Alberta's Wild Horses - Page 3 - The Horse Forum
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post #21 of 34 Old 01-27-2012, 02:29 PM
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Animals in the wild suffer all the time, starvation, they often injure each other, or a prey animal takes it down. If a horse in the wild suffers and dies by the elements, this is natural. If one gets picked off by a wolf pack, this is natural. Survival of the fittest, and that is fair.

The population of wild horses in Alberta versus deer, moose, rabbits is much, much lower. It's literally incomparable. Also people don't generally drive 'cars' where the majority of wild horses of Alberta are.

It's fine and dandy to hand out a few tags for each animal to hunters and have them go out and try to spot an evasive bear, cougar, wolf. Or bunker down and wait for a deer to come along and aim true. It's a completely different thing to mechanically round up a bunch of horses. There are thousands of deer wreaking havoc on farmers fields, we've pushed wolf populations away from where these deer are. So we hunt the deer. Remember thousands of deer out there.. 300 wild horses.
Even population management for other species in Alberta that are low in numbers - hunters are put in for a draw.

Natural selection is doing it's job in keeping wild horse populations way down. There is little need for human interference. Consider the damage of 300 horses roaming in small herds, to one logging run taking out the side of a mountain. The damage in not comparable. And yet, I don't say ban logging, we need this resource. At the same time we need the logging, we DON'T NEED the horses. However, logging companies push the wildlife out - so why round up the horses? Push them out. Wild horses move so much in one day you won't see them where you're cutting tomorrow.

I personally love the fact that these non-native horses are in our mountains. They're not out to hurt people, they are not prey animals who pose a ligetimate danger to humans. I'm not talking about hitting a horse with a car, that can happen anywhere whether it be a domesticated horse or wild horse in the Rockies. It can also happen ANYWHERE not just with horses but also with domesticated dogs, cyotes, deer, cow, moose, and hell I sure hear about a lot of people getting hit.

I'm not saying population management of the horses is wrong, but the way it's being done is certainly not right. I don't necessarily agree with the views that WHOAS put forward. Although not a native species, I do think they have just as much right to the land than other wildlife. I believe if population management is to be applied to the horses it should be in ratio to their population and reproduction rates. Just like any other species of animal taken out of the wild.

If anyone actually took the time to read all the way through to the end, thanks! This is just my opinion as we all have our own. I'm pretty proud of the horses in our Rockies and I think I'd be a shame if they were completely removed in time.
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post #22 of 34 Old 01-27-2012, 02:40 PM
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And might I add, we could all state our opinions all day long - buuuut it's not likely to change a thing. And WHOAS probably isn't making too much of an impact either.
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post #23 of 34 Old 01-27-2012, 08:02 PM
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Evansk, you do have a point about the impact of any vehicle entering the forest, and I will acknowledge that. However I stand by my statement regarding the massive efforts these companies put in to minimizing their impact and restoring patches after they move on - soil tests, studies, and constant work to make sure trees are replanted and supported are all done, and the particular issue here seems to lie with an excess in the wild horse population beginning to interfere with these efforts on top of putting a strain on an already sensitive environment.

Mystykat, where are you getting that 300 figure? A quick google search is bringing up for me numbers ranging from 250 - 1000 (in the foothills alone). Without a solid number from the people actually studying the population, I don't think we can really know for sure how many they're dealing with. If the number is high enough for them to be hindering restoration efforts, depleting food sources and starving to death in high numbers, then it's probably too high.

There are thousands of deer wreaking havoc on farmers fields, we've pushed wolf populations away from where these deer are. So we hunt the deer.
I do disagree there - the attempt to bring wolf populations back to where they once were has been a work in progress for decades now all over North America. We've done the wolves and as a result the deer a huge disservice, and attempts to rectify it and bring the wolves back has proven to be difficult, but is being done. In the meantime we have a booming deer population and until we reach our end goal of having healthy wolf numbers in the wild to balance out the deer, something has to give. Fish and Game don't arbitrarily hand out licenses either, the surplus figures are determined by those who monitor the populations in accordance to the current population, growth rates and predicted changes. I don't believe it is possible to be licensed to hunt Grizzlies in AB right now, and other vulnerable predators are very limited - as are endangered prey animals like bison and pronghorns. In contrast pretty much everybody and their grandpa can go and get a deer hunting license (depending on the species, and I know in BC you can practically go to town on the bucks but does are limited)

