Program Highlight: Fertility Control
What we do for the Salt River wild horses and why we need your support
- In 2015, we saved the Salt River wild horses by “stampeding” Congress and the Forest Service while also offering solutions as an alternative; we promised that we could manage wild horses humanely, for the public and by the public.
- We were grateful for the overwhelming public support and for the patience of the authorities. Since then, we have come through on every promise that we had made. Under contract with the AZ department of Agriculture (AZDA), we have made sure that these beloved horses are healthy and happy, come rain or shine.
- With our dedicated volunteer force, on a daily basis, we clean and improve their habitat, maintain fences for their safety (and yours), and we record and monitor everything.
- We handle every horse emergency and we provide rescue in cases of critical injuries and/or orphan foals. Once rescued and fixed up, we also provide sanctuary for them. They get to live in a family band setting, like they would in the wild, and are cared for by loving volunteers.
The most important program to the horses’ continued freedom, is our humane PZP birth control program. Because it is so important that they remain wild and free, we are setting high goals. We are going the extra mile, because we are in a race against the clock to save the Salt River wild horses… again.
We are fighting proposals that are on the table to drastically reduce the herd to only 100 horses. Of course this is a terrible proposal that is not supported by the public, since there should never be less than 200 wild horses in any herd for their genetic viability. Plus, where would the rest of them end up?
However, the herd has grown, because it took 5 years for all of the laws and procedures to fall into place. To no fault of the horses themselves, in 2019 we saw the largest number of horses ever recorded. It is going to take time and a lot of hard work, to reach an ideal herd size that everyone can be happy with.
We have asked for 5 years to prove that our program is working and for 10 years to accomplish a herd size of approximately 200 Salt River wild horses. It is a reasonable proposal and with your support, we can get there.
We have administered over 500 darts so far on over 200 mares. The mares, plus their last years foals, are healthy and happy. We are excited to see the first results, lots of mares with yearlings by their side, but no new foal.
Rest assured that we will still have some foals. There are always mares who’s band we could not find at the right time, and the pzp is only 95% effective. However, because the natural attrition rate will exceed the much lower birthrate, the population will shrink with each coming year. This is what will afford the herd their freedom, in perpetuity.
It will also set precedent for the rest of the country; that population numbers can be controlled through birth control, versus expensive and cruel roundups.
The Salt River wild horses are a highly valued natural resource and a tremendous economic boon to this area. The public will continue to stick up for these horses, so it is in everyone’s interest to stick with the middle road; the win-win solution PZP.
One dart in the butt is better for the mares than producing a foal every year, and if it keeps the whole herd wild and free, then we have hit our target.
We do not get paid by anyone but you, the public. That does make the success of our programs depend entirely on you. Even during these hard times, we have to continue to perform at full capacity. So, we ask our supporters to spread this message; Please invest in these local treasures in order to keep them wild and free.