Thứ Năm, Tháng Sáu 1, 2023
HomeNewsWild horses are dying in Mono Lake after the snow melts

Wild horses are dying in Mono Lake after the snow melts

Several carcasses of wild horses were discovered this spring on the southwest coast of Mono Lake, after California experienced a cold and snowy winter.

As the meter-thick snow finally melted around one of Mono County’s most fascinating attractions, U.S. Forest Service officials and volunteers found remnants of a massive presence of wild horses — species that usually live farther east — wintering around single lake and leave behind large amounts of fertilizer, ecological damage and in some cases, decaying skeletons.

“Visitors should be prepared to encounter horse carcasses and dung,” Inyo . National Forest officials Posted on Facebook last week. “There have been reports of some horse remains around the South Tufa and Navy Beach areas of the lake, and this may increase in areas where wild horses roam during the winter.”

The Forest Service said the horse deaths could be related to the long and cold winters, but it noted that the official cause of death has yet to be determined.

“Land managers are not particularly interested [by these deaths]Lisa Cox, a spokeswoman for Inyo National Forest, said in a statement. “This has happened, is happening and will happen to many other wildlife species in this area.”

It is also unclear how many horses were found dead.

But some Mono Lake ecologists and volunteers worry that the deaths, large amounts of manure and disrupted habitat are the latest signs of a growing problem as more and more horses become available. wild continued to migrate into the Mono Lake Basin.

“Nearly every square meter of trail in South Tufa and Navy Beach is covered with manure, and piles of manure have blocked access for people with disabilities along the boardwalk from the parking lot to the lake,” according to one post. posted online on Thursday of Mono Lake Commission, a non-profit organization that works to protect the lake and its habitat. “A number of horses died in South Tufa during the winter and their scavenged carcasses were hung between tufa towers and along the lakeshore.”

Herds of ponies run through the bushes outside the Lee Vining and Mono Lake areas.

Horses run through bushes outside Lee Vining and Mono Lake areas in October.

(Carlos Avila Gonzalez / Chronicles of San Francisco)

Bartshe Miller, the commission’s director of Eastern Sierra policy, said that based on anecdotal evidence and game cameras, they estimate there could be between 12 and 200 horses that spend the winter in the area, where the foals Streams, wetlands and tufa towers are especially fragile and vulnerable. Easily damaged by large animals. This area is outside the normal range of horses, more than 20 miles east of the lake. federally appointed herd manager around the California-Nevada border, but Miller notes that these animals have begun to move westward in recent years.

Cox said feral horses cause “negative ecological impacts on the sensitive hydrological resources of Mono Lake.”

Cox said: “The recent deaths of these horses provide further evidence that the size of this herd cannot be supported by the landscape in which they are expanding. She said the Forest Service is “exploring options” to update the wild horse management plan – which has not been updated since 1988 – but no changes have been made yet.

a year 2019 Report of the United States Department of Agriculture has recommended that Inyo National Forest update its five-year management plan for the herd, called the Montgomery Pass Herd, but that has yet to begin.

Earlier this month, Inyo National Forest officials and volunteers cleared two horse carcasses and more than 1,000 pounds of horse manure “to reduce visitor impact in key trail areas,” Forest officials said. Country Inyo wrote on social networks.

Wild horses, which are federally protected, are part of the Montgomery Pass Herd, to which officials have designated nearly 200,000 acres, 70,000 of which are in the Inyo National Forest, according to federal report.

The horses started moving west beyond that designated territory and into the Mono Lakes Basin in 2015, said Geoff McQuilkin, executive director of the Mono Lakes Commission. have reached the west side of the lake, where this year they have made their presence even more apparent.

“They usually move west as the population grows,” says McQuilkin. “Based on the amount of manure at the scene [this year]maybe they got stuck there due to the heavy snow.”

McQuilkin said the horses may be attracted to the site because of the availability of some grass, the lake’s fresh water and, especially this winter, the absence of human activity, as the snow has closed. lake.

Cox said a 2020 census conducted by the Forest Service counted about 654 horses in the Montgomery Pass Herd, three to four times the proper management level established in 1988, with 76 percent of the population. That horse is out of the set range.

Miller will be very helpful to people, the habitat and the horses if a good plan is in place to protect the horses, protect Mono Lake and its habitat, and protect public safety, Mr. Miller said, noting that the horses have begun to move near some roads as well.

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