PZP part 2

Recently the Billings BLM field office put a scoping notice on their website briefly stating that The Cloud Foundation (TCF) as well as others was requesting increased PZP use in the Pryor Mountain Wild Horse Range. That’s about all they said, there was no direct statement from TCF nor any specifics on who the ‘others’ were yet when posted here there was much speculation on the stance of TCF about PZP use. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for respectful discussion provided that the opinion is one’s own. I will also add that although I have a slight bias toward TCF’s point of view I do look at the BLM’s as well as other’s thoughts before making my own decision.

Earlier this week TCF wrote a position statement regarding PZP that can be found here. If you have any questions about their statement please contact info@thecloudfoundation.org. I will not be answering any questions on the content of the statement simply because it is not my thoughts to clarify, so I repeat any questions about TCF proposal should go directly to TCF.

These documents are important. The easiest way to explain why they are important is the scoping notice the BLM wrote is outlining a type of management for the horses. It is also asking for the American public’s feedback by May seventh. The catch is the comments are due during finals week for me. This is why I am writing a hurried blog post versus a lengthy letter, so I will warn you in advance that this won’t be my most eloquently written blog posts.

I have heard enough of people’s opinions, read both the scoping notice and TCF’s position statement multiple times, as well as talked directly with TCF, so I feel that I know the issue well enough to form my own opinion about PZP use in the Pryors. At this point I think it is fairly safe to say that either TCF’s PZP plan is implemented or there is a removal in 2015. There is no demand for the horses removed, so I would hope that I could speak for everyone when I say that a removal is not an option.

Here’s what I would like to see with any type of management: at the very least it needs to be adaptable. In this case it might mean the difference between a strong PZP plan and a removal in 2015. To continue with the idea of adaptability there also needs to be alternatives to PZP.

One alternative to PZP is giving more land to the horses. This could raise the Appropriate Management Level (AML) and ease some of the reliance on PZP. More resources for the horses could also relieve pressure on some of the range historically used in the past by cattle. (Note: cattle grazing is no longer permitted on the range.) If the population is still deemed too high then there are also more natural ways of controlling the horses’ population.

Natural selection, in my opinion, is the best way to manage any wildlife population. In order to do that effectively, predation needs to occur. Historically mountains lions would hunt foals, but now if there are any mountain lions on the range, they are not in significant numbers to have an impact on population.

Mountain lion numbers need to go back up, and there needs to be a plan put in place to get them there. It is important to look at the entire range not just the horses, so a study should be done to determine why the mountain lions are not hunting foals. The Pryor Mountains make up a diverse range, and it is important to maintain a diverse wildlife population to reflect that.

These are my thoughts in a very small nutshell. If I get a chance I will also post the letter that I hope to send. I hope if others are able to write their own letters they will use the resources I provided and more. As always, any discussion is welcome.

Luckily London was not removed during the last removal

Luckily London was not removed during the last removal



  1. Joy Said:

    Once again you have done a good job understanding the facts. There is one other point in TCF’s plan which also falls under natural selection — removing older mares from the PZP plan. Many people have pointed out that keeping the older mares on PZP helps them live longer, which has always seemed ironic to me, since it means keeping older mares alive and on the range, but then removing younger mares because there are too many horses on the range. Removing the older mares from the PZP plan may also be returning them to another form of natural selection.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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