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A powerful story of stallion fatherhood

The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign: Happy Father's Day! Have you ever thought about the fact that America’s wild herds are simply made up of tight-knit families? These families are led by a lead mare and a band stallion. Most of us envision band stallions as dominant, aggressive leaders. And that's true. Stallions are constantly prepared to protect their genetic lineage by whatever means necessary. But behind that fiercely protective demeanor, stallions are also nurturing and attentive fathers. Give to Protect Wild Horse Families This is Black Hawk. He has been roaming Nevada’s Virginia Range with his family for more than 17 years.  Black Hawk is the oldest surviving son of Bodie Braveheart and Midnight Mama, who raised him to be a powerful leader and a devoted father. Black Hawk’s family began when he united with his first mare, Maxey. Together, they have built a band in the canyon, which, today, includes their youngest son, Bryson. Around two or three years of age, it’s customary for stallions to leave the band they grew up in. For example, Black Hawk’s son Starry Night ran off with a herd of “bachelors” at age 2 but returned after a few months. Though it wouldn’t be unusual for a stallion to be shunned from the herd he left, Black Hawk welcomed his son warmly back into the fold until Starry Night was ready to set out on his own for good. As Black Hawk climbs up in age, another of his sons, Shadow Dancer, has stuck with the band and shouldered a growing amount of responsibility for protecting his family. Give to Protect Wild Horse Families It’s common to see strong aggression between the two males during the fight for dominance between the two males when herd leadership transitions from one stallion to another. Yet, a few months ago, volunteers on the Virginia Range were privileged to witness the ceremonious transfer of power from Black Hawk to his son Shadow Dancer. As Shadow Dancer assumed his role as band leader, there was no fighting, no chaos — only peace and mutual respect. We watched in awe as Maxey and Bryson remained by Black Hawk’s side, and the family bid Shadow Dancer and his mares — Chacha, Moma Socks, Maryjo Thinstar, and Chachie — farewell. In Black Hawk’s eyes was a look of relief, as if he knew the time had come for ...

In just a few weeks, summer helicopter roundups will begin in full force

The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign: In just a few weeks, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will begin its summer roundup campaign. Over the coming months, thousands of wild horses and burros, including newly born foals, will be subjected to dangerous helicopter roundups across the West. Families will be broken apart, thousands of innocent animals will lose their freedom forever, and many will be seriously injured or worse, killed. HELP US PREPARE The first of these roundups will take place at Wyoming’s North Lander Complex where the BLM will round up a jaw-dropping 2,766 wild horses from their homes. To make matters worse, the agency has authorized the gelding (castration) of up to 95% of captured and returned stallions at North Lander, as well as the implementation of unproven Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) in returned mares and the widespread use of the unstudied vaccine Gonacon. Our team is fighting every day to bring an end to the BLM’s cruel and costly helicopter roundups – but until we can stop this practice for good, we must do everything we can to hold the agency accountable for what it's doing to our wild herds. That’s why we send observers to document as many of these roundups as possible. We must show the world what is happening to our wild horse and burros. Your support enables us to send our observation teams to the most remote corners of the West, where the BLM conducts many of these brutal operations, to ensure no animal welfare violation goes unrecorded. With just a few weeks left before the start of summer roundups, will you make a contribution today to help us hold the BLM accountable for this summer’s roundups? FUEL OUR OBSERVATION FUND We don’t just document these animal welfare violations, we compile our observers' photos and videos to draw a clear pattern of cruelty against wild horses and burros. We then provide this evidence to change-makers in Congress, as well as use it for legal action when possible. That’s why we need to ensure we have enough funds to send our observers into the field. Without them, the BLM’s actions will continue to be shrouded in secrecy. Please help us sustain our roundup observation program and help us hold the BLM accountable with a donation today. DONATE NOW Thank you, American Wild Horse Conservation ...

