The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management and the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates, has embarked on a pilot fertility control program for wild horses living in the Fish Springs area of Gardnerville, NV. The horses are living in a Herd Area adjacent to the Pine Nut Herd Management Area. Learn more about the program here.
AWHPC's Deniz Bolbol was in the field April 23-25 to remotely dart mares with PZP fertility control. She reports:
This project is a great opportunity to make Fish Springs a model pilot program of private-public partnership and community involvement of fertility control for wild horses. Like other BLM HMAs - Little Book Cliffs in Colorado, McCullough Peaks in Wyoming and others -- the local community is volunteering to help the BLM manage wild horses in the Fish Springs area of Gardnerville. The program is targeted to manage and reduce the number of horses in the Fish Springs area through humane fertility control and natural attrition. Had this pilot program begun in November or December 2013, as we recommended, we would have worked to immunized all mares. But the wheels of government turn slowly, and the project did not receive the go ahead until recently. As a result, we are doing the best we can with the situation this year, given the late start.
To date this year, 9 foals have been born. This not only makes those 9 mares non-candidates for fertility control (because they could have already bred back making fertility control efforts futile as PZP is safe and does not negatively affect or abort fetuses), but also complicates efforts to administer PZP because newborn foals are highly guarded by their mothers and families making the horses difficult to approach. To protect foals - the most vulnerable members of the family - mares are increasingly flighty and less tolerant of humans approaching them. This heightened protectiveness hinders the PZP darter's ability to get close enough to dart.
Our experience in the field this week resulted in the darting of a number of mares, and increased our knowledge base about the Fish Springs horses and the necessary ingredients for a successful fertility control darting program. We look forward to returning and working closely with the BLM and the local residents to humanely manage these beautiful wild horses.
For more photos from the field click here
Read the BLM Press Release
Eye Witness Report
Fish Springs Community Tells BLM to Keep Wild Horses Wild
National Coalition Urges BLM to Work with Community to Keep Wild Horses on the Range
BLM, community square off over Fish Springs wild horse issue