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Old 12-25-2009, 10:16 PM   #11
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Mustang Jack: I agree that the ignorance and negative emotion surrounding the issue of the Mustangs does not contribute to a solution.

I have not worked in this area for a while, but I remember well seeing these horses in herds in the mountains around Virginia City when I was working there back in the '60s.

From what I have read the real problems are disturbances to the grassland ecology where they graze--in part the surpression of the natural fire ecology of the area. I realize that the area concerns a lot more than Northern Nevada--but I would suspect the only solution is going to be somehow correcting the ecological situation--and rounding up horses for dog food is not the answer.


I thought this was an interesting discussion of the displacement of perennial grassland by exotic annual grassland plants in California. If there is a reseeding program, perhaps a definition of appropriate species and replanting of some areas in perennial grasses is the answer --- combined with a rational fire program.

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Old 12-25-2009, 11:04 PM   #12
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From what I have read the real problems are disturbances to the grassland ecology where they graze--in part the surpression of the natural fire ecology of the area. I realize that the area concerns a lot more than Northern Nevada--but I would suspect the only solution is going to be somehow correcting the ecological situation--and rounding up horses for dog food is not the answer.

The grassland ecology in the west is impacted by many things, suppression of fire, cheat-grass, gas/oil/mineral extraction, and over-grazing by non-native invasive species. Sheep, cattle and feral horses. They ARE disturbances.

I'd call the cheat grass and grazing by the non-natives the most serious problems. Fires on the open range are generally not suppressed unless they endanger buildings.

Since sheep and cattle can end up in our bellies or in dog food, I don't see why feral horses can't be used for the same. What makes them so dang special, other than the fact that they're puuuuurrrrrty?

Feral horses will also run native wildlife away from watering holes.

