Posts Tagged ‘montana’

Breaking News: BLM Decision to Remove Young Pryor Mustangs Issued

April 6, 2012

Major Removal Threatens Cloud’s Pryor Herd 

BLM expands removal plan for young Pryor Mustangs

BILLINGS, Mont. (April 5, 2012)—Yesterday, BLM issued their Decision Record to permanently remove up to 40 young Pryor mustangs from their home in the mountains of southern Montana. The bait-trapping operation would begin no earlier than June 4th and could continue until September 30th.

“Surprisingly, the removal decision exceeds the level they outlined in their preliminary Environmental Assessment,” states Ginger Kathrens, Executive Director of The Cloud Foundation. “Regardless of the nearly 10,000 comments sent to BLM requesting they proceed with caution, BLM has significantly increased the number of young horses to be removed. So much for listening to the wishes of the American Public.”

BLM’s Preliminary Environmental Assessment issued in December, 2011, called for the removal of 30 Pryor Horses in the 1-3 year-old category. This final Environmental Assessment ups the removal number to as many 40 young animals–two thirds of the young population.

BLM reports that they received only 1,000 comments, although it is likely they received 10 times that number. More than 4,000 comments were generated by American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) alone, but were only counted as one letter because they used “a sample letter or talking points provided from internet sites.” 

Thousands of comments came to BLM, asking that Cloud’s look-alike grandson, Echo (Killian) be allowed to continue to live free on the Pryors. Although Echo could be removed based on age, BLM has acknowledged his rare color and genetics, and has ranked him as a horse to be removed only if they cannot achieve their target removal numbers. 

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Media Contact:

Lauryn Wachs


Links of Interest:

BLM Q&A on Pryor Bait Trap:

BLM 2012 Pryor Decision Record:

Final BLM Environmental Assessment:

BLM Sets Sights on Another Massive Removal in Cloud’s Herd (Foundation release):

What is Bait Trapping?

Stop the Fencing in of Cloud’s Herd – Foundation video:

More Photos from Our March Visit to the Pryors

March 14, 2012

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Surprises in the Snow

December 30, 2011

An Update on Cloud, his Family, & All the Pryor Mustangs

Dear Friends of Cloud and the mustangs;

On our three-day trip to the Pryor Mountains this month, Lauryn and I saw only 76 wild horses. Most of these were dots through the spotting scope. But the ones we saw up close and personal were pretty spectacular—Cloud and family, his son Bolder and family, and Flint with his band! It is a thrill to see any wild horses, but these three bands are what I consider the “trifecta” of Pryor wild horse viewing!

Day One: December 15, 2011—the 40th anniversary of the Wild Horse and Burro Act


Winter Ready Mustangs & A Longshot

November 23, 2011

An Update on Cloud and the Pryor Herd – Happy Thanksgiving!

Dear Friends of Cloud, his family and herd;

Our trip to the mountaintop late last month was a difficult one. At least six inches of snow had fallen several days before we began our drive up scenic Crooked Creek Road, just reopened after summer-long repairs. Our late start found us in the dark as Lauryn and I passed the Big Ice Cave. Within minutes, we were in snow following the tracks of at least one other vehicle which gave us hope of reaching the horse range. Then the tracks ahead stopped and turned around, and so did we. There was no getting through the wet drifts so we backtracked. Halfway down Crooked Creek, our headlights lit up a little red fox as it dashed across the road. It’s only the second fox I’ve seen on the mountain in 17 years.

We both agreed if we were to find Cloud and the rest of the mountaintop horses, it would not be on the “easy” road.

Bighorn ram & ewe

The next morning we made a trip out to the Dryhead to see if we could find Climbs High’s mother and the band. No luck. But we did see 15 Bighorn sheep including 7 that were foraging on mountain mahogany near the Devil’s Canyon Overlook. A young half-curl ram joined the ewes and lambs, clearly interested in one female in particular. Back on the main road we rounded a curve and came face-to-face with the young grullo band stallion, Fiero, and his little family as they strolled down the roadside. (more…)

Bolder’s Filly Thin?

