Mission: Ensure the protection and humane management of the Salt River wild horses.
The Salt River wild horses are the beloved and majestic horses who have been roaming free along the lower Salt River in Arizona, for centuries. Arizona’s State Archives hold historic evidence of their existence in the Salt River Valley, dating all the way back to the 1800’s when they were already referred to as “native stock”. Today, they are the pride of this community, a favorite subject of photographers, and the icon of the wild free spirit of the American West. After a two and a half year long battle against their removal and for their protection, the Salt River wild horses are now officially protected by State law against harassment, shooting, killing and slaughter.
On Friday, December 29th 2017 we released this press release about the new State law going into effect:
Salt River Wild Horse Management Group Commends State & Feds for Signing MOU to Protect the Salt River Wild Horses
Mesa, AZ . . . The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group and its national coalition partner, the American Wild Horse Campaign (AWHC) commended Governor Doug Ducey, the State Ag department and the U.S. Forest Service for reaching an agreement for the management of the Salt River Wild Horses. The agreement fulfills the conditional enactment clause of the Salt River Wild Horse Act, passed by the Arizona Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Ducey in May 2016.
The agreement establishes a management structure and process to provide humane management for the Salt River wild horses, who reside in the Tonto National Forest. The agreement authorizes the State Ag Department to partner with a non-profit organization to assist with management and care of the Salt River Wild Horses. The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group stands ready to provide that assistance and continue its long-standing role in caring for these majestic horses.
“Two years ago, the Salt River wild horses were almost removed and disposed of. Today is a great day. The Salt River wild horses are protected from harassment and slaughter. We are deeply grateful to Governor Doug Ducey for his compassion and dedication to protecting these cherished wild horses, for State Rep. Kelly Townsend for introducing the bill that made this agreement to protect the horses possible, for the State Ag Department and to the Forest Service for recognizing the public’s strong interest in protecting this historic and popular horse herd, ” said Simone Netherlands, President of the SRWHMG.
“The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, with our 100 volunteers and daily presence on the Salt River, is ready to roll up our sleeves and enter into an agreement with the state to continue our management of this wild horse herd that people from all over the world travel to see,” Netherlands continued. “We are grateful for the enormous public support for our work, which has included the rescue and treatment of seriously injured Salt River wild horses, fixing miles of fencing to keep horses out of roadways and education/outreach activities to keep the public and the horses safe.”
“On behalf of our 600,000 supporters and followers, we thank Governor Ducey for his commitment to protecting the Salt River Wild Horses and ensuring their humane management,” said Suzanne Roy, AWHC Executive Director. “We look forward to supporting our wonderful coalition partner, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, with the implementation of an effective program to protect and humanely manage the magnificent Salt River wild horses.”
Two years ago, the Forest Service announced its intent to remove and “dispose of” the Salt River wild horses. The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, swiftly coordinated rallies and ignited a public outcry so large, that changed the fate of these beloved and majestic animals. Subsequently the group negotiated and fought for passage of legislation for the horses’ protection. The legislation has now gone into affect.
—– end of press release.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) is dedicated to preserving and protecting the Salt River wild horses and safeguarding their habitat through field work, public awareness and educational campaigns. Our goal is and always has been freedom, protection and humane management of this treasured recreational resource. Please join us in this important conservation cause.
With a daily presence in wild horse habitat, we monitor and keep records for each horse and each change within the herd. Our many years of records on these changes as well as birth rates and death rates are creating a scientific perspective on their herd behavior, dynamics and migrating patterns.
We deal with any and all situations that involve a wild horse. We operate an emergency hotline (480-868-9301 ) and we can have our people on scene within 15 minutes of any emergent situation. When necessary, we rescue and rehabilitate suffering injured Salt River wild horses. We currently give sanctuary to five rescued Salt River wild horses who have made recoveries from fatal injuries.
We work to improve public and horse safety through maintenance and repair of miles of fencing along Bush Highway and recreation areas. We are also installing new horse proof gates to keep them out of dangerous areas, while still providing access to visitors. We do this in coordination with the Forest Service and are thankful for their cooperation. (this picture is of our fencing team).
