With the bait trapping at McCullough Peaks Herd Management Area scheduled to begin on November 27, you may be asking yourself, what else can I do to help these horses? I know I’ve been asking myself the same thing Every. Single. Day. With no lawsuit in the works by any of the wild horse advocacy groups to stop this roundup, we’re trying everything we can to to keep our beloved McCullough Peaks horses on the range.
Right now, I'd like you to join me in opposing the removal of 41 wild horses from the McCullough Peaks by performing the simple actions listed below.
First, please email, fax or call the BLM Director, Tracy Stone-Manning to tell her you're against the McCullough Peaks roundup. I’ve prepared some suggested talking points that you can use to aid you in composing your comments to Ms. Stone-Manning. Talking Points can be found at the end of this blog. They can be used “as is”, or modified as you wish. Contact information for Ms. Manning is below. Use the talking points presented at the end of this blog to state your case to Ms. Stone-Manning.
Phone: 202-208-3801 (the phone number doesn't seem to be working at this time)
Next, please sign this petition from American Wild Horse Campaign to help stop the unnecessary roundup at McCullough Peaks. For maximum impact, we need as many people to sign this petition as possible. A link to the petition is below. PLEASE NOTE THAT YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO LEAVE A DONATION FOR AMERICAN WILD HORSE CAMPAIGN TO SUBMIT YOUR PETITION. DONATIONS ARE NOT NECESSARY.
Then, email or call the Cody, Wyoming Chamber of Commerce to tell them what the McCullough Peaks wild horses mean to you. Tell them that the McCullough Peaks wild horses are a huge reason why you visit or why you want to visit Cody. If you have visited, tell them how much money you have spent at local businesses.
Please contact any media outlet you can think of to do a story on the McCullough Peaks wild horse roundup focusing on why they should be left on the range and not removed from their home forever.
Remember to SHARE, SHARE, SHARE on social media and be sure to check back often with Wild at Heart Images and Wild Hoofbeats on Facebook and on Instagram for the most recent update.
Here are your Suggested Talking Points for Tracy Stone-Manning:
The management of the McCullough Peaks herd has been touted by the BLM as one of the great success stories of using PZP birth control on wild horses. PZP has been used at the Peaks since 2011 and since that time the herd has had a 1-2% average yearly growth rate. With such low numbers, a roundup and removal is completely unnecessary. Population management through the use of PZP should continue as is.
The population at McCullough Peaks is 175 adult horses plus 12 foals born in 2023. The arbitrary AML at McCullough Peaks is 70-140. BLM continues to report the herd number as 181 adult horses. The current verified herd count is 175 adult horses plus 12 foals born in 2023. BLM proposes removing 41 horses to bring the total number of the herd to the high AML of 140. Because there are only 175 adult horses, if BLM performs the roundup, they should lower the number of horses removed (from 41 to 36) to bring the herd to high AML of 140.
This McCullough Peaks herd is an aging herd. By January 2024, more than 40% of the McCullough herd will be over the age of 15, with 28 of them over the age of 20. Many of these elderly horses could perish over the winter, which would bring the population numbers well below AML once 41 are removed. Because of this, BLM should reassess the McCullough Peaks herd population after the winter 2023/2024 before considering any sort of removal.
The BLM has stated that 41 wild horses aged 5 years old and younger will be removed during the bait-trapping. Currently there are only 48 horses in this age group. Removing 85% of these young horses will completely eradicate this segment of the population, leaving very few horses of prime breeding age.
Genetic Viability is a major concern with the McCullough Peaks herd. Dr. Gus Cothren, the leading geneticist on wild horses says that 150 breeding aged adults need to be present to ensure genetic viability. Removing 41 horses will leave the herd well below this threshold.
GonaCon is a known sterilant when used on wild mares. Every McCullough Peaks mare over 13 who has had a foal will be given GonaCon, yet there are no studies on the effects of using GonaCon after a mare has been dosed with PZP. The use of GonaCon, coupled with PZP, will lead to eradication of this herd.
The proposed bait trapping will be done remotely using cameras at the trap site with BLM personnel monitoring the trap from the Cody field office more than an hour away. If the cameras or remote release on the trap fail and horses are stuck in the trap, they can be seriously injured or die before any personnel are able to come to their aid. There are currently three foals at McCullough Peaks that are under two months old, and many others at six months of age or younger. The well-being of these youngsters is of immediate concern as they are still quite delicate and could be easily injured in or around the trap site.
No information was published in the Environmental Assessment on the effects on the range from wild horse grazing or livestock grazing. This study must be performed to justify any removals.
There have been no genetic measurements done on this herd since the roundup of 2004. This should be done before any removals are performed.
Many thanks to everyone who continues to fight for the freedom of our beloved McCullough Peaks wild horses. I appreciate each and every one of you. I know things appear dire right now, but we are going to continue this fight until the bitter end. If you have any questions and would like to contact me for any reason, you can reach me at email@example.com Thank you again. You are all true friends of the McCullough Peaks herd!