September 6, 2009

*****NEWS FLASH**** 2pm, Sept. 6, 2009
The Cattoor roundup helicopter just drove Cloud’s son Bolder and his band down the mountain. It is over 90 degrees now in the low country and the horses must travel over 12 miles. We cannot be in the helicopter or anywhere to observe and can only see and witness a small portion of their frightening journey. Chino’s band was with them as well and they fine coming in but at this time of year many of the horses are way out in the Forest Service and they had a very long trip down. The helicopter is going up now for more horses, very likely including the week-old foal and her young mother, both planned to be removed. This is the wrong time to do a roundup in the Pryors—later in the fall the horses would be much lower down the mountain. But this is when the roundup crew was available. Many of the foals are too young for this journey.
Bolder's Buckskin Filly 8-30-09 atop mountain

Bolder's buckskin filly 8-30-09

Roundup Update– Massive Removals Continue

September 6, 2009
Dear Friends of Cloud and the Pryor Horses:

Yesterday was one of the saddest dies of my life as whole bands of horses were driven off their home range by helicopter and into traps where they were then loaded into stock trailers and hauled the 25 miles down the twisting and rough Crooked Creek road. Following Trigger and his large family band down the mountain in a cloud of choking dust I watched these frightened animals brace against each other in the trailer.Trigger_into_trap_+_helicopter_ AE 9-5-09

I started filming Trigger when he was just a few days old back in 1997. Now this stunning bay stallion with the huge white blaze has grown up, winning mares of his own and his sons and daughters have faces that match their father’s. I know these horses, their history and their families. This is personally devastating to me but nothing compared to what the horses are going through. Now proud Trigger is in the desert corrals, far away from his lush mountain home. They have all been freeze-branded and wear numbered neck tags. Yesterday his family, separated from Trigger while he was put in with another band stallion, were trying to paw in their water trough to cool off. 

Bo's band

Bo's band

Early this morning they captured Conquistador and his family—this 19 year-old dun stallion should never be removed from the range where his Spanish ancestors have lived in for centuries.

photo by Living Images- Carol Walker

photo by Living Images- Carol Walker

People have driven overnight to be here and flown in from all over the country but now that most of the media is gone the BLM is moving horses much faster through the chutes and yesterday Trigger’s son and one of his mares both started coming through the chute window. I was not allowed to film or observe in the chute area but the Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center was back there and took this photo.

Pryor Wild photo

Pryor Wild photo


Trigger band in chute

In a meeting last month in Washington DC we were told by Ed Roberson of the Department of Interior and Don Glenn, Chief of the Wild Horse and Burro Program, that all of the Pryor Mountain Wild Horses would be adopted, even the horses over 10. At the first morning briefing of this roundup Field Manager Jim Sparks reiterated this promise. But in a taped interview yesterday Don Glenn said that the older horses would be sold, all people have to do is sign a paper release.

Don Glenn WH&B Program Chief Don Glenn

The BLM has changed this from a selective removal based on genetics, age, characteristics and genetic contribution to one of the complete removal of horses who live outside the designated range. This is why Trigger and Conquistador and Bo and Shane and their families are all now at Britton Springs corrals with tags around their necks. Among these bands are young foals and 21-year-old Grumpy Grulla.

Grumpy Grulla- 21 years old (on right)

Grumpy Grulla- 21 years old (on right)

We’ve followed the law and have met with the BLM, Congressionals, the Forest Service and others. We have commented on every new document and have made our wishes known. We have requested that experts write to the BLM but they are being ignored as well. We are working through the courts and have gotten all the media here we can.

However those entrusted by the public to manage our wild horses continue without consideration for the future of this herd. Please contact all your local media as well as national outlets- ask that this story be covered and the BLM investigated. ‘The Bureau of Lies and Mismanagement’ is running rough-shod over our wild horses on our public lands. Do not let them destroy another American treasure. 

Seattle and Blizzard after release 9-4-09

Seattle and Blizzard after release 9-4-09

One of our friends said today “I have never prayed so hard”. There are so many of you out there who are working to preserve and protect this herd in their wild home, please keep fighting for Cloud’s herd and all our mustangs.  The helicopter is in the air but the horses are not gone yet. 

Thank you,


Week old Filly to be removed with mom

Week old Filly to be removed with mom

Cloud's Band- Summer 2008

Cloud’s Band- Summer 2008