Save the Heber Wild Horses – CALL SECRETARY VILSACK


if we are to save all of America’s wild horses on our public lands 


ISPMB is continuing its crusade to save the Heber wild horse herd in northern Arizona located in the Forest Service’s Black Mesa Ranger District by having a call-in campaign all of November to Secretary Tom Vilsack.  We are requesting that he declare the Heber wild horses “a study herd” which could TRANSFORM how wild horses are managed in our country. He can do this with a stroke of his pen with his authority as Secretary of Agriculture Implementing Section 10 of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (PL 92-195).

PHONE: 202-720-3631

(The horses will benefit the most by being so very polite on the call!)

Please, your call with the above information is simple to do, takes a minute or so of your time and will have a powerful effect on the future of wild horses in our country.

MORE INFORMATION: and why we ask.

In 1980, the National Academy of Sciences recommended that the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management (the Agencies) complete a 7 to 10-year study on wild horses and burros to understand their behaviors as wildlife so they could better manage them.  This was included in the 18 studies recommended along with birth control.

The Agencies focused on birth control and NEVER did do this MOST important study, trying to understand these nationally protected animals as wild animals.  In their Report to Congress in 1984, they said the following, “The most pressing question concerning future research for the Agencies is whether the benefits of increased knowledge and efficiency will justify the costs.”

Their intention, as expressed in the continuing Reports to Congress, was to limit growth by promoting the use of PZP; and if they had studied wild horse behaviors, they would have found that stable band structures free of roundups actually limit their own growth.  It would have saved millions upon millions of dollars in the long run and would have shown that wild horses did not need birth control when managed properly.

The Agencies were mandated by Congress to protect and preserve our National Heritage Species so future generations of Americans could enjoy them. Yet they manage them like livestock which is managing them to extinction

A domestic horse is not a wild horse even though they look alike.  The same with the wolf and the domestic dog. They cannot and should not be managed the same.

You better bet those scientists in charge of managing the bald eagles had a great knowledge about their behaviors and exactly what it would take to achieve their protection. In 2007 they were delisted from the Endangered Species Act which is a testament to scientists’ understanding of this nationally recognized bird.

This is a final opportunity for the Agencies to truly understand how stable wild horse bands, free from roundups every four years, equal stable growth such as the Heber herd shows. This is the last wild horse herd that has not been rounded up in nearly twenty years! 


Thanks to a lawsuit in 2006 that ISPMB participated in, the Forest Service cannot remove any horses in the Lakeside or Black Mesa Ranger Districts until a Territory plan is completed.  The Forest Service has indicated that on December 1, the draft record of decision will be made public on this plan.

This Heber herd’s growth rate over all this time is less than 3% annually.  The Agencies insist that yearly growth rates are 20% and they double every four years.  If that were the case there would be 4,800 horses out there right now.  As of 2021 there were 416.

ISPMB has studies showing how family bands limit growth when not disturbed.  Because of our studies, we were able to recognize that the Heber herd emulates our studies and may be the last intact stable herd left on public lands making them the ideal study herd.

It is difficult to NOT realize what a perfect study herd the Heber herd is. Yet, we must question why there is resistance to studying them. Let us give the benefit of the doubt and hope that Secretary Vilsack heeds your calls.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to call!  Your action just may save this herd! Pass this letter on to a friend or family and have as many people you know call Secretary Vilsack.

Please remember to help ISPMB with a donation to assist us in our ongoing quest to save this important herd. We cannot do it without you.

Most sincerely, Karen A. Sussman – President, ISPMB

ISPMB is a 501 (c) 3 not-for profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible.

Thank you for your generosity!

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