CAES in the news, the AZ Independent Supports the Wild Horses, Does the Government?

©CAES 2018

Comparing Theories, Management, and Tragedies

Recent situations that seem to prove the statements of wild horse opponents, but do they? CAES looks at facts, theories, and hypocrisy in the recent Cold Creek and Herber wild horse herd.

Read the full article here
“Arizona should take a whole lot of pride because that Heber area ecosystem is beautiful simply because it’s working,” said Cecama-Hogsett. “That’s the big story — that Heber herd is the only one that IS working. Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Let us and the community step in and help if need be.” (excerpt from the article)

That’s not exactly what was said, It was that it is working, and that is because man has not eliminated the apex predators and they are keeping this population in check. Val responded to Laura Singleton, the journalist who spoke with her and authored this article, but later someone brought to our attention how awful the comments after hers were, and if you know Val, you know she is an educator and fierce advocate for many wildlife species but her passion is the wild horses, so …she had to respond a bit more. We thought we should share.

V Cecama-Hogsett 

Thank you for doing this story, Laura. I wanted to let readers know that it is CAES. I am not sure where you got the population numbers, but after speaking with one of our people this morning, that number is about twice what our boots on the ground people say are out there. However, I do not believe that an actual census has ever been done. Also, the situation on the Navajo was clearly staged as many horse people will tell you, and I pointed that out to Mr. Johnson. Also the Heber group you mention at the end of your article IS the CAES branch in AZ. And Barb Rassmusen from the Hila Group is also a CAES member. Mary Hauser is from the Heber Group. So it is CAES the ASNF has been working with, though it’s clear they didn’t know it. What is also clear is that different statements are being made to different parties, and we need to have one contact person with ASNF, Steve Best told one of our people we could not set out water. And this issue of creating mud…really? That is the most absurd reason I have ever seen for not providing water to an animal. If a private citizen did that with their animals we would be in jail, wouldn’t we?

Wild horses are non-native because they were not here, were domesticated and brought back.
Elk are native even though they too have been domesticated.

V Cecama-Hogsett

What gets me is the one someone said, that clearly repeated the rhetoric we always hear…these horses double in size every 5 years. The population in the Heber Wild Horse territory has remained the same since 2005. Apex predators are managing the population. The situation there is heating up because as the earth changes, and the drought becomes more severe ranchers need more land as forage becomes more and more scarce. They also comment about the deer and elk when claiming horses are not native. What they don’t understand is there are 2 issues one is feral vs. wildlife and the other is native vs non-native or invasive. It is not native vs feral lol. In the first issue, we have feral vs wildlife, that issue was decided by the courts time after time, and is decided by the legal definition of wildlife. Our horses being managed as a protected species are in fact, legally wildlife. The second issue native vs non-native or invasive is more complicated because it boils done to biology, DNA, and genetics. But that has also been decided over and over by the science community, and is also something most Indigenous people will tell you is a non-argument. (Not the Tribal Fish & Game or Tribal Councils who get paid for killing our wild horses on their lands, but the Dine (elders) the real tribal members who still follow the traditional oral history and path that is their culture and heritage. Scientists and biologists will recognize that the first tale told by anti-wild horse people (the horses went extinct and were BROUGHT back) is an impossible statement to make if the animal is not native. Something that was never here (or non-native) cannot be brought back. The second tale told (they are a different genus, commonly called a different species) that domestication made them non-native. Domestication has not morphed into a new genus of horse. Equus was the last genus of horse here, in the 56 million plus years of horse evolution, equus is the genus that roams wild now. It matters little is someone caught one and tamed or trained it to behave in a different manner. Does a circus lion become a non-native species in its country because it has been captured and trained? Has the DNA of offspring from that lion made that off-spring any less native? NO. Have we seen the changes that are seen from wolf to dog, as they were domesticated happen to create a new genus? NO. What we have are different breeds. segments that have had certain traits bred in our out for breeders preference. They have not changed the DNA, there is no new genus that proves today’s wild horses are some new genus. The argument really could be made that domestic horses are nothing more than a tame wild horse. And yes Prezwalski is a different genus, and were not here at the end of the Pleistocene Era, however ALL genus of equus originated right here on this continent, and in the case of the Prezwalski, the evolved from a genus in what they are when they moved to another continent, just as our last horses here on this continent evolved to be the equus genus, the same one here today. Now if we find Prezwalski DNA here…maybe you could say those wild horses are non-native here because they DID evolve into a separate genus of horse on another piece of land.

