TWS Panel Discussion
ROOM: RSCC, D8
Wild horses are an iconic symbol of the West to some, to others they are a nonnative invasive species severely impacting arid and fragile ecosystems. Still others see a beautiful but feral equid that is trying to make a living and its man and government to blame. The session begins with the showing of the masterfully done short documentary, “Horse Rich & Dirt Poor”, a “conversation starter” to a highly charged and controversial issue. Watch the film through the eyes of a young field ecologist. Charles is on a fact-seeking journey through Nevada with natural resource experts to learn and see first-hand the challenges of native wildlife surviving where horses and burros compete for and impact critical riparian meadows and streams. The film focuses on 2 wildlife species impacted by excessive horse numbers: a federally threatened trout species and the imperiled sage-grouse, the bellwether of our western sagebrush ecosystem. As this journey unfolds, Charles sadly realizes from all that he has experienced, the fate of our wildlife and wild places if the current narrative continues. After the film will be a lively moderated “Conservation Conversation” among the audience and panel experts in wildlife, rangelands, and human dimensions. Session moderators will collect questions from the audience to explore this paradoxical conundrum of emotionally driven management at the expense of wildlife diversity and ecosystem health. Questions will be posed in keeping the conversation inclusive of as many perspectives and dimensions as feasible, building to solution-themed dialogue at the end of the session.
Organizers: Mike Cox, Cynthia Perrine
Supported by: Nevada Chapter of The Wildlife Society; Western Section of The Wildlife Society; Fin & Fur Films