There was excellent news out of the ERSD today and that was that there will be no capture season this year. For that I thank all of you who wrote your e-mails, letters or signed on line petitions. I do strongly believe it was your voices that were listened to by the government. That was the the main objective that we wanted for this year. Now the work will continue in order to have the wild horses re-designated as a “Heritage Animal” . There is still a lot of work to be done along this line and it will take a bit of time in order to convince the government of Alberta that this would be beneficial for all parties involved.
Some of the things that will have to be done includes having document proof of the interaction that the horses have both with domestic cattle on the grazing leases and with all other wildlife that co-exist on the range that the wild horses occupy. What impact do the horses really have on the natural grasses and forages throughout their range? Only one study has been done in Alberta, (Salter 1972) In my years of documenting the wild horses I have accumulated many binders of information and made notes on most of these points. In order to hopefully protect the horses I am working on collecting the data and producing a paper. It is hoped that when completed I plan to present to the stakeholders committee where they can have a true understanding and the role that they play in the current ecosystem of our Alberta foothills.
The other initiative that I am working on is the creation of a research and rescue facility for wild horses that may need it. One individual has offered for use for this purpose a section of land next to the forestry. This would be an excellent location to facilitate further research into the wild horse behaviour. It would also allow adequate range for horses that need to be rescued for what ever reason. It could become a focal point for the public to witness the wild horses first hand. This will take some funds but I am sure through e-mails that I get that there are donors out there who would readily help get this off the ground.
The other important task that is necessary is to have an accurate count done throughout wild horse country on the number of wild horses that inhabit it. There are individuals willing to help out with this too. So the work continues but with renewed optimism that we can succeed in our goals and objectives.
As you all may know this winter has been incredibly mild and lacking snowfall, which you can see in the above photo of Sandor’s herd enjoying the sun and the open grasses. His mares are heavy in foal and last year’s babies are thriving. It is good to know that the mares in foal that we do see will be able to carry through their pregnancies without worry.