Sterilizing wild horses is NOT management. BLM has apparently “reconsidered” spaying mares in two Wyoming herds (White Mountain and Little Colorado) but plans to continue with the gelding of stallions.
No, no and NO.
Why BLM in general *won’t* come up with sustainable management plans is beyond me. It talks about that often enough. In fact, we’ve effected change here by showing local BLM just how workable sustainable management can be. In 40 years, things have gone from bad to worse with these hare-brained ideas apparently designed to allow BLM to do little to nothing about their responsibility to wild horses and burros AND the American public for whom mustangs and burros are managed. And yet, when I talk about fertility control in the form of REVERSIBLE PZP, people invariably ask: “Why don’t they just geld the stallions and return them?”
* Horribly invasive.
* Horses must be rounded up and captured to do it.
* Horses must (?!) be held in corrals while they heal.
* Complications?? One of the introduced Spring Creek Basin stallions (three were introduced in the late 1980s or so) was later removed to a sanctuary, where he was gelded … and bled out … How often does this happen insanitary conditions? In a temporary pen full of other horses in dusty range conditions …??
* If I wanted to see a pasture – no matter the size – of geldings, I’d take a drive up the road to see ranch horses. Talk about upsetting the natural dynamic of wild and free-roaming (as much as possible) horses.
In contrast, fertility control such as PZP is reversible. By its use, we’re not trying to stop population growth, just limit it to sustainable levels. Periodic removals will still occur but with less frequency and hopefully on a much smaller scale than currently. While I fully appreciate that annual darting is not feasible or even possible in many large areas, where it IS, it should be used.
As adamantly as I support limiting population growth, I am adamantly opposed to stopping it altogether.