The McCullough Peaks wild horse herd near Cody, which is one of the most beloved in the country, is going to be subject to the removal of 63 of its horses through bait trapping …
The McCullough Peaks wild horse herd near Cody, which is one of the most beloved in the country, is going to be subject to the removal of 63 of its horses through bait trapping scheduled to start Nov. 15.
This herd has been touted by the BLM as one of the great success stories of using PZP birth control to manage its numbers since 2011 with a 2% average annual growth rate.
So why is the BLM doing a roundup?
This is an aging herd with more than 20 of its horses over 20 years old, with many likely to die over this winter.
The BLM also plans to use GonaCon on every mare who has foaled and is over 13 years old despite there being zero studies on the impact of using GonaCon on mares who have already been on PZP. GonaCon is known to sterilize wild mares, and if they remove most of the younger horses this herd is in danger of dying out.
With currently 175 adult horses in the herd, if 63 are removed, this will bring the herd well below the 150 adults needed to maintain genetic viability as per Dr. Gus Cothren, leading geneticist on wild horses.
Another issue with this bait trapping is it will be the first to be done remotely — instead of staying at the trap as was always done before, BLM staff will stay in the comfort of the field office one hour away and not there to contend with any problems or injuries that may arise.
Lastly, I am concerned that these horses, who are loved by people all over the country, could be shipped to Wheatland. The private facility has no more adoptions scheduled for this year, so people who might be interested in adopting them will never see them again. I would much rather see them go to Rock Springs where people can see and adopt them.