Some ranchers are beginning to use sustainable grazing practices. A program of re-seeding, fire, sustainable grazing practices, management of invasive grasses and forbs, and elimination of feral horses would do a lot to help the range, IMO.
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Old 12-29-2009, 12:23 AM   #13
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OK Mustang Jack, Happy Holidays to you too. Here’s the deal> We can’t willy nilly seed prairie grasses and legumes into public lands for the benefit of an invasive species expecting the scientific community’s blessings just because our hearts tell us “saving” feral horses by letting them roam freely is the right thing to do. I have friends calling my horses hoofed locusts to my face and mine aren’t feral and they’re on private land and not costing tax payers one bloody cent… there are people who think every horse, mine included, should be blown off the continent of North America to restore some semblance of ecological balance. I KNOW you came here hoping to find people who would classify mustangs as native wildlife but… they’re not wildlife… they’re not livestock… they’re ownerless hybrid animals formally identified as an invasive species like feral pigs and they don’t belong on our Country’s rangelands. They're not part of the rangeland ecosystem… they were introduced out east in the 1500's then reintroduced... if you want to call it that... out west in the 1600's… and they’re disrupting rangeland ecological functions and tax payers are stuck picking up the tab. I feel for feral horse advocates who want quality forage “reseeded” at the tax payers expense to help them but I feel for the indigenous plant and animal communities that are in dire need of being salvaged that can’t be taken in by humans. Wanting something with all our heart doesn’t make it right when it’s at the expense of indigenous species and particularly when resources… as in $$$... aren’t unlimited. We can’t shut out the needs of mountain goats and black-footed ferrets or the hundreds of other native life forms like sage grouse dependent upon rangelands for survival or we’re perpetuating a myth that it’s A-ok okie dokie to allow emotion to override logic as long as enough people can be made to “believe”. Nobody can provide science based answers to reseed prairie grasses and legumes as forage to leave feral horses on the range… the science available doesn’t support the misguided belief they should stay put. You believe feral horses as far as the eye can see is a wonderful thing and that tax payers should foot the bill “reseeding” forage for them regardless of the ecological consequences and… anyone suggesting otherwise is uneducated, not well versed on rangeland ecosystems, and ignorant and… not giving you what you are seeking. Low blow… a real low blow to anyone who believes North American wildlife should be preserved. Rangelands peppered with horses, sheep, and cows; imported fire ant mounds dotting our terrain, nutria stippling our wetlands, cane toads overrunning our countryside, pythons reigning supreme, walking catfish inundating the landscape, skies darkened by starlings, waters dominated by carp; cats, dogs, pigs, and rats befouling our lands like we’re some third world slum, … not my vision of “home on the range” and neither is this, http://amillionhorses.com/ I love animals… that includes the cat, rat, and horse. What we humans have done to ferals… including horses… is cruel and inhumane IMHO… for the sake of preserving some iconic symbol of the wild west. It’s not the horse’s fault… it’s OUR fault. Get the horses off the rangelands and onto private property in corrals where they might receive the ongoing care they deserve as a living breathing life form or humanely destroy them. The obvious> Nobody should author some super charged misleading heart string puller saying they’re on a mission of mercy and urgency expecting environmentalists or the scientific community to sing kumbaya with them over the human induced plight of non-native feral horses when wildlife extinction rates are going through the CEILING… largely due to habitat destruction and invasive species… you just can’t expect that no matter how honorable you want to believe your intentions are. The not so obvious> Our weary earth is in pretty bad shape Mustang Jack… extinction is forever and it’s going to take all of us putting emotion aside to fix it.
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Old 12-29-2009, 11:38 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mustang Jack View Post
I am here seeking scientific advice and knowledge that will benefit rangelands in the long run
You have received the basics.
Originally Posted by Mustang Jack View Post
So far I have mostly recieved all but what I am seeking. Perhaps I did come to the wrong forum after all.
Your question was answered Mustang Jack. If you were seeking manufactured answers to support your agenda, Wildlife Gardeners most likely will not be a good fit for you.
Originally Posted by Fearless Weeder View Post
Mustangs are unarguably magnificent animals. They’re also unarguably an introduced species where ecological consequences have and continue to be scientifically demonstrable.
Originally Posted by Prairiefreak View Post
There really needs to be some mustang birth control,
Originally Posted by Equilibrium View Post
Ignoring the research doesn't make it go away just because we love to love horses. If we really want to restore native rangeland ecosystem functions... we need to begin addressing as many stresses as we can as in no more mining, boot the grazing livestock, substantially reduce recreational activities, and remove invasive species of plant and animal which includes our beloved mustangs. Reseeding without addressing the root of the problem is like putting a screen door on a submarine. Not much more I can say. Sound ecological reasons to eliminate feral horse populations exist...

Originally Posted by Mustang Jack View Post
I am asking those of you that may have such knowledge about reseeding prairie grasses and legumes to step forward and help shed some light on the agricultural benefit it could have. So botanists,agriculturalists , environmentalists, preservationists etc. Please step up and help salvage a species from being systematically destroyed because of ignorance.
The changes to rangeland species composition are well documented. The 2-3 million non-native feral horses were a big part of rangeland species composition change which is also well documented. The existing feral horses continue to degrade the rangeland undermining restoration efforts. Scientific research supporting any practice that would further compromise the integrity of rangeland ecosystems does not exist. Rangelands should not be reseeded with anything for agricultural benefit.
"In the end we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; we will understand only what we have been taught."
-Baba Dioum, Senegalese ecologist
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Old 04-17-2014, 06:24 PM   #15
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Default Should We Protect Wild Horses?

Should We Protect Wild Horses?
MARCH 21, 2014
Chuck Klosterman

excerpt from above:
Despite their romantic appeal, horses are an invasive species on this continent with few natural predators. In the United States, it’s illegal to kill a wild horse on public lands. Yet wild horses can have destructive grazing behavior, and indigenous grazers and browsers (deer, for example) presumably have to compete with them for land. Advocates for wild horses like to compare the ecological impact of horses with that of cattle, but that’s sort of like saying we should protect the Asian long-horned beetle because it kills fewer trees than lumber mills do...
The tendency of man's nature to good is like the tendency of water to flow downwards.
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mercy, mission, urgency

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