The horses of the Pryor Mountains just outside of Lovell, Wyoming are a herd of very special wild horses. Their Spanish American heritage makes them a sturdy little horse who have roamed the mountains there for nearly 200 years. They should be preserved; if this herd is lost it cannot be restored. The Pryor Mountain Wild Mustang Center was born as a public non-profit educational center to address this concern.
The center is striving to keep the gene pool as varied as they can. Fertility is an issue and they are working with the BLM to use PZP, or porcine zona pellucida, on these horses. This is a contraceptive approved by the Environmental Protection Agency. The PZP was approved to use on these horses in February 2012. It is registered as ZonaStat-H and is controlled by the EPA. The Humane Society of the United States has sponsored the registration because of its nonlethal population control method. The EPA took over authority from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of this as use in horses, not to be used in zoos.
Dr. Jay F. Kirkpatrick is one of the three owners of the non-profit research facility. He believes that this is the best way to interact with wildlife. It seems a much more humane way to handle human-wildlife conflicts. He feels this addresses reproduction and gets to the source of the issue of these wild horses.
A few thousand doses of the vaccine are made annually by the scientist who invented it, Robin Lyda, at the small labs at the center. It is made by extracting a protein from the stripped membranes of pig ovaries and then is filtered through a series of five filters which determines quality. They can make about 200 doses in 25 hours and one full batch takes about a week.
The center has been producing this since 1972 and it has been used on free range horses across the U.S. In 2011, it was used on 1,600 horses in Wyoming's McCullough Peaks and the Pryor Mountains in Montana. It has also been used on a local deer population and was able to bring its number down by 70%, meaning none had to be killed.
This vaccine's approval may mean that its demand will go up. They can put four people at a time through a three-day intensive training class in giving the vaccine. As much as training them on how to administer the vaccine, they also want these people to understand the true value of the vaccine, what goes into the production and the value of it.
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