Cloud and the wild horses of Montana's Pryor Mountains are world famous but fame it appears is not going to protect the herd from a drastic government round up planned to begin September 1st in their spectacular wilderness home.
There are currently only 190 wild horses (one year and older) living in the Pryor Mountains. The BLM plans to remove 70 of them, plus foals. According to the foremost equine geneticist, Dr. Gus Cothran, 150-200 adult horses are needed in the herd to ensure their genetic diversity, which is vital to their long term survival.
These 70 horses would be placed in jeopardy. Any horses over 10 years of age can be bought directly by killer buyers and transported over the Northern border to Canadian slaughterhouses or south into Mexico. Younger horses not adopted would be put into government holding with 33,000 others that the BLM has removed from the wild and has proposed killing because they can no longer afford to feed them.
BLM cites poor range condition as the reason to remove the horses but abundant snow and rain for the past two and a half years has produced wonderful range conditions according to all who have visited Cloud and his herd. The unique Pryor Mountain wild horses are descendents of the Lewis and Clark horses who were stolen by the Crow Indians in the early 1800's. They can be traced further back to the horses brought over with the Spanish Conquistadors in 1500.
Dear Secretary Salazar and Director Abbey;
We the undersigned ask that you please stop or limit to 20 young horses the planned roundup of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Herd in Montana. This small, isolated herd of Spanish mustangs is home to Cloud the wild horse made famous on PBS's Nature series. He and his family and his herd are beloved by millions of people the world over. Children, in particular, are struck by the beauty of the horse families in this spectacular wilderness setting. The herd is not just famous but historically significant as well. Their roots trace back to the horses of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the mounts of the Spanish conquistadors.
A massive removal now threatens their future existence as a viable, self-sustaining wild horse herd.
BLM is planning to remove 70 horses, plus some of this years foals, from a herd that numbers only 190. According to the noted equine geneticist most familiar with this herd a minimum population of 150-200 horses is required to maintain their genetic diversity. Older horses would have to be removed to reach 70 and this is inconceivably cruel these horses have lived their whole lives in freedom and horses over 10 could end up in the hands of killer buyers who would ship them to slaughter over the borders.
The Pryor Wild Horse Range is in wonderful condition due to the abundance of moisture. These horses are not damaging their range and to remove 70 at this time when the horse market is nearly non-existent, range improvements have not yet been implemented, and the BLM already has 33,000 horses in holding that they are threatening to kill is foolhardy. We ask that only 20 young horses be removed as we believe they have a chance to be adopted and it would not put the herd in immediate danger.
Please consider the public's wishes and allow Cloud and his herd to live in peace with their families.
Thank you for your time and consideration.