“They are all beasts of burden in a sense, ‘ Thoreau once remarked of animals, ‘made to carry some portion of our thoughts.’ Animals are the old language of the imagination; one of the ten thousand tragedies of their disappearance would be a silencing of this speech.”
How large will be the loss of America’s Wild Horses on America’s Public Lands? Over what time period might that loss unfold? Habitat destruction and breed control is the leading cause of species extinction, and here we can actually see cattle, a distinct overabundance, being the problem on Public lands; which, leads to not only environmental destruction, but wildlife and in particular wild horse extinction!
Generally, many of the species found across large areas of a given habitat are represented, most often anyway, within smaller areas. So we can consider habitat loss initially causes few-extinctions. Then we go to cattle . . . then discover there are so many that the last remnants of Public Lands habitat are essentially being destroyed. Thus, at current rates of habitat destruction, the common belief is the peak of extinctions should not occur for decades – Unfortunately, what does exist is an uneven, highly clumped, distribution of vulnerable species over America’s public land surface. Within these ‘biodiversity hotspots (HMA’s in the matter of this discussion), habitats are already disproportionately reduced.
Wild Horses are in danger of becoming extinct!
Conservatively, there are about seven million species of animals — a definition encompassing most organisms that would be generally recognized as plants or animals but excluding bacteria, for instance — about 85% are terrestrial – wild horses such a small percentage, yet blamed for so much “occurrence” on Public Lands – outright lies actually, to defend the over abundance of cattle and other grazing livestock on Public Lands.
Humanity is rapidly destroying habitats that are most species-rich.
To convert habitat loss to species loss, the principles of island ecology (HMA’s being an island for example within this paradigm of explanation) are applied to the terrestrial ‘islands’ that remain in a ‘sea’ of converted land. The relationship between number of species and island area is nonlinear, and from this one can predict how many species should become extinct as the size of the islands shrinks. These doomed species do not disappear immediately, however.
How does one go about calculating the rate of species extinctions from habitat fragments? There have been only a few such estimates, but projections based on a species survivorship curve with a half-life of roughly 50 years, which seems reasonable. Combining the rate of habitat loss, the species-to-area relationship and the survivorship curve gives us a crude extinction curve. From this, we would expect that current extinction rates should be modest — on the order of a thousand species per decade, per million species – but the human-induced, for example here PZP and other breeding controls upon a deficient genetics availability, and special interests toward public lands given a priority . . . Note: Also due to roundups, taking to slaughter mostly stallions, mares disappearing from government corrals in total, and the use of a pesticide PZP which interrupts dynamic herd life and creates misaligned survivorship attributes and family / band disharmony – yes, destruction of the herd dynamics in total —
. . . i.e. many horse bands and herds, the extinction percentage increases 100-fold, and quickens the process to eventually a shorter-time-span of reaction-to-action curve – or extinction within just a few years . . .
The Wild Horses on Public lands is foremost in this matter, as well as wolves, bears, and cougars, as being destroyed — apparently a priority for the ignorant, the politicians that feed upon fear and hate, and those who simply follow such ravings – which are nothing more than distorted and disgusting lies brought about by Special Interest groups and lunatics.
Because the species–area curve is non-linear, the clearing to date (or the overwhelming destruction of Public Lands from cattle) of much of America’s Public Lands, are predicted to eliminate 42% of the species that they contain (some scientists predict much higher numbers as well as much faster). The time delays before extinction mean that many more species should be ‘threatened’ than have already become extinct; that is, they are thought likely to become extinct in the wild in the medium-term future. For example with the elimination of wild horses, wolves, cougars, et al., at least 12% of all plants and 11% of all birds will come into this category as well.
Of course, more cattle onto Public Lands x2 would eliminate the other 85% of species that they contain. The extinction curve should accelerate rapidly to a peak by a decade or two if the rate of livestock increase and destruction of Public Lands remains constant. But it will be upon us sooner if that rate increases as it has been for a few years now — as seems probable.
Oddly Beef remains at 28% product thrown away (not consumed), with 4% thrown away in commercial process, and another 7% lost in transport – Yes, we apparently have an over-abundance of beef in America . . .
Once the extinction peak has passed, the extinction curve declines, perhaps into the twenty-second century as species are lost from the remaining fragments of habitat. The relative height of the peak depends critically on the amount of habitat that remains. A value of 5% of remaining habitat would protect about 50% of all the Public Lands species; smaller percentages would lead to smaller estimates of surviving species.
Habitat destruction areas remain blatantly obvious — Species found only within the areas are themselves destroyed, then eliminated, just as the habitat around them.
One observation interesting, when we considerer HMA’s within a biological paradigm – whereby, species with small ranges are typically scarcer within their ranges than are more widely distributed species, making them yet more vulnerable.
Consequently, even random destruction would create centers of extinction that match the concentrations of small-ranged species — the hotspots. So the ideology of the HMA’s on Public Lands, when first developed were very protective areas, but when manipulated, in this case for Special Interests, these HMA’s become burdensome, even dangerous to the Wild Horses as well as other animals moving toward extinction . . . Look at the term Feral once out of an HMA – a term changed with the WH&B Act to accommodate welfare ranching is all . . .
