Last week wild horse herd managers and scientist came together in Billings Montana for a 3 day birth control conference, organized by the Science and Conservation Center.
Simone Netherlands, president of the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group, (SRWHMG) and Jacquelynn Hughes, AZDA Salt River Horse Liaison, presented together on the SRWHMG birth control program and the importance of government agencies working together with non profit organizations on such projects.
Different agencies, groups and volunteers who have PZP programs, compared results and discussed new developments as well as some of the challenges.
There are indeed some factions as well as individuals who really believe that (native) PZP is a pesticide. There are many untrue rumors about PZP, but fact of the matter is that it saves lives. It does so by humanely controlling populations that would otherwise be completely removed. It saves African elephants from being poached and it saves American wild horses from being removed from public lands.
The Non profits came from as far as Roemenia and South Africa (HSI) to speak to how well their programs are working, some having 100% effacacy rates! Zero negative side effects to any mammals have been noted and on Assateague Island, mares that have been darted for years, are living to be in their 30’s! They are healthier because their body’s don’t have to go through birthing and nursing every year.
The BLM and Forest Service were there also, BLM speaking to how they are still looking for a product that is more permanent (the “golden goose”) and the Forest Service spoke about the NEPA restrictions they recently placed on PZP programs. (Making it much more difficult for such programs to be developed on Forest Service lands.)
Despite those two presentations, the conference was fun, informative and highlighted the ground breaking work of the late dr. Jay Kirkpatrick and Dr. John Turner. The presentation by Dr. John Turner included slides of how these two renowned scientist brainstormed “birth control for wildlife” over 30 yrs ago, from the back of an old dilapidated van!
From elephants in Africa to urban deer populations, to wild horses, native PZP works. It is proving that; with effort and dedication, humane wildlife management is possible everywhere.
Simone Netherlands ended her presentation by stating:
“While government agencies are still looking for the “golden goose”, PZP is here now, it is humane and it works. It has saved the Salt River wild horses and it can save many more. Let’s keep up the fight for humane wild horse management everywhere!”