It's worth noting - since WHOAS article just goes to town on a bad assumption - that the logging companies do not send their own employees out to collect data on environmental impact, etc... they contract this out to seperate, largely government funded research facilities whose purpose is to monitor the local wildlife populations, analyse any variances and report their findings to both the government and the industries responsible for the impacts - they are the neutral body who ensures that the industry is doing its part to minimize its impact. The issue isn't with wild horses getting in the way while they're logging, but rather that they are coming in after the loggers have moved on and ripping up the saplings they've planted to try to minimize their own impact. Pushing wildlife out is a huge issue within the logging industry - as a negative consequence of their practices and something they are under immense pressure to prevent. The above research facilities monitor this as well, the goal for all parties being to make sure that wildlife are disturbed as little as possible and that they come back to the site afterwards. We used to get to see the photos taken by nightcams posted in restored logging sites, of bears, deer, cougars, you name it. Very interesting.

It may be worth noting that the town I grew up in had the mill and the logging activities, and also a research facility. The mill is what built the town and keeps it alive, and it employs most of the population. In contrast to what many might assume growing up in a town loyal to the lumber industry may have been like, in the classroom we were educated in great detail about the environment, the kinds of trees and animals in our local habitat and the importance of preserving it. Having spent the second half of my school days here in Vancouver (where environmentalism is HUGE), I can say that I feel I was better educated in such things back in AB. In that town it is very important to them, because to keep the mill and the logging industry there it has to be sustainable, and they take pride in the forests and wildlife around them. Without restoration efforts the loggers would leave and the mill would suffer, and the town would die out. The research facility plays a huge part in educating the public and the decision makers at the mill and lumberyards, and it is critical for them to keep an eye on the forests and keep everything in balance. For that town and all the others who rely on the logging industry, they support it and are among those most passionate about preserving their environment. It's their livelihood.

I believe if population management is to be applied to the horses it should be in ratio to their population and reproduction rates.
and I have no reason to believe that this isn't already being done. Unfortunately nonbiased news seems to be a thing of the past, it's **** near impossible to find the actual research data collected (even though AFAIK it is public information) because it is buried deep underneath piles of hype like the WHOAS article - but these populations are monitored - or sure as heck should be, there are entire professions dedicated to it. The media has not yet provided a consistent number for the total population, and so the numbers of horses being rounded up are meaningless.

Opinions are opinions, but when opinions are included with the name and phone number of government officials, I like to do my part to make sure that people educate themselves before forming one
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post #24 of 34 Old 01-28-2012, 09:32 AM
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I've often wondered if genetically these horses are related to the mustangs or are the offspring of horses that were turned loose during the dirty 30's when a huge chunk of the country dried up. Also during this time there was a winter storm that raged for days pushing livestock ahead of the storm. Cowboys found cattle and horses as far away as 600 miles from their homes.
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post #25 of 34 Old 01-28-2012, 10:11 AM
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I imagine the same thing happened in Canada that happened in the US. Ranchers and farmers used to turn out all the stock they didn't use during the winter. As tractors and automobiles replaced horses, fewer horses were gathered in the spring and pretty soon there were bands of feral horses roaming around with no brands and no purpose. Then a bunch of bleeding hearts with no dog in the fight decided the government needed to get involved and now millions of dollars are spent in the US to house and feed these FERAL horses.

There's nothing like the Rockies in the springtime... Nothing like the freedom in the air... And there ain't nothing better than draggin calves to the fire and there's nothing like the smell of burning hair. -Brenn Hill
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post #26 of 34 Old 01-28-2012, 03:59 PM
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Yes, that was done up here as well.

