Sunday, May 23, 2010

TRIBUTE TO MOUSE, the Mouse Who Roared

It is my difficult task to announce the death of Mouse, the little grulla yearling colt who captivated me from the day I saw him in the temporary holding pens at the Soldier Meadows trapsite on January 6, 2010.
I must go to Fallon right now to see those he left behind.  The slideshow and video will tell you all I know at present; I hope to find out more today.  I will add to this post later.
I remain stronger than ever,
For the wild horses, captive and free, and their humble burro friends,
Elyse GardnerOn Another Difficult Issue:
I've been out of town documenting range conditions at future BLM-planned roundups, and I was reviewing email before leaving again. Things that need to be said:

About little Sorro:  
The suffering of this infant has generated a tidal wave of response and comments, and I just want to say that we do not know why this mare's milk was drying up.  Clearly this was evident -- and it was evident the foal was not getting nutritional needs met -- for days before he reached his horrid end.   It seems convenient for BLM and/or Broken Arrow staff to suddenly be keeping accurate birth records of foals now that this one's care is under scrutiny.   As far as his being only three days old, he seemed at least a week old, even to Dean Bolstad.  
BLM has stated on the record that ordinarily they do not keep records of the foals until they are tagged and branded at between four and six months old, nor do they necessarily record which mares have birthed.  Foals are being born and dying and not being internally logged put on the "daily updates" which we're told will now be ending and becoming "weekly" updates.  We public observers happened to catch Sorro's experience.  We have no idea what else has gone on at Broken Arrow concerning the lives of the foals, all the more indication that the public should have access to holding facilities, and the BLM should know and expect the public to be present.

I have learned that just the day before my video and this foal's death, Dr. Sanford did see this mare and foal and chose to let them remain together in that big pen to see if things would improve.  So questions then arise: 

1) Why was not this pair placed immediately in a a hospital pen together where they could have more easily received observation and/or treatment?  
2) Was the foal examined to see if he had any problems nursing, such as teeth, gum, jaw, or other issues that would inhibit his ability to nurse? 
3) If no evident anomalies existed with the foal, why was not the mare given a milk-producing stimulant? 
4) Why was not this failing little boy given to Shirley if his plight were known?    
5) Was an autopsy done? If not, why not?
6) Was the problem to do with the foal, or the mare? e.g., was anything noted about the mare's previous PZP treatment toward building database to study the longterm effects of PZP on milk production, on foals, etc.?

I am very happy to see the care given to these animals.  The work and relationships formed in order to accomplish this is a good thing.  BLM's giving of these foals to this organization benefits the foals, and I am pleased to see it.  These facts do not negate the true chronology of events, however, and I, too, feel compelled to talk about what's really going on.  

The scenario given to Maureen Harmonay of The Examiner about at least one of the orphans brought to Shirley Allen isn't quite accurate.  Maureen was given the impression that BLM officials noticed the foals were having problems, and BLM got right on it and called Shirley right away and/or that some of the mares' milk was dry.  Here is the chronology of what happened.  Judge for yourself.

On Sunday, May 2, I documented by video a little lost baby (now in Shirley Allen's care) in one of the mare/foal pens who could not find his mother.  I have 12 minutes of video of this pathetic, thin little guy looking  and calling for mom. I called Dean Bolstad over and he stood and watched with me as this little guy haplessly followed this mare/foal and then that one, and then was rebuffed by a mare with her foal when he approached with his little submissive lip clacking and tried to nurse her.  She put her ears back and gestured with her head, "Be gone."  Three times he tried to urinate and nothing came out.  

Dean reassured me that the foal's mother must be in there somewhere, that he looked fine because he was moving around fine.  I told him I was very disturbed because all I had was his placating comment, but the truth of the matter is the public has no way to follow up since they keep no records at all on foals until they are tagged and branded at about four to five months old.  I was very concerned about this little boy, and so were the other public observers present that day.  To stay with the tour I was required to move from this pen with no resolution, leaving this little orphan to wander pathetically alone, calling out hopefully every few minutes. Deep sigh.

