Enjoyed by millions of visitors to the Tonto National Forest, the Salt River wild horses roam freely in their 20,000-acre habitat along the lower Salt River. They are protected by A.R.S 3-1491, the State law passed in 2016 for their protection. SRWHMG (we) are under contract with the State of Arizona for their humane management and we are extremely dedicated to their protection and well being. The Salt River wild horses are the pride of the community, a favorite subject of photographers and an icon of the wild, free spirit of Arizona and the American West.
Forest Service Lawsuit
Two new foals to the herd have been born this year, one in March, “Splendor” and one in August, “Coriander”. The public enthusiastically helped to name them, both are boys. Our humane fertility control program has reduced the foaling rate from over 100 foals a year, to just one or two per year. The low birthrate keeps the herd in balance with it’s habitat as well as with government goals. In essence, the successful humane fertility control is what keeps the entire herd wild and free.
With this humane management in the field, we are showing that there is a better way, as opposed to cruel and expensive removals. Our way is a win win for the public, as well as for the government and of course for the horses themselves.
However, these successful programs and the intergovernmental agreements between the Tonto National Forest and the Arizona Department of Agriculture along with the overwhelmingly passed state legislation that enabled them, are under attack.
The Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) has filed a lawsuit against the Forest Service that seeks to overturn the will of the Arizona people and halt the intergovernmental agreements. Learn more about the lawsuit and what our attorneys are doing.
Our Mission: Ensure Their Long Term Protection and Humane Management
The Salt River wild horses are the historic and majestic creatures roaming the lower Salt River in the Tonto National Forest in Arizona. They are the pride of the community, a favorite subject of photographers and the icon of the wild, free spirit of Arizona and the American West.
These wild horses were brought into the limelight during our epic battle for their protection; the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group together with the public gave them a voice. We worked with congress and we worked toward positive solutions with Federal and State governments. It worked; while almost gone forever, today the Salt River wild horses are protected pursuant to Arizona Revised Statute 3-1491 (aka the Salt River Horse Act). We are now under contract with the AZ Department of Agriculture (AZDA) to manage this herd humanely. This partnership between the federal government, the State Government and a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) is a one of its kind and our groundbreaking program is finding the balance between it all.
So close to being gone forever, the Salt River wild horses now roam peacefully along the banks of the lower Salt River, enjoyed by the thousands of visitors to the Tonto National Forest. Together, we changed the course of history, together we have the responsibility to manage them humanely as part of our national heritage.
Managing Wild Horses Humanely
We, the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG), perform the scope of work under contract with the State, with integrity and humanity for all of the horses in the Salt River Herd.
Humane management includes many different aspects, from administering humane birth control, to rescuing injured wild horses when needed, to fencing maintenance which keeps them safe from the roads. 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.
Components of successful wild horse management:
- A data collection program that monitors the health of the herd and keeps records of each individual in it.
- A fertility control program backed by the Science and Conservation Center to stabilize population growth.
- A rescue program for critically injured wild horses and humane euthanasia in cases where a horse would otherwise die a cruel death. (See Valentina with her horrible broken leg.)
- An emergency response program, including a feed program during severe drought. We have been able to sustain the entire herd in good condition even during the worst of natural conditions.
- A habitat improvement program; cleanups and downed barbed wire removal plus any other safety hazards to wild horses.
- A road patrol program to keep horses off the roads and out of dangerous areas. (and close gates that people forget to close)
- Fencing maintenance program, which is important in keeping horses safely behind the fences.
SRWHMG does not receive any funds or grants from the government and we do not charge them for what we do. Our programs enjoy broad public support, and rely entirely on YOU, the public.
Our non profit organization is a public asset, and the Salt River wild horses are an economic boon for the State of Arizona and a historic treasure that we carry into the future.
What is Humane Birth Control and Why is it Important?
We use PZP (Porcine Zona Pelucida) immuno-contraception to stabilize population growth. It is darted in the field by our certified volunteers, without capturing wild horses. PZP 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 overie-ectomies, 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 goal of this program is for each horse born in the wild, to be able to live out its life in the wild.
PLEASE Join us in this historic movement to ensure that these beautiful wild horses remain wild and free and managed humanely.
Giving Care and Sanctuary:
We operate a sanctuary for the wild horses we rescue. While wild horses are very good at healing and at taking care of themselves in the wild, nature can be very cruel sometimes. When there is unnecessary suffering and we can do something about it, we will. Most of the time, the rescues are necessary due to human influences, such as barbed wire, cattle guards, traffic or accidental human interference. Once we rescue a suffering wild horse we are committed to providing that horse sanctuary and a quality life. But we cannot do this without you. Please consider becoming a sponsor for one of our wonderful rescued Salt River wild horses.
SO MANY WAYS TO HELP
YOU can make a difference!
All of the SRWHMG non-profit programs are dedicated to safeguarding wild horse habitat and using humane standards of treatment. Every dollar of your tax deductible donation will go towards the horses directly. To donate click here. For checks, our mailing address is: SRWHMG, PO BOX 64264, Phoenix, AZ 85082. You donation saves lives. Thank you.
There is no reward greater, than knowing you have made a difference.
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Background: In 2015, when the impound notice for their removal was posted by the Forest Service, we knew that it would take an unprecedented public outrage to prevent this disastrous fate. We gave it our all; we alerted the media, we held many rallies, and we filed an injunction in federal court. 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. Eventually, 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. We are now under contract with the AZDA to manage the horses humanely. 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 local stations ABC15, FOX10, CBS5/3tv and 12News. It is important to remember this public outrage that was a reflection of how cherished this herd is. The public wants to see these wild horses treated humanely and remain in their historic habitat.
The Salt River Wild Horse Management Group (SRWHMG) is an Arizona non-profit organization 501(c)3, dedicated to monitor, study and protect the Salt River wild horses, who reside in the Tonto National Forest, Arizona…
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!