Wild Horse Fire Brigade’s mission is to reduce catastrophic wildfire and save wild horses through research, education and better management
Professor Wayne Linklater Ph.D., Chair – Deptartment Environmental Studies California State University Sacramento
Wild horses are ecosystem engineers & reseeding herbivores. Photo: grasses & plants germinating from wild horse droppings. Unlike ruminants (deer, cattle, sheep) that digest the seeds they consume, wild horses complete life-cycles of flora, sustaining co-evolved fauna
California State University, Sacramento and nonprofit Wild Horse Fire Brigade signed 5-year contract establishing student fellowship studying wild horses
YREKA, CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES, December 15, 2023 /EINPresswire.com/ — In 2014, William E. Simpson II moved into the wilderness mountains near the Oregon-California border and began living-among and studying a herd of wild horses. Simpson calls his wild horse research station, ‘Wild Horse Ranch’.
The ancestors of some of the herd of wild horses at Wild Horse Ranch are believed to have been documented through observation by explorers with Sir Francis Drake in 1580, as cited in the doctoral dissertation, The relationship between the indigenous peoples of the Americas and the horse: deconstructing a Eurocentric myth, by Dr. Yvette ‘Running Horse’ Collin, which can be read in full here: https://scholarworks.alaska.edu/handle/11122/7592
In 2014, Simpson had no idea he was embarking upon a journey in field biology that was inaugurated more than 50-years years earlier by Dr. Jane Goodall, when she pioneered contemporary field biology during her work with the Apes in Gombe Africa.
Dr. Goodall’s revolutionary discovery, that Apes made and used tools, was only made possible due to the relationships and bonds of trust she established with the Apes. And these bonds of trust allowed her unprecedented close-range observational study of the Apes leading to her discovery.
Now, more than 50-years later, William Simpson has followed in the footsteps of Dr. Goodall and has established himself as a trusted friend of the herd of wild horses that he studies. And those bonds of trust have allowed him access to the herd and families of wild horses as an embedded observer, gaining new information about their behavioral ecology and ethology that can only be achieved via such close-range observational study.
In honor of Dr. Jane Goodall, Simpson has coined the term for close-range embedded observational field study of wildlife as the ‘Goodall Method’.
In a published article, Simpson explains how the Goodall Method benefits the study of American wild horses.
In early 2022, as a result of 8-years of field research and caring for the herd of wild horses, Simpson, Michelle Gough, and his non-profit ‘Wild Horse Fire Brigade’ were recognized as the owners of the herd of horses, which had been considered ‘feral’ horses by Siskiyou County. Now, as a privately-owned herd, they are jurisdictionally considered ‘livestock’ and unlike wild-feral horses, which have no protections, Simpson’s herd is now protected under California livestock laws.
After a decade of research, Simpson’s foundational work has led to the creation of a novel fellowship program that will allow selected university students from California State University, Sacramento to engage in field studies, learning about wild horses at Wild Horse Ranch. This program is unique and will provide university students with an unparalleled opportunity in field biology and observational access to wild horses and their behavioral ecology and ethology.
This exciting new fellowship program will be overseen by Wild Horse Fire Brigade’s advisory board member Dr. Wayne Linklater, PhD, Chair Environmental Studies, California State University, Sacramento. Michelle Gough and William Simpson will be the teaching assistants at the field study research site.
Wild Horse Fire Brigade is funding all aspects of this fellowship program, so there is no cost to the University or students.
About Sacramento State
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Founded as Sacramento State College in 1947 with 235 students and five full-time faculty members, Sacramento State has been serving the region for 75 years. Now nearly 31,000 students strong, it is the sixth largest of the 23 campuses in the California State University (CSU) system. It is an accessible and inclusive place of learning and achievement, a hub of diverse thought and intellectual challenge, and is intertwined with the community it serves. From research that results in impactful legislation to entrepreneurial ideas that blossom into robust businesses, Sacramento State continues to provide immersive learning experiences that benefit students, the region, and beyond. It is Sacramento’s University.
About Wild Horse Fire Brigade
Wild Horse Fire Brigade is an all-volunteer 501-c-3 nonprofit corporation that seeks to reduce catastrophic wildfire and toxic, climate impacting wildfire smoke, by reducing key wildfire fuels (grass & brush) using large-bodied herbivore wild horses. Through research, education and an economically and ecologically sensitive Plan, Wild Horse Fire Brigade intends to reduce the size, intensity and frequency of catastrophic wildfire through improved management of at risk American wild horses.
Learn more at the website: https://www.wildhorsefirebrigade.org/why-donate
Natural Selection of Wild Horses