Wild Love Preserve: An Exemplary Wild Horse Solution
In 2010, a contemporary visual artist and photographer named Andrea Maki founded Wild Love Preserve to protect wild horses in central Idaho. Against all odds, Andrea bridged divides between opposing groups to spearhead collaborative efforts with the Idaho Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and disparate stakeholders. Wild horse and burro herds across America are currently facing their greatest threats in decades, so we must strive for Andrea’s work to become a model for saving herds in as many states as possible.
Andrea’s work began on Idaho’s Challis Herd Management Area (HMA) in 2010. Her efforts expanded to include the Idaho BLM on all six wild horse HMAs in the state, which led to the creation of Wild Love Preserve.
Wild Love Preserve works to ensure wild horses remain integral, wild, and free on their home turf. These efforts include an innovative wild horse conservation program, conflict resolution, education platform, comprehensive range health fixed on sustainability, and the creation of its wildlife preserve in the heart of Idaho's wild horse country. This preserve currently serves as a permanent home to 136 Challis-Idaho wild horses and will also accommodate future wild horses not otherwise adopted in the state.
Kindness, mutual respect, accountability, science, and education drive Wild Love Preserve's mission to protect and preserve western wild horses in their native habitats and nurture indigenous ecosystems. These efforts have not only recognized the herds’ horses' intrinsic value, but have also turned Challis-Idaho wild horses into an asset for the community, region, and state.
After creating Wild Love Preserve, Andrea’s role has often been that of a mediator and negotiator to bring together folks previously locked in opposition. These are the BLM, ranchers, environmentalists, wildlife biologists, wild horse advocates, youth employment groups, regional communities, and others.
Because of Wild Love Preserve's due-diligence, as well as its collaborative and pro-active efforts since 2010, there has not been a roundup of the Challis herd since October 2012 (as opposed to every 2-3 years prior to then). Its programs have also saved American taxpayers well over $7.5 million. This November, there will be a roundup of the Challis herd, but Wild Love Preserve will adopt those Challis wild horses not otherwise adopted to give them a permanent life of wildness, just as it did after the 2012 roundup.
Andrea Maki has pioneered an all-inclusive model in wild horse conservation which has garnered national attention over the years, and serves as a framework for other western states. We must work to expand these concepts to save wild horse herds from harm!