What's New: Fish Springs wild horses

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An update


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

Great news: our end of year fundraising totals are in, and thanks to your incredible support, we were able to reach our $125,000 goal and UNLOCK our donor match!  Your support will make an enormous difference for wild horses and burros as we launch our ambitious 2021 agenda.

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we know we can always count on you to lobby your elected officials, support our critical legal work, and raise awareness across the country about the plight of America’s magnificent wild horses and burros. This is a tough fight, but this movement has stood up to the challenge over and over again and we’ll do it again in 2021. Please read on for a recap of the 2020 accomplishments that we’ll build on and a preview of what your generosity will allow us to do this year! 

Strengthened Political Support & Made History

We teamed up with our coalition partners and worked with members of Congress to introduce the first pro-wild horse legislation in over a decade. Passed by the House of Representatives, the bipartisan wild horse protection amendment would require the BLM to implement PZP fertility control to manage wild herds humanely on public lands. Although the final spending bill did not include the House-passed amendment, it did include strong fertility control language as well as other pro-horse provisions — a sign that Congress is well aware of our growing grassroots strength and increasing support on Capitol Hill for our cause. We have an incredible opportunity this year to make real change with the nomination of Debra Haaland as Secretary of the Interior and the continued leadership of Rep. Raul Grijalva as Chair of the Natural Resources Committee. Both are wild horse and burro champions who are committed to protecting these beloved animals and reforming the broken federal wild horse and burro management program.

Filed Suit to Protect Wild Mares

The day after the roundup ended in Utah’s Confusion Herd Management Area, our legal team filed suit to stop the BLM from conducting barbaric sterilization surgeries on many of the just-captured wild mares. This is our third legal action against the BLM for plans to conduct the risky and invasive “ovariectomy via colpotomy” procedure, and we’ve successfully held the agency off since 2016! Joining us as a plaintiff in the latest lawsuit is Utahn Rob Hammer, who has extensive knowledge of the Confusion wild horses and the public land area where they live. In 2021, we’ll continue to drive this case in the courts while we also work with Congress and the administration to eliminate this brutal surgery as an option for the management of our wild horses and burros, once and for all.

Created Accountability for BLM Roundup Abuse 

While the COVID-19 pandemic made traveling much more difficult in 2020, we continued to address roundup abuse by sending humane observers to nearly every one of the many helicopter roundups conducted by the BLM and the Forest Service last year. This year we took a step beyond documenting roundups by launching an initiative to create a mechanism for enforcing the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program standards, which the agency routinely violates. We’ve teamed up with the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard University Law School to develop a rulemaking petition to strengthen the BLM’s animal welfare guidelines and turn them into legally-enforceable regulations. The petition will be ready for submission to the new Administration this year. If it is not acted upon, we will have the option of litigating, so please stay tuned!

Proved Humane Management is Possible

Our in-the-wild management program reached new heights in 2020. Not only were we able to grant funds to boots-on-the-ground organizations in Arizona and Colorado to support their fertility control programs, we also achieved an unprecedented milestone in our own fertility control program in Nevada’s Virginia Range. Last month, our volunteers and staff surpassed 3,000 treatments administered to mares in less than two years, making this the largest free-roaming horse fertility control program in the world, according to the Science and Conservation Center! Just last week, the Deseret News — Utah’s second-largest newspaper — published a feature highlighting the success of our program. In 2021, we will continue to support local groups managing their herds, expand our fertility control program in the greater Reno area, and we’re working to expand our fertility control efforts to new herds in the West!

Launched Habitat Acquisition Project

We officially launched the pilot project for the American Wild Horse Conservancy, our new land trust, in 2020. The inaugural effort focuses on securing habitat for the famed Fish Springs Wild Horses who live on BLM and private land in the Gardnerville, Nevada area. The Conservancy overall will focus on critical land acquisition to secure key habitat for wild horses, grazing lease buyouts and compensation for reduced or non-use of grazing permits, and range improvements to improve the quality and quantity of habitat available for wild horses. We can’t wait to expand this innovative program in the coming year!