June E-News Update

The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign: This week’s E-news is full of actions you can take to protect wild horses, updates on a recently introduced bill that could put more mustangs and burros in danger of slaughter, and a touching tribute to the well-lived life of American Wild Horse Conservation (AWHC) board member Dr. Joan DeVanzo. Two Actions You Can Take for Wild Horses Right Now 1. Protect the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horses Have you taken action for the Little Book Cliffs wild horses? If not, now’s the time to do so! There are only four days to add your name to AWHC’s public comments calling for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to collaborate with local groups, like Friends of the Mustangs, to expand the Little Book Cliffs humane in-the-wild fertility control programs rather than round up this historic herd. Take action for the Little Book Cliffs Herd! TAKE ACTION 2. Speak up for the North Lander Wild Horses Wyoming's North Lander Complex wild horses need your help! In just a few weeks, the BLM is set to begin the largest wild horse roundup of the summer season, removing over 2,700 North Lander wild horses from the wild and returning up to 40. Even worse, the BLM has left the door open to castrating up to 95% of the returned stallions as well as the implementation of unproven Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) in returned mares and the widespread use of the unstudied vaccine Gonacon. Call on the BLM to abandon its use of permanent sterilization in the North Lander herd! TAKE ACTION New Bill Could Put More Wild Horses in Danger of Slaughter A recently introduced bill, H.R.8541 – the Wild Horse Integrity and Slaughter Prevention Act, would reduce the title waiting period to six months (from one year) for all adopted horses and burros. This increases the risk of abuse and/or the likelihood that the adopter will resell or “flip” their mustang or burro for profit. Read more about AWHC’s opposition to this bill in its current form. READ MORE Remembering Dr. Joan DeVanzo, AWHC's board member Earlier this year, Joan, an esteemed member of the AWHC Board of Directors, passed away after a valiant battle with cancer. AWHC’s executive director attended her Celebration of Life last month. For two hours, more than 100 of Joan’s friends, family, and colleagues gathered to honor her memory and celebrate her many accomplishments. Read more about ...

Ushering the issue of wild horse conservation into the mainstream

The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign: In recent years, wild horse conservation is gaining more and more attention – in part thanks to American Wild Horse Conservation’s (AWHC) efforts to raise awareness about the issues facing our nation’s mustangs and burros. If we’ve learned one thing as an organization, it’s that once people become aware of the plight of wild horses and burros, they are upset and motivated to take action to protect them. FUEL OUR AWARENESS EFFORTS That’s why we’ve been seriously ramping up our awareness efforts over the past several years. In the last month alone, we’ve placed and been included in 12 impactful stories in the media highlighting the dangers facing wild horses and burros, including the inhumane use of helicopters for roundups, the Adoption Incentive Program (AIP) slaughter pipeline — which is threatening the lives of hundreds of wild horses and burros — and more: We’re translating this awareness into direct action for our wild herds. Recently, we centered our efforts around three major focuses of our work:
  • Ending the AIP cash incentive: we mobilized our supporters to call for an end to the AIP, leading to 10,000 actions taken within 24 hours;
  • Increasing roundup transparency: We spearheaded a campaign resulting in over 50,000 total letter submissions calling on the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to install cameras on helicopters used for roundups;
  • And ending the donkey skin trade in the US: we called on our advocates to ask their representatives to cosponsor the Ejiao Act, resulting in over 31,000 total letters in support of this important bill.
Awareness is the key to bringing about the change our wild horses and burros desperately need. The BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program holding system is nearing its breaking point, with more than 64,000 horses in captivity and roundup season less than a month away. Time is of the essence as we work to spread the word about more humane alternatives to protect our wild horses in the wild, where they belong. Will you help continue powering AWHC’s awareness work as we fight to keep wild horses and burros wild, Meredith? DONATE Thank you, American Wild Horse Conservation ...

TAKE ACTION: Tell the BLM to re-evaluate its plans to round up the Little Book Cliffs wild horses!

The following is from the American Wild Horse Campaign: Colorado’s iconic Little Book Cliffs wild horses need your help. The Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range spans approximately 36,000 acres and is home to a beautiful herd of roughly 211 horses. But this September, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning to remove 120 wild horses from this historic herd, potentially cutting the population in half. The BLM set an unscientific appropriate management level (AML) of just 90-150 horses for Little Book Cliffs, which could threaten the genetic viability of the herd in the long term. The plan calls for further roundups over a multiyear period following the initial helicopter roundup to achieve the federal AML target and allows for the use of Intrauterine Devices (IUDs). This herd’s population has been managed through a humane PZP fertility control program for over twenty years, the last six without roundups, until the current proposal was introduced. This planned roundup is not only cruel and a danger to the lives of hundreds of innocent horses, but it’s also completely unnecessary. Little Book Cliffs is an opportunity to prioritize humane PZP fertility control as the new model for wild horse conservation, consistent with the intent of SB23-275 – The Colorado Wild Horse Project – which was signed into law by Governor Jared Polis at Little Book Cliffs a year ago. There is still time to voice opposition to the roundup of the Little Book Cliffs wild horses. Please join us in speaking out against the BLM’s proposed plan by signing onto our public comments calling on the agency to reconsider its plans to round up the herd and instead focus on expanding the humane fertility control program that has already been successful! Take Action The Colorado Wild Horse Working Group and the $1.5m funds allocated by the state to improve wild horse conservation provide us a chance to supplement and build on local efforts, not see them swept aside by costly and inhumane federal helicopter roundups. Please take a moment to join us in standing up for the Little Book Cliffs wild horses by signing onto our public comments urging collaboration on, and the continuation of, humane fertility control programs in this herd. Take Action Thank you, Team AWHC ...