Deb Walker, AWHC Nevada Representative
(September 26, 2019) Our fertility control program on the Virginia Range in Nevada is the world’s largest wild horse birth control program. We work collaboratively with local organizations and volunteers to humanely manage wild horses in their natural habitat. The program has garnered global attention -- we’ve had visitors travel to the area from around the country and the world to learn how we implement such a large program.
Success, by the numbers.
As of September 26, 2019, we have:
14 certified darters administering the PZP birth control in the field
Over 900 volunteer hours clocked each month, including darters, documenters, and spotters
495 initial treatments delivered
429 mares treated with boosters
924 total inoculations since program reinstatement on April 9, 2019
To meet the needs of a growing program, AWHC holds regular sessions to keep our darting teams updated and educated. We ensure each team member is proficient with our scientific database for entering new horses and updating older records. We train volunteers to fill multiple roles when needed on the range, should the need arise. For instance, spotters may double as darters or documenters, and vice versa. This way, every program member can use the database to identify mares and fillies for birth control treatment. Training also includes target practice, sighting their rifle, experiencing other equipment, and the updates on the birth control vaccine and implements.
In fact, many of our team members are professionally trained to double as rescue volunteers so they can assist in the case of an emergency. These volunteers switch hats quickly, swapping their official AWHC yellow safety vests for orange rescue vests in an emergency.
Keeping wild horses wild, a collaborative effort.
Although our agreement with the Nevada Department of Agriculture is limited to fertility control, we support the organizations that manage the range, rescue, and provide sanctuary.
To stay up with all things wild horse in Nevada, join Stay Wild! AWHC Nevada on Facebook.
Deb Walker is the Nevada Field Representative fro the American Wild Horse Campaign. Prior to working with AWHC, Deb was one of the founding board members and President for the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates which piloted a fertility control program with the Carson City Bureau of Land Management for the beloved Fish Springs wild horses and is a retired school teach of 25-years. Deb lives outside ofGardnerville, Nevada with her husband, and her rescued animal which consists of two horses, three dogs and a cat. She has two daughters and three grandchildren.