Worse, however, the HMA’s destruction, as it becomes obvious through consistency, may not have been random at all — rather malevolent. In the HMA areas designated as Wild Horse Safety Zones basically, cattle, rather than Wild Horses become the majority influence upon the Public Lands areas just by sheer numbers alone; only 12% of the original primary vegetation remains within many of the cattle grazing permit areas, compared with about 50% Public Lands as a whole.
Ironically, even within those HMA’s, the areas richest in endemic plant species — species that are found there and only there and only cattle graze and horses do not graze — have proportionately the least remaining vegetation and the smallest areas currently protected.
Applying the species–area relationship to the individual hotspots gives the prediction that 18% of all their species will eventually become extinct if all of the remaining habitats within HMA’s were quickly protected. These HMA’s, deductively, would eventually lose about 40% of all their species.
All of these projections ignore other effects on biodiversity, such as the possibly adverse impact of global warming, and further introduction of more alien species, for example sheep or goats, which is a well-documented cause of extinction of native species as well. Elk, for example, have obtained a virus from Goats feces that are fatal to Elk, et al and the virus transmitted through other infected Elk . . . Yet Cougar and Wolves blamed for Elk destruction – demonstrates beyond a doubt the iron-clad grip of lies and ignorance within our management of wildlife today . . .
Unless there is immediate action to salvage the remaining and currently unprotected HMA’s and Wild Horses and their areas, the species losses will more than double. When this happens the Wild Horses will be Extinct – NONE LEFT!
There is, however, a glimmer of light in this gloomy picture. High densities of small-ranged species make many species vulnerable to extinction. But equally this pattern allows both minds and budgets to be concentrated on the prevention of nature’s untimely end. Protecting them is necessary, but not sufficient – consider they are supposedly protected currently, but that is the lie of all lies – as Wild Horses are not protected at all!
Unless we as a civilization start considering the “truth” rather than lies of convenience for the wealthy and special interests, we will see not only wild horses become extinct, but many, many other wildlife as well as many other environments / biospheres – Conclusively, ignorance is not the path toward humane reasoning – rather, truth is the pathway to sound judgment, good management, and prolific living circumstances in America and abroad . . .
And need I say, the ability to walk out into nature, into areas with wild life, horses, predators and everything we dream about that exits, and actually pause for a moment and see them alive, in their habitat – being as one – with nature . . .
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June 23, 2015 at 7:50 pm
Thank you for a well thought out and informative article. I am President of a non-profit organization, Coyote Canyon Caballos d’Anza formed in 2003 specifically to protect and preserve a band of rare,unique wild horses that have been proven to be descendants of the horses that brought Juan Batista De Anza and his fellow explorers into what is now California in the mid 1700’s.
Restoration of this HERITAGE Herd was offered by BLM as a partnership pilot program whereby our non profit org would manage the herd with BLM assistance. .More details at http://www.heritageherd.com.
We are still battling to return this unique herd to their native range in the Coyote Canyon area on public lands. Thank you for shining a light on this issue.
June 24, 2015 at 2:54 pm
Another well thought out and well researched article on the current disastrous “management” of our wild horses & burros. And how true that so many more of OUR wildlife is being pushed into extinction – all for the greed & power of a certain few. How can it be with so many of us that do care about these animals – who write letters, comments, donate – that we still don’t seem to make a dent in these vicious attacks on OUR wild horses & burros? To say that we are taxpayers & we vote really doesn’t do much when there seem to be so few honest, intelligent people running for office – people who aren’t owned by big oil & gas or the cattle corporations – people who really care about this country and its natural environment. It is discouraging, but I have to believe that if we all keep pushing & making our feelings known, it will make a difference…
August 2, 2015 at 3:37 am
A little bit at a time we are losing are America.
It was today that a judge failed to block a order to stop the roundup of the young Pryor Mountain Horse’s. This will move the Pryor Mountain Horse’s into extinction.
Our American Wild Horse’s and Burros are tragic danger.
We are losing large amounts of Buffalo and Wolves. Buffalo’s are being rounded up in Yellowstone and sent to slaughter.
These American Icons are slowly and our publics land’s being taken over by Livestock ranchers and Big Business.
The livestock ranchers will grazing more cattle so they can sell and ship more to China.
Livestock ranchers are getting what they want and continue to more of are tax dollars in subsidies to raise more cattle for export. These cattle are not for the American public.
These horse’s and burros belong to the American public.
Many of us have contacted our state Reps , Whitehouse and more. Some of elected officials have turn their backs on us have put them in office to work for us.
That tells us the hard working tax and citizen that we and are oppions mean nothing.
I have been around horse’s all my and I have love , admired the American Wild Horse since I was a child.
Some say they are not indigenous. But they are they have seen on ancient writings on walls on some ancient sites on our public land’s. Not long a ancient horse was unearthed.
This horse’s and burros were hear first, deserve and have earned the right to live free they are survivalist.
This is my America too.