Mission: Ensure the protection and humane management of the Salt River wild horses. Read Breaking news below.
BREAKING NEWS: Salt River Wild Horse Management Group secures State Contract for the management of the Salt River Wild Horses.
Tonto National Forest, Mesa, Ariz. (May 28th, 2018) — The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) announces that it has been awarded a contract with the State of Arizona to officially manage the Salt River wild horses in the Tonto National Forest.
The group was notified that the Arizona Department of Agriculture (AZDA) had chosen the group’s management proposal, which was submitted as part of a competitive bid process managed by the State Procurement Office.
“The Salt River wild horses are a living piece of our Arizona history, a remnant of our pioneering American spirit,” said Simone Netherlands, President of the SRWHMG. “We are so lucky to still have them here”. “This is the culmination of all of our hard work and we are ecstatic to finally begin to implement humane management solutions for this herd, to ensure that not one Salt River wild horse ever has to be rounded up from the Salt River.” Netherlands continued.
“We look forward to continuing our successful public/private partnership with federal, state and local officials to protect the Salt River wild horses a well as the safety of public who loves them,” Netherlands continued, promising management of the horses by and for the public.
The SRWHMG, with its 100 volunteers, monitors the horses on a daily basis and will implement a management program with the following components: a birth control program to humanely reduce population growth in the Salt River wild horse herd; emergency feeding and diversionary watering as needed; maintenance of fences and gates and rescue and sanctuary of injured wild horses when needed.
Recently, at the group’s request, the Maricopa County Department of Transportation began to make safety improvements on Bush Highway to reduce the chances of horse-vehicle collisions.
The contract was awarded pursuant to state legislation (HB 2340), passed in 2016, which required the AZDA to enter into an MOU with the Forest Service and authorizes the AZDA in turn, to contract with a non-profit organization for the humane management of the horses.
“We are grateful to Representative Kelly Townsend and the Arizona legislature, which overwhelmingly passed legislation to protect the Salt River horses, and to Governor Doug Ducey for his steadfast support for keeping this treasured herd wild and free in their habitat”, Netherlands concluded. “We’d also like to thank our national coalition partner, the American Wild Horse Campaign, which has been with us every step of the way in this fight to protect the Salt River wild horses.”
It was just three years ago, in August 2015, that the Forest Service published a notice of its intent to impound and dispose of the entire herd. The SRWHMG mobilized a massive public outcry, which stopped the Forest Service from rounding up the horses and sending them to slaughter auctions. (please see news pieces from back then, from August 5th and 6th 2015 of our rallies.) The SRWHMG sued the federal government, held rallies and protests, negotiated for their freedom, and eventually worked to pass legislation, which is protecting the herd today.
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”. But in 2015 they were threatened with total removal.
Today, after a long battle for their freedom, the Salt River wild horses are officially protected by State law. These wild horses are the pride of this community, a favorite subject of photographers, and the icon of the wild free spirit of the American West.
Our goal is and always has been freedom, protection and humane management of this treasured historic and recreational resource.
With a daily presence in wild horse habitat, we monitor and keep records for each horse and record each change within the herd. Our many years of data have created a scientific perspective on their herd behavior, birth and death rates 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 will have our people on scene within 15 minutes of any emergent situation. When necessary, we rescue and rehabilitate suffering and injured Salt River wild horses. We currently give sanctuary to eight rescued Salt River wild horses who have made amazing recoveries from almost fatal injuries.
As a result of record breaking drought in Arizona, we are currently in an emergency feed protocol under authorization from the Arizona State Ag Department. It is you the public who makes the humane management of the Salt River wild horses possible with your generous support.
Our work includes improving safety for horses and the public, by maintaining and repairing miles of fencing along Bush Highway. We also install horse proof gates. We do all of this in coordination with the Forest Service. This picture is of our fencing team.
Removing old downed barbed wire, nails and trash is another important aspect of what our volunteers do every day on the river. It is our goal to work for the good of the Tonto National Forest, its inhabitants and visitors every day.
The Cause: prevent their removal.
This fight has been about keeping a small piece of wild for future generations to come, and managing it humanely and responsibly. When we started this campaign for their freedom we had no idea that it would touch hundreds of thousands of Arizonans and Americans so deeply. We are forever grateful that this amazing herd found their voice with the public of Arizona and all of its legislators, politicians as well as Governor Doug Ducey. While so close to being gone forever in 2015, the Salt River wild horses are now protected by the Salt River Horse Act which establishes that the Salt River wild horses are not stray livestock and makes harassing and killing them illegal.
Now our job will be working with the Arizona State Agriculture Department for their humane management. Our management plan is geared towards a stabilized and healthy population, and will include 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. 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 acceptable form of birth control for wild horses, as it does not harm nor influence their wild behaviors and herd dynamics. PZP 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 goal of the program is for each horse born in the wild, to be able to stay in the wild.
Help us humanely manage the Salt River wild horses!
These horses belong to all of the public of Arizona and we will prove that they can be managed humanely, by the public and for the public.
Managing wild horses is neither easy nor cheap. We are not funded by anyone but YOU, the public. Please support us in any way you can. No amount is too small. Your tax-deductible donation helps the Salt River wild horses directly. as no one in the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group gets paid . With your support we can purchase fencing to keep horses off the roads, fund education campaigns, our emergency feed protocol and our birth control 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 next was amazing, it was the unprecedented public outrage we needed, and then some- the people of Arizona and its politicians gave these iconic wild horses a voice. Under continued pressure, 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.
There are so many jobs to do, from monitoring horses on the river, to fixing fences to keep horses off the roads, to organizing and fundraising. We have sales booths and events and also there is lots of mucking to do at our Facility!