Winter seems to have made an early appearance here in Alberta this year, but in my travels thus far, the wild horses including the foals, all appear to be in excellent condition. There is plenty of forage for all the animals that winter in our Alberta foothills. Hopefully Mother Nature will not make the winter as harsh as some are predicting. Wild horses generally can endure the cold temperatures, but it is the deep snow that can inflict a toll on them and all other wildlife. The herds have already moved into their wintering areas, but with November being hunting season, they are skittish with the amount of vehicular traffic on the roads. By the end of the month things will quiet down and the horses will be able to settle into a more stable survival routine.
Last year though it was completely different when the ESRD issued a record number of permits for the capture and removal of over 218 horses from their natural range. Hopefully no permits will be issued this year, but no decision has been made as of today. (November 4/12). In her letters to concerned Albertans, the Minister, Diane McQueen states that her department is working with WHOAS and other stakeholders to come up with a management strategy for your wild horses. Even if we accept the government’s number of 770 wild horses roaming free, this is really a small number in comparison with the amount of land this total number inhabits. Let me show you their map of the 5 equine areas in the province in which the wild horses roam. (click on image to enlarge)
As you can see the amount of land this number of horses live in is immense. Therefore, WHOAS believes that taking into consideration last winter and spring where some herds had lost all their foals and some only have one left, there is almost no chance that the herds will have increased to a point where any more should have to be removed. Mother Nature has always proved to be the best management tool in regards to the wild horses. One only has to go back to the government’s own records for the period between 2000 to 2005 where their numbers stayed relatively stable.
I want to concur with my colleague, Dr. Claudia Notzke’s statement that if ESRD does go ahead and issues permits this year we can only take it, despite their words to the contrary, that they wish to see the wild horses eradicated. It proves then that they are not considering the viewpoints and concerns of Albertans and are just listening to a select few self invested stakeholders who do not care for the wild horses.
Therefore we encourage you to continue to write and email to the minister, Diana McQueen, stating your objections to any issuance of horse capture permits.
The 2013 calendars are now in stock and we have begun mailing them out. If you wish your copy or a perfect Christmas gift, send a cheque or money order made out to WHOAS for $25 which includes postage and handling. See the real beauty of our wild horses and the reasons for keeping and protecting them for all to see.
WHOAS, Box 70022, Olds, AB T4H 0A3