We safeguard the environment, not only for horses but for all wildlife, by removing old downed barbed wire, buckets of nails and many tons of trash. It is our goal to work for the good of the Tonto National Forest, its inhabitants and visitors every day.
This battle has been about keeping a small piece of “wild” for future generations to come. We have accomplished that part; the Salt River Horse Act establishes that the Salt River wild horses are not stray livestock and makes harassing and killing them illegal. Our job now is to work with the AZ State Ag Department for the protocol for their humane management, which will be geared towards a stabilized population, including humane fertility control.
Our data over many years shows that the Salt River herd is growing approximately at 12% per year. That is not as much as is claimed by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) for most herds, but it is still a positive growth rate and the Salt River wild horses have a limited habitat, because they are fenced in by civilization on all sides.
PZP (Porcine Zona Pelucida) immuno-contraception is the only acceptable form of birth control for wild horses, as it does not harm nor influence their wild behaviors and herd dynamics. PZP has 30 years of research behind it, it can be darted without capturing horses and it prevents fertilization for one year. By implementing a fertility control protocol with our certified darters, we can stabilize the population humanely. The young mares will get a chance to mature before foaling and the older mares can get a break from having babies, which improves their overall health. The upside of a stabilized and agreed upon population is that each horse born in the wild, will be able to stay in the wild.
Help us achieve their humane management and protection!
We will need the public’s continued support while we negotiate the terms of humane management and secure an MOU with the State Ag department. We strive for a win-win solution for everyone, the public, the authorities and most of all the horses.
This fight is about keeping a small piece of wild for future generations to come, and managing it humanely and responsibly. This battle for their freedom touched hundreds of thousands of Americans deeply, because it is about who we are as Americans, and what we stand for – and what we don’t.
Please support us in any way you can, managing wild horses is neither easy nor cheap. We are not funded by anyone but YOU, the public. Your tax-deductible donation helps the Salt River wild horses directly, as no one in the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group gets paid and we have very little overhead. With your support we can purchase fencing to keep horses off the roads, fund education campaigns and our humane management protocol. It is because of people like you that we can rescue, treat and give sanctuary to suffering wild horses. Thank you for your support.
Background: When the notice came out for the herd’s roundup and removal in 2015, we were devastated. We knew that we would need an unprecedented public outrage to prevent the annihilation of this historic herd. We gave it our all, we alerted and informed the public and the press, we held rallies and protests, we filed a lawsuit and we negotiated with the Forest Service. What happened was amazing, it was the unprecedented public outrage we knew we needed, and then some- the people of Arizona and its politicians gave these iconic wild horses a voice. Under continued pressure, after almost 6 months, the Forest Service agreed to rescind the impound notice. Together, we changed the course of history for the Salt River wild horses, who now have a legal right to live on the Salt River in Arizona and are protected under State law.
More than 100 news pieces can be found when you search “Salt River Wild Horse Management Group” , including pieces on CNN, the New York Times, USA Today, the Washington Times and our very supportive local stations ABC15, FOX10, CBS5/3tv and 12News.
Hikers called the SRWHMG emergency number when they found a little baby alone and terribly injured. Our field team went out and rescued him and took him to our equine hospital. Donations helped with his huge vetbills. Pacman is a healthy happy young colt today. A donation of any size will help our rescue fund! Thank you!
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) is a non-profit organization 501(c)3, dedicated to monitor, study and protect the Salt River wild horses in the Tonto National Forest, Arizona. We use all of our resources and connections to prevent harm from coming to the Salt River wild horses and ensure that they will be here for future generations to enjoy.
There are many jobs to do, from monitoring horses on the river, to organizing fundraising, to fixing fences to keep horses off the roads, to participating in our events and sales booths, to showing up for rallies and appointments with legislators or also mucking stalls at our Facility! There are also online jobs that you can do from the comfort of your own home.