We have a lot of work to do, but together, we’ll make real progress for our cherished wild horses and burros in 2021. So stay ready, stay safe, and stay tuned!

With Gratitude,

Suzanne Roy, Executive Director

A major victory for the captive Fish Springs horses


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

Over the holidays, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) removed four families of wild horses from Fish Springs in Nevada’s Carson Valley, including the famed stallion Samson.

Hundreds of thousands of you reached out and got involved in the fight to keep Samson and the captured Fish Springs horses together with the hope of returning them to the wild.

While the BLM did not agree to return them to the wild, we are pleased to report that, after a coordinated and dedicated effort between a half dozen organizations working together, we were successful in keeping these cherished wild horse families intact.

During the online BLM auction for the captive Fish Springs horses, AWHC coordinated with Montgomery Creek Ranch and Freedom Reigns Equine Sanctuary to secure ten wild horses from two bands led by the stallions Rocky and Rusty.

Happily, these two families — which include three generations in Rocky’s band: 19-year-old Copper, Copper’s daughter Luna and Luna’s baby Jimmy — will now run together at Freedom Reigns’ beautiful, 3,800-acre sanctuary in California.

At the same time, Skydog Sanctuary successfully bid on Samson’s band — which includes four generations of horses: Old Momma, a 26-year old veteran mare, her daughter Apple, Apple’s daughter Dumplin’ and her colt Sam — and will provide them lifetime refuge at its beautiful 8,000-acre sanctuary in Oregon. A local family stepped up to accept the remaining horses.

The Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates are pitching in to fund the transport of the horses to the sanctuaries as well as the gentling of the horses headed for the private ranch.

Meanwhile, the work continues to keep the remaining Fish Springs horses — and all of America’s wild horses throughout the West — wild in their habitat on our public lands.

We couldn’t have done this without you,

American Wild Horse Campaign


A Bright Future for the Fish Springs Wild Horses


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

American Wild Horse Campaign shared an update on Bring Samson, a Wild Stallion, Home


A Bright Future for the Fish Springs Wild Horses

Dear Friends,

Thanks to great teamwork, the future for the four Fish Springs wild horse families who were removed from their homes on the range by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) late last year is looking bright!

It took a village — and a coordinated bidding strategy in the BLM's online auction, which ended yesterday — to secure these cherished horses. The American Wild Horse Campaign was…

Read full update


BLM Suspends Fish Springs Wild Horse Roundup & Other News


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

Tell Your Elected Officials in DC: Stand Strong for Wild Horses and Burros!

The fate of America’s wild horses and burros is in the hands of Congress… again!  Last year, the Senate blocked a House attempt to legalize the mass destruction of wild horses and burros in holding and on the range. This year, the House is at it again, with Fiscal Year 2019 Interior Appropriations language that would authorize the BLM to manage wild horses and burros in non-reproducing or single sex herds via surgical sterilization of these iconic animals on the range. It also directs BLM to lay the groundwork for the mass killing of horses over the age of 10 — barely middle age for a wild horse. The Senate version of this legislation does not contain the mass sterilization or killing provisions. The differences between the two bills will be reconciled in conference committee, and we need our Senators and Reps. to stand strong to ensure that the Senate version of the legislation once again prevails. 


BLM Suspends Plans to Round Up Fish Springs Wild Horses

In the face of massive community opposition, the BLM has suspended plans to capture and remove approximately 50 wild horses from the beloved Fish Springs herd near Gardnerville, Nevada. Earlier this month, over 300 local citizens packed the firehouse to oppose the BLM’s roundup plan and more than 200,000 citizens have signed a petition calling on the BLM to cancel plans to remove the horses from their homes on the range. The local business community and many Nevada political leaders added their voices in support of the Fish Springs horses as well. The BLM had intended to set up bait traps this week to remove horses, but now says it will work to find “community-based management solutions that are in the best interest of both the area residents and the wild horses.”  Read more about this positive development below.