The following tour -- Saturday, May 8 -- I was relieved and moved to find this little boy had been adopted by Cream Pie, who now nursed two foals,  a scene which I videotaped and photographed as documented in my Tribute to Mustang Mothers slideshow.  He was obviously content and secure at having found a home with this mothering mare.  I called Dean over to share the good news.  Dean was happy to see this, and it was evident that he was discovering this little adoptive family for the first time right along with us. 

During the Sunday, May 16, tour it was announced that three foals had been taken Shirley Allen's, at least a couple of whom had been adopted by a generous mare, and one mare apparently had a total of three foals.   

This little one left either the 13th or 14, a full 11 or 12 days following his known orphan status.   Had any followup been done for him before Cream Pie stepped in to save him?  Until I was seen documenting him and urging follow up on him, it was Cream Pie who saved this little one, not BLM officials, who now ride on Cream Pie's coat-tail.   

 Comments I hear about how foals die and have various issues on the range:
 We all understand that hard things happen to wildlife on the range, but this flawed logic seems a poor attempted justification for BLM's and the vet's failure to act on behalf of this helpless mare and foal. 

To be clear:  BLM took that scenario -- what "happens in the wild" -- out of the equation when they rounded up these horses and utterly deprived them of the self-directed life they once brilliantly lived.   It seems very forked-tongue-ish for people  to keep quoting "what happens in the wild." They cannot have it both ways.  Let these intelligent, self-sufficient horses indeed be free on the range and let the wild things happen.  But since they are not permitted to remain wild and free-roaming, BLM has made itself responsible for these animals, and they have a legal and moral duty and obligation to care for them and certainly to not allow them to languish and starve.  

Thank you for your loving work, Shirley.  None of my comments and criticism pertain to you or your kind work.  

For Mouse and his kind,

I remain
For the wild horses and their humble burro friends,
Elyse Gardner


  1. First, Elyse, my condolences on Mouse. I know how much this horse touched you. May he not die in vain.

    Second, I have been asking since the beginning of May what became of the orphaned foal who mother died shortly after birth. I was wondering if another mare had become a surrogate. The timing is about the same as this little orphan calling for his mother and then being lucky enough to find Cream Pie. My question, for which I have not been able to get an answer for the last month is, what happened to the orphan whose mother died of complications? Did the BLM put it down? Or did the BLM leave it to its own newborn devices to find a surrogate to nurse it? Why are these answers not SOP on the daily gather reports? If a mare dies shortly after birth, why are they not reporting what becomes of its foal? And why is it next to impossible to get an answer? Elyse, you need daily access to these horses. How can we help you get it?

  2. Elyse, You worked on this all night out of your respect and love for Mouse and all these horses, captive and wild. Your work has reflected the growth and changes the campaign to save the wild horses has been going through the past year. I realize how careful you are and fair minded your work is. Despite the grumbling of some who are either not present or who have not found the advocate's road to their liking, or even have divided loyalties, you have been steadfast for the wild horses and cared for each and all. You have given those persons you encounter every opportunity to show their side and cooperated with them. You have listened to the advocates around you and found support there. I know your day is long again as it was yesterday. Keep your eyes open. mar

  3. Oh, Elyse! I read about Mouse on Laura's blog earlier and I just broke down and couldn't type any more. I feel as if I'd been slugged.

    I dare anyone to say anything about "what happens in the wild" when discussing THIS one. If Mouse had been left alone, he'd be alive. Period.

    Seems some don't agree, but to me, and I know to the public, THIS is what it's all about. If this isn't a perfect demonstration of what we've been complaining about so bitterly, I don't know what could be.

    I know this must be extremely hard on you. At least we know one little orphan is okay.

    Keep up the wonderful work, but don't forget to take care of yourself as well. We ARE behind you.

  4. How are these horses breaking their necks? Running into the fence? Spooking while feeding through the metal bars? Webcams. We need live webcams to view 24/7.

  5. Elyse, thank you for standing for these horses and especially for little "Mouse" I am heartbroken

  6. Why is the BLM not held to the same standards as the rest of America. Animal cruelty is a FELONY by FBI standards. Deprivation and neglect of animals in restricted settings is animal cruelty.