The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) is an Arizona-based nonprofit organization dedicated to monitor, study and protect the Salt River wild horses.
Our goal is and always has been freedom, protection and humane management of this treasured historic and recreational resource. Please join us in this important mission.
We have had a steady daily presence in the Tonto National Forest where the Salt River wild horses reside for many years. We have monitored and have been keeping 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 can have our people on scene within 15 minutes of any emergent situation.
When necessary, we also rescue and rehabilitate suffering and injured Salt River wild horses. We currently give sanctuary to six rescued Salt River wild horses who have made amazing recoveries from fatal injuries. We have recently started an emergency feed protocol as a result of the record breaking drought, ie we are feeding wild horses at feed stations throughout the Tonto National Forest.
We try to improve safety for both horses and the public by maintaining and repairing miles of fencing along Bush Highway and recreation areas. We installed new horse proof gates to keep them out of dangerous areas, while still providing access to visitors. We have left just 8 horse crossings on Bush Highway and that has reduced the amount of horses getting hit on the road.
The environment the horses live in is also very important to us. Removing old downed barbed wire, buckets of nails and trash is an important part of what our volunteers do every day. It is our goal to work for the good of the Tonto National Forest, its inhabitants and visitors.
The Salt River wild horses are still grazing the banks of the lower Salt River as they have for centuries, because the public gave them their voice.
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 Arizona State Agriculture Department towards their humane management. Our management plan will be geared towards a stabilized and healthy population, and will include humane fertility control.
1. To protect the Salt River wild horses from harm.
2. To conduct research by closely studying the wild horses as well as their natural habitat.
3. To identify problems, shortcomings and safety hazards of the area and work with state, federal and local agencies to find and implement cost effective solutions.
4. To educate people in order to advance both the safety of people and the safety of wild horses.
5. To work together with anyone who is interested in the same goals.
Not much actual science is available or known about some of the intelligent behaviors and herd characteristics of wild horses. There is currently more research available on zebras in Africa than about wild horses in America. We are trying to change that.
A special software application designed just for our purposes is used daily to monitor the bands and update our records.
Our collection of historic articles shows the presence of the Salt River herd in 1890 (but likely much longer) , then consistently throughout the past century, through 1971 and into the current time. A Forest Service document from 1930 makes mention of the Salt River wild horses even while today on the FS website they still make the claim that the horses are stray livestock let out by ranchers.
The Salt River wild horses have value. They hold great scientific, historic, ecological, emotional and economic value. Fewer than 1000 wild horses remain in the entire state of Arizona. It is crucial that we make informed decisions based on what future generations of Americans would want in regards to these historic treasures.
The public and political outrage that occurred shows that public opinion is overwhelmingly for the protection and humane management of the herd. Arizonans consider these wild horses to be their rightful inheritance and a treasure to be preserved for future generations.
We are prepared to offer solutions for every situation involving wild horses at no cost to the government. This includes the assessment of injuries and rescue or humane euthanasia of wild horses who are fatally injured or needlessly suffering. It also includes a humane birth control protocol, at no cost to the government.
Our proposal consists of the following components for which we are prepared to take on the full cost:
Key components of the plan include:
- A humane fertility-control program to manage herd expansion. Immuno-contraception can be humanely darted by certified individuals without the need to capture animals.
- Range management measures such as addition, repair and/or removal of fencing or placement of gates.
- Range stewardship through removal of old downed barbed wire and removal of pollution and cleaning manure from parking lots.
- Continued work with the Maricopa County Department of Transportation and ADOT to improve traffic safety through horse crossing signs and other measures.
- Public education and other measures to promote save viewing of wild horses.
By entering into a public-private partnership for the humane management of the Salt River wild horses, the USFS and State Ag Department can balance recreational, environmental and public-safety concerns, while delivering win-win solutions to the public who wants to see this iconic herd preserved for future generations to come.
We want you to know that YOUR voice makes a difference. 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; not even our president. With your support we can purchase fencing materials to keep horses off the roads, fund our education campaigns, help us fund humane management, and pay for the rescue of suffering wild horses when needed.
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The SRWHMG welcomes any and all observations about the horses, their locations, or injuries and deaths. You may text or call with any concerns to the Salt River wild horse hotline at 480-868 9301.