As the debate rages on how best to manage the growing population of America’s wild horses, it’s difficult to imagine there being one solution that will satisfy everyone.
We may be running out of time.
The pressure to find a solution is growing exponentially. In December, the federal government appropriated an additional $21 million for the Bureau of Land Management with the caveat that there must be a comprehensive plan for implementing a non-lethal program that includes scientifically sound, safe and humane fertility control tools before the funds are accessed.
There is also pressure to stop the practice of shipping horses to Mexico for slaughter, a fate that befalls many wild horses. A bill was introduced in the Senate in late January to ban this practice.
Meanwhile, due to habitat devastation and the deaths of millions of native animals caused by bush fires, Australia is facing the reality of having to immediately reduce its wild horse population. Why? The horses are destroying the fragile habitats just beginning to recover from the fires. Officials fear native species will face extinction as they cannot compete with the horses. A major cull of wild horses is likely imminent.
Americans don’t want that here!
A humane, proactive effective solution is ready to implement now: The WPM Remote Wildlife Vaccine Delivery System.
WPM CEO Roch Hart, who co-developed the system with a team of engineers and experts in robotics, likens the System to an “urgent care clinic” for horses. Attracted by alfalfa in a slow-feed net in the center, mustangs enter the Hub on their own free will. While feeding, the Hub delivers an RFID microchip in the left triceps muscle. If the horse is female and deemed a candidate for birth control, a contraceptive is delivered in the right triceps.
The distance from device to horse is about six inches so it’s as close to a manually delivered vaccine as possible. The process requires no human to be physically present. There is no stress or fear for the horse. And it works.
There are no roundups. No helicopters. No traps. No holding pens. No high-velocity dart guns. And no need for community outrage.
Using WPM’s hands-off, humane system, each horse has a permanent identification number and its health, body temperature, location and fertility status can be tracked using an RFID microchip reader, satellites and a human with a smart phone. The RFID microchip also alerts wildlife managers when an individual needs a booster shot. The chips and videos the system captures when horses return to the Hub help managers detect disease in an individual or band, which could pose a threat to other horses, species or even humans.
This is also a long-term solution, not a “one off.” Horses will continue to visit the Hub, their presence videotaped and their chips read. Range and wildlife managers can now manage entire bands and populations at scale and have hard data to track, manage health, identify potential problems, and deploy resources.
In closing, proactive management keeps wild horses wild, their numbers manageable and they can continue to bring enjoyment to many. It can also bring together everyone who respects wild horses, wildlife and America’s range lands. My passion in founding WPM and creating the system is my love of the horse and the land and a desire to bring all stakeholders together. Thank you for listening, for following our Facebook and LinkedIn pages, and most of all, believing in us!
– Roch Hart, CEO, Wildlife Protection Management