I was chatting with my Dad last night about this and he clarified some things for me - in regards to logging vehicles chewing up the ground, they are required to disturb the ground as little as possible and have to restore what is disturbed. Soil is tested as well so if the soil is contaminated, they have to go back in and clean it up.
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post #27 of 34 Old 01-29-2012, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by xiamsvetlanax View Post
I got news for you honey, this world is coming to an end whether you like it or not, & it ain't b/c of too many horses in Canada...
Oh my, the World is coming to an end-again. Time for me to max out some credit cards & have some fun.
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post #28 of 34 Old 02-01-2012, 01:28 AM
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I think that we can all agree that to many wild horses running in the same area will mean starvation for them all. So I have to ask, what should we do about it? There are many domestic horses that are starving to death or good horses being sold to slaughter because there is simply not enough homes for all these unwanted horses. Rescues are full. The horse market is in the dumps. People are finding it more and more difficult to turn a profit on horses. How could it possibly be profitable or even a break even deal to train and pay for the expenses of a wild horse while it is in the training process?

Is it really the answer to sit on our hands and do nothing because it is 'mean' if we do, meanwhile letting the whole herd starve? I think not.

I think it is great when people care about animals and want to help. However, if you really want to help, then you have to think the whole thing through and be willing to do more than post on a forum. If you really think it out and come up with a solution, or offer money or a home for these horses in this problem, then that is great and you very well could make a difference.

I find it very hard to care about a cause where some animals are being eliminated in an effort to save herds. They are doing it for the good of the whole.

I also find it difficult to care about these wild horses when there are so many domesticated animals that are in need of help. Humans have made great efforts to domesticate certain animals. Those same animals are now unloved, uncared about, are starving, in kill pens, in rescues or kill shelters and their days are numbered.

Charity starts at home. Go to your local horse rescue or kill shelter. There you will not only find animals in desperate need of help, but you will also find it a place where you can make a real difference. I think you will also find that we don't even have a solution for pets, much less wild animals.
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post #29 of 34 Old 02-01-2012, 03:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Saddlebag View Post
I've often wondered if genetically these horses are related to the mustangs or are the offspring of horses that were turned loose during the dirty 30's when a huge chunk of the country dried up. Also during this time there was a winter storm that raged for days pushing livestock ahead of the storm. Cowboys found cattle and horses as far away as 600 miles from their homes.
The sad thing is no one has even TESTED them. The government doesn't want to spend money on "pests." I think many people would like to know the history of the Ghost Forest horses, as they are a mystery. No one knows exactly how long they've been there. What if they somehow ARE related to Spanish horses? In that case they would be a historical treasure. No one has tested, no one knows.

You can't legally own one, but it's A-OK to kill one. I really don't understand the logic in that. The protected wild/feral horses in Canada are the Sable Island Ponies and a a small number of Newfoundland ponies. Sable Island Ponies are highly managed and also extremely protected. They live on what is essentially a sand-bar. Their habitat is extremely delicate and vulnerable, but because we know they have been there since the 1700s, they can stay. They are actually considered a treasure and are "Nova Scotia's provincial horse." They were put there by people, same as the Ghost Forest horses, they both live in a delicate environment, they both have a population of approximately 300 (though the sable island ponies live on an island that is just under 35km2). So why is one a treasure and the other scorned? If they actually put the effort in to test the Ghost Forest horses maybe we could find a new treasure.

Last edited by masatisan; 02-01-2012 at 03:38 PM.
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post #30 of 34 Old 02-02-2012, 12:29 AM
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Can you confirm that they haven't been tested/aren't being studied? These are certainly things to consider, however how much is the government expected to handle? Throwing my opinion out here and feel free to disagree, but I can think of many more things I'd prefer my tax dollars to go towards, especially with the numerous mustang strains already protected (and in many cases considered a breed, domesticated and bred) - IMO protecting every single mustang band for the sake of preserving old spanish horse blood is beginning to sound like an episode of "Hoarders" - where do we draw the line?

And why does this warrant stopping any wild horse interference whatsoever? Seems to me that resources could be better spent funding more research (perhaps privately) or lobbying the government to allow captured wild horses to be adopted in Alberta?

Good point about the sable island ponies, there's no doubt that their habitat is very sensitive just like most others, but it's very different than Alberta's foothills - is it better suited to a large number of horses? Do they implement any population control measures and if so, what?

Now I'm curious, off to google I go
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