range. As of August 2012, 977 of the wild horses and burros removed from the range were still in “holding” and hundreds more have died or been sold by BLM to “questionable” buyers and they cannot be accounted for. The BLM failed to consider data regarding ecological resources in the herd management area, and also illegally harassed and captured horses that were not even considered “excess” by BLM’s own standards. Don’t miss this important hearing – please fill the courtroom and show your support for the Twin Peaks wild horses and burros. They need you there…

What: Appeal Hearing for the Twin Peaks Wild Horses and Burros
When: Thursday, August 29, 2 pm – please arrive no later than 1:30 pm
Where: Ninth Circuit Courthouse, 125 South Grand Ave., Pasadena

Click (HERE) to download complete report

 

BLM to get rid of last wild horses in California:

28 Comments

  John Boering

NEWS ALERT!!

__________________________________________________________________________________________

November 6, 2012

The BLM Eagle Lake is proposing to remove 600 wild horses plus burros from the Twin Peaks HMA. They are claiming that there are currently 950 horses on the entire HMA.

A recent independent aerial survey estimated that there are less than 400 wild horses remaining here. BLM so far, has stated that the proposal will be in “full force in effect” once it is signed, without public knowledge or input.

A copy of the independent population survey is attached with a link to the supporting pictures.

Less than half of Twin Peaks HMA burned. There are over 400,000 acres of unburned range and the burn areas are patchy and still have some forage available for the wild horses and burros. The BLM has failed to consider alternatives like protective fencing or some relocation to the unburned areas. This plan signals the end of California’s last viable herd.

We need EVERYONE to Call and E-Mail Dean Bolstad IMMEDIATELY and ask him to reject the proposal.

His phone number is 775-861-6611 and his e-mail is      dean_bolstad@blm.gov

Sample E-mail Below

Dean Bolstad   dean_bolstad@blm.gov 

cc: Ken Collum (Eagle Lake field manager)  kcollum@blm.gov

cc: Dereck Wilson (Eagle Lake BLM)  dereck_wilson@blm.gov

I am writing to ask that you do not sign a decision to remove horses from Twin Peaks until you seriously consider alternatives. The proposal would reduce the herd numbers to well below low AML and threaten the continued health and existence of this herd. There is abundant forage in the burned area and there is the ample opportunity to protect the range through the preferred methods of protective fencing and/or minimal relocation of animals.

I am requesting that BLM reject this proposal – as the continued existence of this herd may hang in the balance. This plan has not fully considered the alternatives and has not substantiated that this is an emergency situation. Signing a decision to remove wild horses will be met with significant public opposition. Please assure me that the BLM is not going to proceed with this action without even giving the public notice and the opportunity to comment on such a proposal.

Sincerely,

Supporting Information

Twin Peaks HMA Aerial Population Survey Attached PDF

Link to 144 aerial photos from an independent population survey which estimated that less than 400 wild horses and a small population of burros are currently living in the Twin Peaks HMA.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/89702311@N03/

 

 

%d bloggers like this: