January 27, 2016
Second report in week says wild horses serve useful ecological function and help repair damage caused by industry.
Renowned wild horse ecologist, Craig Downer, recently released his own report on the Alberta wild horse issue. He describes extensive damage by logging, oil and gas, ranching and other industries in the Alberta Foothills and says that retaining healthy wild horse populations on the landscape is a key strategy to its recovery.
During his 12 day visit to the Alberta foothills, Downer conducted 38 ecological evaluations in various diverse types of habitat. He describes in detail severe damage from human activities and outlines how horses assist in building healthy soil and dispersing more intact seeds from a greater variety of plants as compared to cattle. He recommends that wild horses who co-evolved with the habitats they now live in be allowed to fill their ecological niche and play their natural role.
Zoocheck forwarded Downer’s report to Environment and Parks Minister Shannon Phillips earlier this month to inform her 2016 capture permit decision-making process. View Downer’s Report. For further details see Table 1 and Table 2 for ecological evaluations.
“Craig Downer’s new report provides critical information to help recover Alberta’s natural ecosystems and outlines why wild horses are an essential part of that recovery, something not previously considered in the horse management program,” said Julie Woodyer, Campaign Director for Zoocheck. “We hope that the Minister will consider the positive ecological role wild horses play in Alberta’s ecosystems, and seek to take a science-based approach to managing horses in Alberta to better rebuild natural ecosystems for future generations to enjoy.”
For more information contact:
Julie Woodyer, Campaigns Director
Toll Free: 1-888-801-3222 / Cell: 416-451-5976