 And then, of course, there is this little tidbit on the elk specific to the Apache-Sitgreaves NF. Oops…

“By the late 1800’s native elk (Cervus elaphus merriami) were believed to
have been extirpated from Arizona. Consequently, Arizona’s current elk herds
are a result of reintroduction efforts which took place in the early 1900’s.
In 1913 the B.P.O.E. Lodge in Winslow succeeded in obtaining 86 animals from
the Yellowstone herd. The animals were transported by rail to Winslow. From
Winslow they were transported south by horse drawn wagon some 40 miles and
released near Cabin Draw, in what is now the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
(White 1968). Several additional reintroductions took place between 1913 and
1928. These early efforts are credited for reestablishment of elk in Arizona. “

V Cecama-Hogsett

Sorry, one more comment and I promise I will get off the podium because we will never change the opinions of some. In reply to loving these horses to death, this is exactly what I told MR Johnson in a conversation today. If wild horses do not have water, and it is purely because of a drought on their preserve, that is nature. However, if the horses do not have water because their access has been denied due to a man-made situation, i.e. livestock fences, that is not nature. When humans interfere and create a situation it is our responsibility to fix issues that are caused by that interference. So in this case, horses are fenced out of other water sources, on their outlined territory where they would travel to when a traditional water source dries up, this is one of those situations man created and must be accountable for. And in this instance, CAES and our members ARE providing water, and we have done so in NM and other places as well. We discussed today some option to be looked at for a more permanent solution than hauling water out like we are now. The other thing I want to point out that no one seems to notice is that we have elk feeding stations all over the country, east, and west, my favorite heard is in the mountains back east where people flocked during rut to hear the bucks. But the same agency that provides elk feeding stations also says people need to not feed wildlife because it causes them harm, a statement they make about mule deer, and in the case of wild horses they mistakingly claim wild horses are not wildlife, I guess we need to update them on legal definitions and court rulings too. However, elk who are a source of revenue for Fish and Game are fed and watered, often on the wild horse preserves, but in fenced areas that the elk and deer can jump in and out of but wild horses cannot access. Again human interference, accepted when it benefits humans, but we take no responsibility or accountability for wildlife when it does not?

While AZ Game & Fish claims to oppose wildlife feeding and apparent selective watering for some species. We happened upon another…oops. Found in a 2017 Hunting Calendar Handout

Screenshot 2018-05-15 20.16.25

As in the recent situation with the Cold Creek herd that was a wild horse preserve (the word sanctuary was used but the wild horse areas managed for horses are in fact wild horse preserves set-up by mandate of the 1971 WFRHBA)  This practice of management depending on the special interest groups who apply the most pressure and ignoring or interpreting of the law in a manner to fit the outcome desired has got to stop. The Cold Creek horses in the Wheeler Creek Joint Management Area or JMA (managed jointly by Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management) was one such situation where horses were allowed to starve due to lack of forage from the drought and on this same JMA is at least one feeding station. How are the horses kept out? Fences, the deer, and elk will jump the fences but horses will not. So, are we managing wildlife as wildlife, or are we managing differently based on the financial value of a species?

When we illustrated in a previous article, wild horses are only permitted to use 17% of the original preserve acreage nationally (acreage first outlined as a result of the 1971 WFRHBA) are they really overpopulated? Or have we tried to put too many animals into an ever-shrinking pen? The wild horses are after all the only wildlife species we know of that are ironically not permitted to roam freely, despite the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act…hmmm.

2 thoughts on “CAES in the news, the AZ Independent Supports the Wild Horses, Does the Government?

  1. I continues to amaze me that the wild horse haters seem to ignore the FACT that only mares can produce a foal and can only do so once a year! The “doubling in size” argument is absolute ignorance, either of the scientific facts, OR believing if they say something often enough – people will believe it. Taking the word of the local “stakeholders”, ie, ranchers as to the truth of the situation when they are the ones to profit if the horses are eliminated? Not smart!

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