Summer Roundups in Full Swing

The BLM’s summer roundup season is now in full swing. Signaling its intent for America’s wild herds, the agency has increased its short term holding capacity and has openings to incarcerate nearly 15,000 more wild horses and burros in these feedlot pens. The BLM is using this increased capacity to round up nearly 10,000 wild horses and burros this year. Increasingly, the BLM is using “emergency” as an excuse for these roundups, enabling the agency to skirt legal requirements for analysis and public comment. And, the BLM’s plan to conduct multiple roundups simultaneously is making it difficult for advocacy organizations to document and provide humane observers for the mass capture of mustangs and burros from their homes on our public lands.


Tech Company Steps Up to Help Virginia Range Wild Horses

AWHC wants to give a huge shout out the tech company Blockchains, LLC which is now the largest landowner at the Tahoe Reno Industrial Center, near Reno, Nevada. Blockchains is strongly committed to protecting the estimated 1,000 Virginia Range wild horses who call that area home. Recently, the company went above and beyond for the horses by immediately addressing an emergency situation threatening the lives of 70 wild horses. The horses’ water source dried up to just a trickle. Many were in poor condition as they were not leaving the site to graze, but rather were standing around waiting desperately to get even the tiniest of sips from the trickling spring.

As soon as the company learned about the situation, Blockchains immediately sprang into action, giving us access to deliver water to the horses and arranged for use of a water tank on the property. Even better, Blockchains has funded the creation of a reliable, year-round solar water source for wild horses and other wildlife in the area. Learn more and watch our video by clicking below! 




Crisis mounting


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

When we launched this campaign eight days ago, we had no idea how many new threats we’d face just this week — but we also had no idea how inspiring your response would be. We’ve already raised $45,000 towards our $50,000 goal — can you pitch in today to help us cross the finish line and continue our crucial work?

In the last week, we’ve seen the attacks against wild horses escalate dramatically:

  • The BLM has resumed selling wild horses and burros by the truckload.  The new rule allows BLM to sell up to 25 horses at a time without specific approval and will attract shady buyers and increase the chances of wild horses and burros entering the slaughter pipeline. Can you help us fight back?
  • The House of Representatives passed a spending bil that authorizes widespread surgical sterilization of wild horses and burros on the range using procedures for mares that are too horrific even to describe. Now it’s up to the Senate to stop this cruel plan. Can you help us mobilize grassroots support to convince the Senate to stand strong?
  • The BLM is galloping ahead with its plan to remove 44 horses from the Fish Springs range in Nevada against the wishes of local citizens and the business community, who cherish these wild horses on OUR public lands. Can you help us mobilize opposition to this cruel plan?

And that’s not to mention the helicopter roundups that will start in less than two weeks… thousands of wild horses will lose their families and freedom; some will lose their lives. We need to be on the ground to document this barbaric practice and hold BLM accountable. Can you fuel our observation efforts?

This is a huge moment for our advocacy work — but I’m not worried, because I know that we’ve got the best advocates in the world on our side. Thank you for all of your support.


Suzanne Roy



Wild Mares in Oregon at Risk Again


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

Stop Brutal Sterilization Experiments

Two years ago, public opposition and legal action by AWHC and The Cloud Foundation caused the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Oregon to cancel plans for invasive and risky sterilization experiments on wild mares. Now the agency is at it again. This time the BLM has paired the archaic surgeries with a mass helicopter roundup that will forcibly remove 685 wild horses from their homes on our public lands in the Warm Spring Herd Management Area. We must pull out all the stops to shut down this cruel plan… again!


If You Have a Horse, We Need Your Help

If you have a horse in your life, then chances are you also have a relationship with at least one equine veterinarian. We need you to contact him/her. The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) – the professional association of horse vets – has circulated to its members a draft position statement on wild horse and burro management. It’s based on one-sided information provided by the BLM and endorses lethal management methods. We need caring veterinarians to correct this information. Learn how you can help below.


