Kiowa has a baby!

2 06 2011

I wasn’t expecting Kiowa to foal until the end of the month … which makes for a couple of realizations: She conceived last year on her foaling heat, and she’s now foaling within a month of when she was foaling before she got the PZP-22 in August 2007. Makes ya go hmmm.

From this side, baby looks a lot like big brother Maiku with that white slash over her withers …

… but a little more white on this side!

The wind today was brutal. By early afternoon, the La Sals were visible only as a bare outline against the horizon. The dust in the air wasn’t as thick as I’ve ever seen, but it was a rough day. That said, I saw almost all the horses, including this newest treasure!

What a sweet little spotted baby! Maybe a filly … but maybe not!

Kiowa’s in heat, and Corazon is not happy being odd man out …

With that kind of chaos, they didn’t need me around, so I got some documentary photos of the new baby and left the ponies to the wind.


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4 responses

3 06 2011
Linda Horn

What a sweet little one, and another doting mom!

From her butt brand, I assume Kiowa received PZP-22. As I understand it, PZP-22 is intended to last for two years pre-conception, with a possible foal in the third. Kiowa went 3 years without conceiving, with a foal in the fourth. Is she an exception? I know you posted something about the treated mares before, but I don’t remember how each reacted.

The current BLM study (PZP-22 vs. SpayVac vs. who knows what!) will be for 5 years, which leads me to believe they’re trying to find something that will last at least 5 years before conception, with a possible foal in the 6th.

The BLM FAQs fertility control FAQs page states: “SpayVac™ may have potential for use as an effective, longer-lasting fertility control agent in the future. It may also offer an alternative to spaying mares in the future.”

So what’s the REAL goal? Seems to me that, by linking these two sentences (re:”spaying”), the BLM is trying to find something that will render treated mares sterile. This would remove “reversability” from their current criteria, but, since they make the rules, it follows they can break them.

I wish I was smart enough to compile the post-removal data and do my own projections. The BLM’s stated goal is to match reproduction with adoption. If they achieve this, at some point there will be a cross-over. The herds won’t be “stabilized”, but in decline … possibly steep decline.

Unlike your and others’ direct observations re:family relationships, few wild horses are being documented. Without major introductions of animals from other HMAs, inbreeding is all but guaranteed. This will eventually result in poor quality horses and, consquently, fewer adoptions. Lower adoption rates = fewer horses allowed to reproduce, leading to more decline.

Is any of this making sense?

3 06 2011
TJ

Yep, and my understanding is that SpayVac is exactly what it sounds like – an agent of sterilization, not limited fertility control like PZP-22 and native PZP. While I am heartily in favor of PZP (no surprise there), I am adamantly against permanent sterilization of wild horses (and burros).

Kiowa has had a foal every year since she received the PZP-22 in August 2007. *Alpha* is the one who had her last foal in 2008 and has not had another foal. Kiowa foaled the first of May 2008, then the end of July 2009, then the end of June 2010, now the end of May 2011. And yes, all the Spring Creek Basin mares treated with PZP-22 (?!) in August 2007 got the “DC” brand. Of the five that were treated, Kiowa, Alpha and Chipeta remain (Slate died the winter after the roundup, and Molly died in the fall of 2009). The PZP-22 worked only on Alpha. Given the studies in Sand Wash Basin and Cedar Mountains, we know now that August (among other months) was a bad time to administer it … it’s apparently a wonder it worked on Alpha.

Part of the “problem” with PZP-22 – and PZP, for that matter – is that it takes time to implement. When they got the PZP-22, all but one of our mares was already pregnant and foaled the next year, so really, the PZP-22 should have prevented just one year of pregnancy (should have prevented 2009 foals) – does that make sense? This fall, if all goes as planned, our mares will get the PZP primer, then the booster in spring of 2012, to prevent foals in 2013 (because they’ll be pregnant by the time of the roundup … the primer isn’t to prevent contraception, it’s to prime the mare’s body for the booster to come – it’s the booster they’ll get to prevent conception). From BLM’s perspective, a long wait (even though getting BLM to do most anything takes so long as to make you lose teeth from the clenching and grinding).

When we got the three mares in 2008 from Sand Wash Basin, they were all estimated to be 2 years old and hopefully not pregnant, though in my experience, it’s more usual for the fillies to foal as 3-year-olds than wait till their 4-year-old years. Raven, as it happened, was pregnant, and Mona and Kootenai were not – happily (I think we lucked out). Raven foaled in 2009 but not in 2010 – it worked. It worked splendidly on Kootenai, who has not yet had a foal but who I think may be pregnant now. Mona had her first foal in the fall of 2010.

Another part of the “problem,” from BLM’s standpoint, is that it takes labor (personnel and/or volunteers) and, in the case of PZP-22 right now, a roundup (though work is being done to make PZP-22 into a dartable pellet that can be given remotely, like native PZP). BLM has neither the time nor the labor nor the money to put into fertility control – in most cases – so it takes the “easy” – and, actually, way more expensive route – of conducting roundups to remove “excess” horses. This is something we’ve pushed all along as a benefit in Spring Creek Basin – our horses are approachable, and our area is small, and we have a dedicated group of volunteers, and I got the training, and our NMA/CO is willing to pay for the first five years of PZP to prove it works AND is cost-effective. We’re following precedent set in Little Book Cliffs, Pryor Mountain and McCullough Peaks – and several East Coast, National Park Service-managed herds – but we fully recognize that not every herd is suitable for this type of fertility control.

Frankly, I don’t know what the answer is overall. The horses and burros need an “agency” specifically dedicated to their protection … Among other things, BLM has never been known for its foresightedness … We have worked hard to change that here, as have the groups that are our role models, but I just don’t know how to change the overall management plan for this country’s wild horses and burros. The herds and ranges are all unique, and they all need unique management plans.

Adoption, I think, should be considered almost a “perk,” not part of a management plan. It’s too unstable – following the economy and people’s ability to own horses, let alone a wild horse. That said, using fertility control and bait trapping here, part of our plan is also to create a “market” for our Spring Creek Basin horses as a somewhat “rare” commodity, available only every decade or so.

4 06 2011
Lynn Bauer and Kathy Pariso

TJ – This is the most EXCELLENT explanation of the effort NMA/CO is putting forth to help this very unique herd of beautiful mustang families and bachelor groups!! From everything we’ve researched, “SpayVac” is designed to render mares permanently infertile. We are completely against its use. The PZP plan put forth for the Spring Creek Basin herd IS the right way to go! There are several volunteers ready to step up and help this herd maintain its home and genetic viability! We KNOW these horses and more importantly, we KNOW that TJ has the scientific knowledge, in-field training and detailed documentation to assist in another “success story” for the BLM, such as we’ve seen in Little Book Cliffs and McCullough Peaks. This is a perfect HMA for such an effort, and we know it CAN be done!! 🙂

7 06 2011
TJ

Thanks. 🙂 I think everything is in place here. Just need to start.

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