Onaqui Mountain Wild Horses – announced roundup
Subject: Onaqui Mountain wild horse HMA Population Control ref: NEPA #DOI-BLM-UT-W010-2017-0009-EA
March 24, 2019
Bureau of Land Management
Salt Lake Field Office
Salt Lake City, Utah
Attn: Tami Howell & F.O. Manager
Tel. (801) 977-4359
Re: Announced Roundup of Onaqui Mountain wild horses ref: NEPA #DOI-BLM-UT-W010-2017-0009-EA
To Whom it May Concern:
I am writing to oppose the announced roundup of over 325 wild horses from the Onaqui HMA.
This will gut the herd and leave a genetically non-viable population level.
It will further destroy generations of adaptation by the wild horses to this particular ecosystem
and disrupt the mature social units, or bands, thus actually defeating the social controls
that stabilize populations of wild horses.
The approved BLM plan for these wild horses makes a mockery of the Wild Free-Roaming
Horses & Burros Act of 1971! Do you realize that with 205,394 legal HMA acres your assigned
Appropriate Management Level, or AML, of only 121 to 210 wild horses corresponds to
a vast 1,237 acres per individual wild horses at the AML mean of 166 wild horses! This is
practically a wild horse empty habitat.
Furthermore I think your blaming the wild horses for what is happening to the Greater Sage Grouse
is dishonest and not true. I visited the Onaqui herd in June of 2015 and found the area to be
largely monopolized by cattle ranchers. To me it was obvious that the BLM was not treating
these magnificent wild horses fairly. When I finally did manage to glimpse a band from over
a mile away, its “patron” or leader stallion immediately spotted me and ordered his band to
dash off to higher remoter concealed areas in the mountains. I have been around wild horses
for all of my life, and I know when they are being persecuted!
I urge you to cancel this roundup and to leave this modest level of horses alone. Rather
you should reduce livestock within the mustangs’ legal area. You should adhere to Section 2 c
of the WFHBA that clearly states that the wild horses’ legal areas determined by where they were
in 2017 on a year-round basis (the term used was “range” since given a twisted meaning) were:
“the amount of land necessary to sustain an existing herd or herds of wild free-roaming horses
and burros … and which is devoted principally … to their welfare …” You are clearly not doing
this but rather using them as innocent scapegoats — and this is not at all honorable!
I would appreciate a meaningful reply at your earliest convenience.
Craig C. Downer
Wild Horse and Burro Fund
P.O. Box 456
Minden, NV 89423