[Ed. Note: Take action, Horses Flee BLM Helicopters In Subzero Temperatures.]
From Return to Freedom
By Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist and Elyse Gardner, Public Observer, January 2, 2010
More to come. Right now we are just sending stills. We have videos and interviews, but these photos really do capture the anguish and drama of the roundup for these majestic icons, our treasured American wild mustangs.
On New Year's Day, the BLM rounded up 10 wild horses but
only captured 9 because a 6-month old foal died en route. APHIS vet at the
scene, Dr. Al Kane, reported that after being chased by the helicopter for
"1/4 mile" the little foal was behaving strangely, lying down periodically.
It is reported that the pilot radioed Dr. Kane that this foal was having
problems and Dr. Kane went out to see the foal who was found dead. Dr. Kane
said that he did a necropsy in the field and discovered congenital heart
defect and said that foal couldn't have handled any exercise and probably
wouldn't have lived to adulthood. They left the body in the field and
refused to allow the public observers to witness the body.
Below are the photos of the roundup that took place today (Saturday,
January 2, 2009) showing how the captured band stallion, "Freedom,"
valiantly fought for and regained his liberty although he had to leave his
family of 8 adult mares and 2 colts. Jumping a 6-foot fence and immediately
thereafter breaking through a barbed wire fence and injuring himself, this
was an awe-inspiring, do-or-die effort demonstrating the loathing of
captivity to a wild horse and his need for freedom. We can only pray for his
recovery from the injuries the sustained from the barbed wire.
Before his escape, he became hung up by his front legs when he reared
with all his might to attempt an escape from the narrow fenced area where he
was being examined by Sue Cattoor and her wrangler.
Also included here are shots of the capture of his entire band, the 11
horses including Freedom himself.
More to come. Right now we are just sending stills. We have videos and
interviews, but these photos really do capture the anguish and drama of the
roundup for these majestic icons, our treasured American wild mustangs.
Photography by Craig C. Downer 1/2/10 11:11:46 a.m.
The capture of Freedom and his band by helicopter chasing 11 horses.
Band stallion, Freedom, in the lead. You can see the Judas horse (being released), trained to run into the pens so the wild horses will follow.
Photography by Craig C. Downer 1/2/10 11:11:58 a.m.
Desperate horses, Freedom and his family huddle together.
Photography by Craig C. Downer 1/2/10 11:23:34 a.m.
During examination, Freedom attempts escape and gets caught up on the fence.
Photography by Elyse Gardner 1/2/10 11:28:48 a.m.
Freedom slipped again as he struggles to free his upper leg from the fence.
Preparing first failed attempt to clear 6-foot fence to freedom. He fell on
his back during this attempt but pressed on to try again...
Preparing for final herculean effort to clear 6-foot fence to freedom.
Photography by Craig C. Downer 1/2/10 11:30:34 a.m.
...only to have to crash through barbed wire...
Photography by Craig C. Downer 1/2/10 11:31:33 a.m.
...to a bittersweet return to freedom, for leaving his cherished family behind.
Photography by Craig C. Downer 1/2/10 11:31:36 a.m.