Study shows wild horse herds with functional social structures contribute to low herd growth
It only makes sense. You disrupt horses’ social structure, threatening their herd’s viability, they respond by producing more horses. If you understand how horses interact with each other, manage them according to their needs (and not our human needs), their numbers remain stable to their environment. Now how we can convince the BLM to stop putting up fences and destroying herd structures? The ISPMB has given their full report on wild horse behavior to the BLM. No doubt it was tossed aside for the rantings of cattlemen. ~ HfH
From: Protect Mustangs
International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB)
As we complete our thirteenth year in studying the White Sands and Gila herds, two isolated herds, which live in similar habitat but represent two different horse cultures, have demonstrated much lower reproductive rates than BLM managed herds. Maintaining the “herd integrity” with a hands off management strategy (“minimal feasible management”) and no removals in 13 years has shown us that functional herds demonstrating strong social bonds and leadership of elder animals is key to the behavioral management of population growth.
ISPMB’s president, Karen Sussman, who has monitored and studied The Society’s four wild herds all these years explains, “We would ascertain from our data that due to BLM’s constant roundups causing the continual disruption of the very intricate social structures of the harem bands has allowed younger stallions to take over losing the mentorship of the older wiser stallions.
In simplistic terms Sussman makes the analogy that over time Harvard professors (elder wiser stallions) have been replaced by errant teenagers (younger bachelor stallions). We know that generally teenagers do not make good parents because they are children themselves.
Sussman’s observations of her two stable herds show that there is tremendous respect commanded amongst the harems. Bachelor stallions learn that respect from their natal harems. Bachelors usually don’t take their own harems until they are ten years of age. Sussman has observed that stallions mature emotionally at much slower rates than mares and at age ten they appear ready to assume the awesome responsibility of becoming a harem stallion.