Time is Running Out for the Fish Springs Wild Horses

The Fish Springs wild horses near Gardnerville, Nevada have a worldwide following. They are an important ecotourism resource for the community and are managed humanely by a local organization at no cost to taxpayers. But now the BLM is trampling on the wishes of the community by galloping ahead with the capture and removal of at least 44 of these cherished horses. The wild horse family bands that we have all come to know and love will be shattered. The local community will be devastated. Help us stop this now.



Public Outrage Needed: #SaveFishSprings


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

Sophia and her baby Grayson are living peacefully on our public lands in the Fish Springs area near Gardnerville, Nevada. They have no idea that this month, the BLM will begin trapping and removing members of their herd and sending them to holding facilities. Babies like Grayson, only months old, will be taken from their moms if the BLM deems them to be “weaning age.” Mares like Sophia will be separated from their stallions. The Fish Springs wild horses families that we have all come to know and love will be shattered.

It doesn’t have to be this way. The Fish Springs horses are managed humanely with birth control through a partnership with the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates – at no cost to taxpayers. It makes no sense to take these cherished wild horses away from the community that loves them and is managing them free of charge to the government.

Please take action to save the Fish Springs wild horses. Here’s what you can do today:

  1. Make the calls to Nevada officials. 
  • Nevada State Director Mike Courtney: 775-861-6400
  • Senator Dean Heller: 702-388-6605 and 775-686-5770
  • Senator Catherine Cortez Masto: 702-388-5020 and 775-686-5750
  • Representative Mark Amodei: 775-686-5760.

Nevada residents can say, “As a Nevadan, I ask you to stop the BLM from removing Fish Springs horses from the range and taking these cherished mustangs away from the community that loves them. Please tell the BLM to accept the community’s proposal to humanely manage the Fish Springs horses and save taxpayers $1.5 million by leaving them on the range and controlling the population with birth control. Thank you.”

Non-Nevadans, please say: “As a taxpayer, I ask you to stop the BLM from removing Fish Springs wild horses from a community program that manages them at no cost to taxpayers. I will be much less likely to spend my tourism dollars in Nevada if the BLM is allowed to destroy this cherished wild horse herd. Thank you.”

  1. Reach out to these elected officials through social media by clicking here.
  2. Attend the community meeting to stand up for the horses: Thursday, July 12, 6 pm – 8 pm, Fish Springs VFD, 2249 Fish Springs Rd., Gardnerville, Nevada. We need to pack the room with citizens willing to stand up for our horses!
  3. Sign the petition – help us hit 200,000 citizens speaking up to save the Fish Springs wild horses. Sign here.

Thank you for taking action to save the Fish Springs wild horses.

– The AWHC Team

Sign the Petition

Little Colt Grayson Could Lose His Mom


The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign:

News & Alerts

The Fish Springs wild horses in Nevada need your help. They’re loved and cherished by the local community and by people internationally. Thousands of citizens follow the stories of the magnificent stallions Blondie, Samson, Zorro, Blue, Shorty and their bands, including the recently born colt Grayson (pictured below with his mom Sophia), as they live their lives wild and free on our public lands.

Grayson and his mom Sophia sharing a tender moment on the range.

But now the Fish Springs horses are in danger. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning to begin a trapping operation in July, targeting 70 of these beautiful horses for capture and as many as 45 for permanent removal from the range.

The action will shatter the families that we have come to know and love.

That’s why the agency needs to hear from YOU, the taxpayers, immediately. Please help us save the Fish Springs Wild Horses by taking the following actions:

1. Sign the petition

Your signatures will be hand delivered to the BLM and will make a strong statement about the support of Nevadans and other Americans for this beautiful and popular wild horse herd.

Sign here.

2. Call or email BLM Nevada State Director Mike Courtney: 775-861-6400 and mcourtney@blm.gov.

Here’s what you can say:

“I’m [name] calling from [state] to ask the BLM to leave the Fish Springs wild horses in Nevada on the range. It makes no sense to remove horses that are being successfully managed at no cost to taxpayers and warehouse them in holding facilities, costing taxpayers over $1 million. Please accept the community’s plan for the humane management of the Fish Springs wild horses.” 

Thank you for taking action to save this beloved herd! 

Grace Kuhn, Communications Director