10/21/2018 Allan and Aubrey Wild Horse Lectures

Dr. Allan Rutberg and Tufts senior Aubrey Specht presented lectures on Sunday, October 21, 2018 as part of the Mark Pokras Lecture Series at Summer Star®. Below are some videos and photos from the event along with the flyer and website announcement.

Please click this link to view the videos and photos

Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary ® Presents

The Mark Pokras Lecture Series

Sunday, October 21, 2018
2:00 PM

Trailhead House, Linden Street Gallery
Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary
690 Linden Street
Boylston, MA 01505

** Seating is limited. Please register by emailing info@summerstarwildlife.org **

Summer Star Wildlife Sanctuary ® Presents Two Lectures:

Helping Wild Horses Stay Wild on a Human-Dominated Landscape
with Allen Rutberg, PhD

Director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy (CAPP) at Tufts University

Making the Journey from Wild to Tame: What Makes Some Wild Horses More Adoptable?
with Aubrey Specht

Senior at Tufts University studying Biochemistry and Architectural Studies

Lecture Descriptions:

Helping Wild Horses Stay Wild on a Human-Dominated Landscape

Free-roaming horses occupy a gray zone between the wild and the domestic, and we struggle to categorize them. Free of the conditions of domestication, their behavior and life history follow their ancestors’ ancient patterns of life and death. Yet their history of association with and service to humanity leaves us with a compelling sense of responsibility for their well being, colored in some by a sense that the needs of horses must remain subservient to those of humans. From these underlying contradictions arises a complex set of cultural and political conflicts that pit ranchers and conservationists against horse advocates, and horse advocates against each other. Dr. Rutberg will discuss how thoughtful application of non-invasive fertility control technologies can create a middle ground that allows wild horses to live out (almost) natural lives on the range while easing the concerns of ranchers and others who perceive wild horses as threats to their livelihoods and the landscape.

Making the Journey from Wild to Tame: What Makes Some Wild Horses More Adoptable?

This summer Aubrey and Dr. Rutberg conducted a study on wild horses being trained and adopted in the Northeast, focusing on what variables make a wild horse more accepting of domestication. Is it the time they spent in the wild? Is it the particular herd they came for? Or is it even more individualized, with each horse learning differently?

Speaker Biographies:

Allen Rutberg, PhD

Dr. Allen Rutberg is Director of the Center for Animals and Public Policy (CAPP) and research associate professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Trained as a behavioral ecologist, he earned his Ph.D. in zoology at the University of Washington, Seattle, in 1984, and carried out a series of field studies on behavior and reproduction in American bison and wild horses. After seven years of teaching undergraduate biology at Vassar College and elsewhere, Dr. Rutberg joined The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) as senior scientist for wildlife and habitat protection, where he served from 1991 to 2000. While at The HSUS, he acted as a public advocate for the protection of wild horses, endangered species, and urban wildlife, especially white-tailed deer, and served a two-year term on the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board (1998-2000). At HSUS he also initiated field studies of immunocontraceptive vaccines for the non-lethal control of deer and wild horse populations, which he has continued at since joining the Cummings School faculty in 2000. He is the author or co-author of two dozen papers and book chapters on the use of immunocontraception in deer and wild horse populations, and edited the 2005 book, Humane Wildlife Solutions: the role of immunocontraception, published by HSUS Press.

As director of CAPP’s M.S. degree program in Animals and Public Policy, Dr. Rutberg nurtures and guides student research projects related to human-wildlife relationships. One such student effort has broadened into a research collaboration focusing on how wild horses removed from the range successfully transition from their wild state and establish mutually rewarding partnerships with their adopters.

Aubrey Specht

Aubrey Specht is a senior at Tufts University studying Biochemistry and Architectural Studies. After college she is attending Tufts Veterinary School and has a special interest in American wild horse welfare and policies.

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