Documentary “Roaming Wild” creates momentum for solutions to wild horse management controversy

SANTA FE, New Mexico—Eighty thousand wild horses. Limited public lands. Modern problems in the old West. Screening in the DOCUTAH Film Festival on Thursday, Sept. 4, the new film “Roaming Wild” is a real life drama that paves the way to real solutions for managing wild horse populations in the American West.

“Roaming Wild” illustrates realistic ways we can manage precious resources while preserving the wild and a way of life in the  American West, the film’s director and producer Sylvia Johnson said in a press release.

Johnson shares stories of people who question the sustainability of the status quo, yet remain determined to save our wild American icons and the land they live on.

“I have seen quite a few movies regarding the wild horse dilemma in the U.S., and ‘Roaming Wild’ is the best balanced production yet,” said Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, director of the Science and Conservation Center in Montana.

New horse management techniques seen in “Roaming Wild” will be put into action by the Bureau of Land Management for the first time in Utah, where they will use contraception to humanely control the population of the Onaqui wild horse herd featured in the film. Through compromise and innovative solutions like this, Johnson said in her press release said, the film ultimately reveals growing hope for a viable future in the West through shifts in national dialogue and a push for policy changes.

“Roaming Wild” will have its Utah premiere at the DOCUTAH Film Festival on Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7:55 p.m. Filmmaker Sylvia Johnson will be in attendance for the Q&A.

Event details and resources

  • “Roaming Wild” premiere at DOCUTAH Film Festival
  • Thursday, Sept. 4, at 7:55 p.m.
  • DSU Eccles Fine Arts Building, Dixie State University, 155 South 700 East, St. George, Utah
  • Roaming Wild Film website
  • DOCUTAH: Website | Facebook

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  • LNorman September 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Where did the number 80,000 come from? There are not even 80,000 wild horses left in the wild and captivity combined. 70% of remaining herds are below genetic viability and this miniscule population has 28+ million acres of legal domain (across 10 states) on our Public Lands so there is plenty of land for them but evidently not them and special interests plundering our Public Lands. Discussing fertility control on a species that is not even at a population level that supports genetic viabiltiy is ludacris.

  • Shane Destry September 4, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    “Eighty thousand wild horses. Limited public lands. Modern problems in the old West. ” this beginning starts off the story on the false premise that there is a “wild horse dilemma/problem that needs to be solved. It should have begun 12 million cattle and sheep overgrazing public lands, limited public lands with the BLM handing out fracking permits (generating them $4 billion ) in drought stricken areas with the result that 97 billion gallons of water were contaminated last year ! That is the problem of sustaining public lands in the West ! Our wild horses who number only 20,000 remaining free running on public lands are simply being scape-horsed for the destruction of our public lands by corporate profiteers.

  • crypto666 September 4, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    If Jay Kirkpatrick says it is balanced, it isn’t.

    Hey shane, isn’t it about time to update your whole song and dance routine? Its is getting quite old and pedantic. It is already well established that you have no clue what you are talking about.

  • COO Coo Mormons September 4, 2014 at 8:17 pm

    That’s about 10 horses to every male in Hurricane. Woo Hoo!

  • Lynn Huebner September 5, 2014 at 9:12 am

    Shane Destry is correct. First of all there are only about 26,000 wild equines left after massive and brutal BLM round ups and they intend to keep gathering. BLM solicited a report on the equines and their impact on the range from the National Academy of Sciences (“NAS”) which was published last June. The result – the NAS found that the round ups were deemed to be unnecessary and may well end up causing increased wild equine propagation as they are being been driven into survival mode and in fact have a positive effect on the land they graze. 70% of the herds left are below viable genetic levels. It has been determined by scientific reports world wide that the destruction of the herd animals and their predators are the major sources of the destruction to the range land. Massive amounts of money are arrayed against the equines by cattlemen (who have not the slightest inclination to learn about reserve or holistic range management, nor are they required to by the government who leases them public land devoted “principally to the wild horses and burros” (Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971) for the princely sum of $1.35 per AUM). The following is quote from Circle W Ranch in TX currently using holistic range management and who have had amazing results: “Just as plants need all of the other plants in order to be healthy, so do animals. Creatures like this wild burro co-evolved with pronghorn. Horses and their ancestors have been in our deserts for 50 million years. Human impact caused them to disappear 5,000 years ago. They have been back for 500 years, and yet, our game “managers” say that these animals harm pronghorn. An entire industry has grown up around the eradication of wild plants and animals that are declared to be “invasive” based on the false science of “Invasion Biology.” Invasion Biology is more akin to a religion since its deeply-held eradication beliefs have no scientific basis. Its practices are a costly boondoggle which harm habitat and wildlife. In fact, desertification coincides with the removal of the natural impact of herding ruminants. Although much desertification is rightly blamed on poor ranching and agricultural practices, the rootcause of grassland desertification worldwide is the decimation of large herding animals, and their predators and cousin creatures that were essential to ecosystem health.” This, from a rancher who KNOWS his business. You would think a film maker would have done just a teeny bit of research before producing a film.

    • crypto666 September 5, 2014 at 1:27 pm

      Another fairy tale? If the nas report said nothing needed to be done, then why did they suggest contraceptives to control the unsustainable populations of unwanted horses?

      Reason #1 why horse advocates should be discounted in horse management; they refuse to deal with truth.

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