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 damn 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