Managing Wild Horses Humanely
Managing wild horses has many different aspects, from making improvements to their habitat, rescuing injured wild horses, to humane birth control; basically the field work never ends. With our large volunteer force we monitor the horses daily, help them cross the roads when necessary and we are available for emergencies 24/7.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) continues to perform the scope of work under contract with the State, with excellence, integrity and humanity for all of the horses in the Salt River Herd, as well as what we consider SRPMIC and FMYN (reservation) horses when they are present on the TNF.
Here’s where we are:
- A successful program that enjoys broad public support.
- An exemplary fertility control program that’s a first of its kind because of the full documentation of the herd.
- A feed program that has sustained the entire herd in good condition during the worst natural conditions, for the second year in a row.
- The largest volunteer program in the Forest. We also cleans up tons of trash, old barbed wire and increase public safety.
- All of this 100% paid for by the public at no cost to the State or Federal Government.
Our non profit organization is a public asset, and the Salt River wild horses are an economic boon and public treasure for the State of Arizona.
The components of our humane management plan are:
- Monitoring the health of the herd and keeping records of each individual as well as each band in it.
- A humane fertility control program to stabilize the population.
- Long term and short term emergency solutions; such as a feed program; diversionary feeding; returning horses that wonder outside of the habitat.
- Installation and maintenance of fences and gates to keep wild horses safe from roadways.
- Work with MCDOT to implement safety features and reduce horse-vehicle collisions.
- Capture and rescue of fatally injured wild horses that would otherwise die a cruel death.
- Give care and sanctuary to the rescued Salt River wild horses at our facilities.
What is Humane Birth Control and Why is it Important?
We use PZP (Porcine Zona Pelucida) immuno-contraception. It is darted in the field without capturing wild horses. It is the only acceptable form of birth control for wild horses, as it does not harm nor influence their hormones and therefore does not harm or influence their reproductive behaviors and herd dynamics. Any other form of birth control, such as geldings or overyectomies, are cruel, expensive, and will influence their hormones, which is why we do not support those forms of birth control for wild horses.
Birth control is important, because the herd is fenced in by civilization on all sides and their resources are limited; therefore they cannot grow exponentially. The PZP program will give the older mares a break from having babies and give the younger mares more time to mature before having a foal. All mares will still be given a chance to contribute their DNA to the herd in later phases of the program. The goal of this program is for each horse born in the wild, to be able to live out its life in the wild.
This first year of the program we have successfully and safely darted almost all of the mares in the herd. It did not have any effect any of the 2019 foals, who were already in the making when the program started. We will see the effects of our birth control program in 2020.
Through this fertility control program, we can stabilize the population humanely and therefor we hope to prevent any future plans for removal. We want to thank our coalition partner the American Wild Horse Campaign for the financial support for this program.
PLEASE Join us in this historic movement to ensure that these beautiful wild horses remain wild and free and managed humanely.