BLM Will Again Attack Iconic “Cloud” Herd Featured on PBS “Nature”

BLM expands removal plan for young Pryor Mustangs
Cloud and family after release from BLM capture in 2009 ~ photo by Terry Fitch

BILLINGS, Mont. (April 5, 2012)—Yesterday, BLM issued their Decision Record to permanently remove up to 40 young Pryor mustangs from their home in the mountains of southern Montana.

The bait-trapping operation would begin no earlier than June 4th and could continue until September 30th.

“Surprisingly, the removal decision exceeds the level they outlined in their preliminary Environmental Assessment,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Regardless of the nearly 10,000 comments sent to BLM requesting they proceed with caution, BLM has significantly increased the number of young horses to be removed. So much for listening to the wishes of the American Public.”

BLM’s Preliminary Environmental Assessment issued in December, 2011, called for the removal of 30 Pryor Horses in the 1-3 year-old category. This final Environmental Assessment ups the removal number to as many 40 young animals–two thirds of the young population.

BLM reports that they received only 1,000 comments, although it is likely they received 10 times that number. More than 4,000 comments were generated by American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) alone, but were only counted as one letter because they used “a sample letter or talking points provided from internet sites.”

Thousands of comments came to BLM, asking that Cloud’s look-alike grandson, Echo (Killian) be allowed to continue to live free on the Pryors. Although Echo could be removed based on age, BLM has acknowledged his rare color and genetics, and has ranked him as a horse to be removed only if they cannot achieve their target removal numbers.

Links of Interest:

BLM Q&A on Pryor Bait Trap:

BLM 2012 Pryor Decision Record:

Final BLM Environmental Assessment:

BLM Sets Sights on Another Massive Removal in Cloud’s Herd (Foundation release):

What is Bait Trapping?

Stop the Fencing in of Cloud’s Herd – Foundation video:

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5 comments for “BLM Will Again Attack Iconic “Cloud” Herd Featured on PBS “Nature”

  1. dun being wild
    April 8, 2012 at 8:25 am

    There is a lot of very important information from BLM sites that is left out of this article. I understand why Mr Fitch left it out. It would not support his facts that the Cloud herd is being destroyed. But it is information that the public should be aware of. The following is an portion of the BLMs public announcement of the removals from this herd. It shows that the 40 young horses proposed for removal is lower than what would be the ideal number. It also shows that under their management the herd is having a 100% viability level in foals. Please understand that this is not usual, in the past and under non controls circumstances the herd loss in foals would be somewhere between 30-40% per year. I am not a BLM employee, but I have been involved and watching this program since 1974 and as a very interested bystander I have to say that overall most of the BLM is doing an outstanding job. Yes there are places that could use improvement but I would not say that the management of this herd is one of them.

    The current wild horse population on the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range (PMWHR) is approximately 170 adult wild horses. This is due to recruitment of the 2011 foals that had a 100% survival rate. Therefore, the population exceeds the established Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 90-120 horses, excluding the current year foals. Think about the amount of hay and pasture your horse at home goes through and you begin to understand why adhering to the established AML is critical. Essentially, a single wild horse on the PMWHR is estimated to
    utilize 300-400 acres for feed per year. How many excess wild horses are anticipated to be removed? The BLM’s goal would be to get the current number of animals within the AML. With the current population at around170 horses, this number could be 50 horses.

    • admin
      April 8, 2012 at 10:13 am

      The problem, Dun Being Wild, is that the bureau has repeatedly been caught in lies by this journalist and many wild horse advocates. Unfortunately, their numbers no longer have any credibility whatsoever. They are simply not to be trusted. Moreover, even if their numbers are right, which is grievously doubtful, that would require us to accept the BLM position that the herds need to be controlled at all. With 240 million acres under agency control, it has been Horseback’s long held position that herd management is a ridiculous notion best put on the shelf to allow natural selection and predation to control the herds. Finally, lets face an irrefutable historical fact. The BLM was created as a land management tool of and for ranching. Nothing wrong with that, however, in 1971 that changed with the Free Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act – which the agency clearly hates. The current decimation of the herds is obvious to see when you look at the numbers – 1 million cattle vs fewer than 30,000 wild horses. It is following the standard planning principal of highest and best use, and to BLM’s way of thinking, the highest and best use of the vast acreage they control is for cattle grazing, not a handful of beautiful, yet economically useless, horses. It is crystal clear the agency fully intends to zero out the entire wild horse population of America. That, my friend, is an outrage to us and frankly should be to you as well.

      The Editor

      • Lisa L.
        April 9, 2012 at 5:24 pm

        Very well put.

  2. Christie
    April 8, 2012 at 12:46 am

    Our tax dollars are going to fund an agency that pays so called Wild Horse Specialists with absolutely no training in equine science a starting salary of $106,000. It is the BLM’s frequent removals of horses from the herd that causes the increased intensity in young horses to procreate. After 40 years of managing wild horses and burros, the BLM still doesn’t have a policy regarding the humane handling of wild horses has never been addressed. When this agency is criticized, it finds a veterinarian or group of vets and maybe some so called experts in academia to review how they are performing their duties and find them innocent of mistreating the wild horses. And what are they doing with our wild horses that requires the BLLM to hide it from public scrutiny?

  3. Denise
    April 6, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    DOI and USDA (USDA fenced off the Pryor herd’s seasonal migration path last year) think they are managing rabbits….not wild equines.

    Your tax dollars at waste! (just like GSA and Congress)

Comments are closed.