Sunday, September 21, 2008

Losing Ground

The BLM Ely District has proudly announced the approval of their new Resource Management Plan (RMP). After undergoing a rigorous public Protest Period in which little was analyzed besides public “standing” (which apparently no one had), the BLM determined no changes were necessary to their proposal.

The new RMP ushers in brand new Herd Management Areas with shiny new names as BLM redrew boundaries, eliminated old areas and their herds, and zeroed out 1.6 million more acres of wild horse and burro habitat now deemed “unsuitable”, with 446 more wild horses no longer allowed on public lands and permanently erradicated from the American scene.

While livestock authorizations continue to flourish, Nevada Department of Wildlife will also toast the permanent elimination of competition to the “native” elk they imported in the late 70’s. Managed under the 1996 Lincoln County Elk Management Plan, the now defunct “historic” wild horse and burro habitat will be exclusively reserved for the 1,850 thriving elk that will replace them.

BLM assures the public they are following all applicable law under multiple use mandates, despite completely replacing the wild horses with cattle, sheep and elk and to make sure there will be no legal challenge to dispute their “trust us” plan, a coincidental “emergency gather” was announced by BLM (Click Here) shortly before releasing the RMP decision to the public, an emergency gather that just happened to cover the largest remaining wild horse populations of the now zeroed out Herd Management Areas (HMA).

The BLM reported Highland Peak, Miller Flat, Little Mountain and “outside” the HMAs were gathered, totaling 118 (including five that didn’t survive). However, a map of the gather area posted on BLMs website (Click Here) included Clover Creek, Clover Mountains, Applewhite and Delmar Mountains, also part of the RMPs zeroed out herd management plans. BLM has failed to report any removals occured in these additional HMAs, despite their obvious plans to include them prior to the "official" report. Anybody else wonder how BLM had time to draw that really fancy map even though it was billed as an "emergency"?

While advocates have been attempting to work with BLM to find areas previously zeroed out to return wild horses too rather than just killing them, it appears BLM isn’t interested in revisiting or questioning their prior land use decisions, which have removed 13 million acres once set aside for wild horse and burro “protection and preservation” (despite this being BLMs exclusive call in their exclusively managed fiefdoms deceptively called “public lands”).

Nor do they seem too interested in re-thinking their newest plans of zero tolerance on this additional 1.6 million acres, now to be managed "horse free" regardless of the 37+ years of former legal protection.

Wonder if the 13 million acres BLM reported includes the now zeroed out 1.6 million acres or do we now add the 1.6 million acres to it?

Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne has pledged to “squelch the ethics storm” recently exposing DOI employees for rigging bids, doing drugs, sleeping with company executives involved in the “land use plans” they were authorizing, all for the bargain basement price of ski tickets, snow boarding lessons, meals and let’s not forget the sex. Click Here to learn more.

In a totally unrelated related story, more questions are being raised due to an internal document leaked to the press with the Washington Post citing BLM is accused of neglecting its public commitments to monitor harmful pollutants in Wyoming for over 6 years. The story includes one employee quitting the Bureau due to ignoring impacts to wildlife, decline in wildlife species linked to the failure to monitor for acceptable levels, but after touring the area Secretary Kempthorne announced he was “impressed” at how the private companies were handling things. Click Here to learn more. Guess that's the DOI's way of "squelching" ethic concerns...

With more good news in the works as BLM continues to insist they have no money and must kill tens of thousands of America’s wild horses and burros in BLM pens or grant slaughter options to fix their financial woes, the Cloud Foundation has announced Montana BLM has decided it’s okay to remove wild horses in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range* (Click Here) and the Mount Lewis Field Office (formerly known as Battle Mountain) has announced they are planning on removing almost 1,500 hundred wild horses in the Callaghan Complex somewhere in the next few months, final decision pending….

In yet another surprise announcement, the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge will begin removing approximately 300 +/- wild horses from the Refuge starting Tuesday, September 23, 2008.

Sheldon managers have been completely silent regarding wild horse management on the Refuge since they approved of “keeping the populations around 800” last spring. No information has been forthcoming regarding any new population census that determined what the population is or why they are pulling 300 or more (foaling rates fail to support this increase based on their last census), nor was any real explanation given for where the "missing" 700 Sheldon horses might have gone since the last census, nor was any gather proposals released. The removals will be conducted again by Dave Cattoor, convicted horse hunter and responsible for the 2006 Sheldon fiasco (Click Here to learn more).

In Defense of Animals (IDA), responsible for the lawsuit demanding Sheldon begin living up to laws governing public resources, apparently just found out about the removals themselves. Expressing outrage that Sheldon managers ignored significant public protests regarding the use of Cattoor due to his past criminal record in wild horse hunting for slaughter, the entire IDA press release can be viewed by Clicking Here .

Note: On September 22, 2008, the Cloud Foundation sent an email Alert stating that Jim Sparks, Billings Field Manager, has announced the removal of Cloud's Herd has been indefinitely postponed. The Cloud Foundation also thanked everyone for all their involvement in helping to protect Cloud and his herd and all of America's wild horses. To receive email updates from the Cloud Foundation, go to:

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