International wild horse conservation center needs help

Farm Forum

Lantry, S.D. – “One hundred loads of hay would get us through an entire winter,” says Karen Sussman, president of the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros (ISPMB). “We are appealing to the generosity and goodwill of South Dakota’s farmers and ranchers to donate one load of hay to the organization.”

According to Sussman, escalating hay prices have created a need for hay donations, additional funding, and a critical downsizing of ISPMB’s four wild horse herds.

“We are seeking good homes for some of our rare horses,” Sussman says. “Blood typing and DNA has been done on all of ISPMB’s horses. We are the only wild horse and burro conservation center to successfully preserve entire rare and endangered wild horse herds. Our Spanish herd is descended from Father Kino’s original Spanish stock, which dates back to 17th Century Arizona.”

Sussman says, “ISPMB has conducted extensive behavioral studies on these herds and is creating an ever-expanding model for managing wild horses on public lands.” She adds, “This summer ISPMB partnered with Princeton University, hosting a Princeton student conducting summer long behavioral studies.”

ISPMB was formed in 1960 and is the oldest wild horse and burro organization in the country. In 1971, ISPMB was instrumental in getting Congress to pass the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro act which protected these animals from “capture, branding, harassment or death,” and deemed them “an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”

One thing Sussman says ISPMB is always on the lookout for is “lease land at a reasonable rate.” Sussman says, “Free-roaming wild horse herds are mostly self-sustaining, significantly reducing the need for large hay purchasing and costly long distance trucking fees.”

“There is a pressing need to acquire hay and downsize herds through adoption before winter arrives,” Sussman concluded.

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