Wild Love Preserve Founder: Our Path Forward

In 2010 when I founded Wild Love Preserve, folks told me it would not be possible to bring stakeholders together in a new light, one told me to stop reinventing the wheel, another even attempted to shut me down, however I stayed true to my beliefs and spearheaded collaborative efforts with the Idaho Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and stakeholders. Wild Love Preserve is a unique legacy project that includes our innovative wild horse conservation program, conflict resolution, education platform, comprehensive range health fixed on sustainability, and the creation of our wildlife preserve in the heart of Idaho’s wild horse country, which will serve as permanent home to our current 136 Challis-Idaho wild horses and future Idaho wild horses not otherwise adopted. Kindness, mutual respect, accountability, science, and education drive Wild Love’s mission to protect and preserve western wild horses in their native habitats and nurture the legacy of respective indigenous ecosystems as an interconnected whole by bridging divides, and our conservation efforts have turned Challis-Idaho wild horses into an asset for the community, region, and state.

For Wild Love Preserve, wild horses lead our way in protecting the whole, meaning all indigenous wildlife and habit. We’re not a fenced wild horse sanctuary, but rather a wildlife preserve engaging public and private lands to address all facets of regional wild horse populations on native turf and in balance with all indigenous wildlife, and livestock where applicable. This is how we save wild lives and wild places, nurture balanced ecosystems and bring stakeholders to the table to encourage collaborative management. After creating Wild Love Preserve, my role has often been that of a mediator and negotiator, bringing together folks previously locked in opposition to work in concert, hence, we work with the BLM, cattle ranchers, environmentalists, wildlife biologists, wild horse advocates, youth employment groups, regional communities, and others. Because of Wild Love’s due-diligence, collaborative, and pro-active efforts over since 2010 with the Challis-Idaho BLM, there has not been a helicopter roundup of the Challis Herd since October 2012, and our programs have saved American taxpayers well over $7.5 million in a few short years following 2013 as result of our Adoption Project and our collaborative Native PZP-1Year population management program Viewed as a paradigm project by stakeholders from all sides, we’ve pioneered an all-inclusive model in wild horse conservation which has garnered national attention for years and is serving as a framework for other western states.

By way of boots-on-the-ground action, Wild Love has successfully demonstrated, that coexistence, humane treatment, sustainable management, protecting wild lives and indigenous habitats, and saving tax dollars, work together with our multi-faceted model. 2019 marks the sixth year of our humane and collaborative Native PZP fertility management program which has proven successful in slowing population growth with free-roaming wild horses on the Challis HMA darting with the BLM on the range, and with Wild Love’s adopted wild horses. By design, Wild Love’s adopted Idaho wild horses also serve as our control herd because management on our private preserve mirrors our collaborative work on public lands. Native PZP has enabled us to keep our numbers at roughly 136 over the last six years, and we’ve witnessed firsthand that it does not result in adverse behavioral issues, does not impact band or herd dynamics, has not altered the natural breeding season, does not negatively impact the fetus or cause birth defects if a pregnant wild mare is darted, and we have healthy babies born to our wild mares ensuring genetic viability.

Currently Wild Love Preserve is working to meet a vital funding deadline to secure the purchase of 10,000-acres for our permanently protected Idaho wildlife preserve before the  Challis BLM’s upcoming November helicopter roundup. This wild expanse will serve as permanent home for Wild Love’s adopted 136 Challis-Idaho wild horses removed from public lands in 2012, and additional Challis wild horses, not otherwise adopted, from this November roundup. Because of Wild Love’s collaborative work since 2010 with the Challis wild horses, Idaho BLM, and stakeholders, there hasn’t been a government roundup of the Challis Herd since 2012, versus every 2-3 years. Project support translates to lasting wildness for our iconic wild horses and places as an interconnected whole. If you would like to learn more and/or help, contact me through WildLovePreserve.org

As a 501(c)3 nonprofit, our work is made possible by donations, grants, in-kind services, and sponsors. Conservation-minded individuals and foundations such as Stone Gossard and Pearl Jam Vitalogy Foundation, Duff McKagan, the Raymond James Endowment Fund, The Earth and Humanity Foundation, The Science and Conservation Center, ASPCA, Summerlee Foundation, and The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, have been instrumental in supporting our work over the last nine years, and by design, our advisory council represents stakeholders from all sides.

Andrea Maki is the Founder + President of Wild Love Preserve.