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[RC] wild horses vs. endangered species act - Lynn White

When it comes to sharing the range, the Endangered Species Act pretty much 
trumps everything else.  That means if, say, the sage grouse goes on "The List" 
the habitat gets special protection.  That means a limitation is put on the 
habitat regarding potential impact.  This could mean anything from keeping 
cattle out of areas during the courtship/nesting times to complete exclusion of 
any human activity. 

The big picture here is to PREVENT species from being put on the list.  That 
means volunteering to preserve habitat before it is mandated.  Remember that 
there is no protocol on de-listing species, so habitat under protection is in 
limbo for perpetuity. For example, if you are managing a ride on BLM land, you 
may be told that you can't do it anymore if someone in an office determines 
that your activity COULD impact that habitat. And it doesn't matter if you have 
been putting on that ride consecutively for the past 50 years. 

So in essence, feral horses have just got to go if they are impacting habitat 
for a species that might be listed.  Horses may have evolved here in North 
America, but they are not a natural part of the recent ecosystem and are 
considered a non-native species. It's just the way the act is interpreted. 

We all get myopic and romantic about wild horses and their fate but it's just 
the way things work, and I am afraid there is not a lot we can do about it.  
It's a small bean in the kettle and there are many other much bigger issues 
that require attention. 




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