If you love animals and nature, you must visit the Salt River Wild Horse Sanctuary in the Tonto National Forest near Phoenix, Arizona. It’s a bucket list destination for all animal lovers. You can get somewhat up close and personal with these majestic creatures – more than 180 of the roam all around you. They’ve been in this habitat since well before the Tonto National Forest was created in 1902.
We visited these majestic creatures last spring during the drought months and watched volunteers in the management group supplement their natural food, supported entirely by donations. This is an experience all children should partake in that can’t be taught in a classroom.
What?! Mass euthanasia?!
As the story goes, on July 14, 2015, the U.S. Forest Service posted an impound notice to remove or otherwise dispose of these majestic creatures within seven days. When the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group got wind of this, they kicked themselves into high gear and contacted thousands of media outlets, held rallies, lobbied legislators and filed a lawsuit. Their efforts did not go unnoticed. In conjunction with their attorneys and the American Wild Horse Campaign, discussions ensued.
Public outcry ensued
Immediately, public outcry reacted in every means possible and bombarded the Forest Service. Negotiations continued and the U.S. Forest Service acquiesced to a 120-day stay of execution of their impound notice. Arizonians spoke up and the legislators bestowed the horses a “voice to be heard.”
Their voices were heard
Just shy of Christmas in 2015, the Forest Service completely rescinded their impound and removal notice. Thereafter, the Arizona state legislators, with support from Governor Ducey, created a bill to protect this long-lived herd, further making harassing them illegal. Additionally, a codifying measure to promote proper herd management was sanctioned for their healthy survival.
Modern-day management of the wild herd
Since the wild herd thrives surrounded by civilization, limiting their food supply contained therein, it is necessary to humanely manage the herd’s population. The herd’s growth is managed by PZP (Porcine Zona Pelucida) an immuno-contraception administered by darting the mares. This high-tech birth control does not hinder the mare’s hormones or their reproductive behavior and interactive dynamics amongst the horses. The goal of this management policy ensures each horse born in the wild can live out their life entirely in this natural habitat.
To thank Governor Ducey for this support, the first colt born in 2017 was named “Ducey”. This organization is worthy of a visit when in south-central Arizona, less than a half-hour from Phoenix. You will thoroughly enjoy watching the rivalry among the young colts while the stallions guard their mares with newborns. It’s an experience everyone will cherish.
Visit their website and watch the videos
Visit the Salt River Wild Horse Management Group’s website and plan to visit this bucket list destination when in Arizona. Even watching the videos or adopting a newborn is a worthy project for kids. Consider donating or volunteering for this worthy cause.
Kate Doherty has been writing for more than 30 years in technical, medical and general media. In her previous business, she and her spouse dealt with special projects within the military/government sector. Recently she published Masquerade: A Logan Scott Novel under the pen name Bryan Alexander, a thriller now available in eBook and paperback on Amazon. It’s a page-turner.