Straight Shooter

Straight Shooter: Wild Love Preserve Founder, Andrea Maki

After making a commitment to help some Challis wild horses in April 2010, Andrea Maki has quietly and diligently made countless road trips over the last six years, driving back and forth between her home near Seattle and the Central Idaho High Desert to the Challis Wild Horses. A 14-hour drive one way, and at her expense, because, she says, “this really matters, and I believe in integrity and follow through.”

Andrea Maki’s commitment to wild horse preservation and collective change has been unwavering. While outcomes have not been everything she has strived for, resulting compromises are a continued work in progress and have brought great benefit and safety to the Challis wild horses in Idaho. Between 2010 and 2012, Maki diligently worked to curtail the Idaho BLM’s (Bureau of Land Management) October 2012 helicopter roundup and removals of Idaho wild horses on the Challis Herd Management Area (HMA). Her unique approach has been multi-faceted, with a goal of uniting stakeholders to share public lands and implement a new means of collaborative population management that is both humane and cost-effective. 

While she did not fully succeed at stopping the 2012 helicopter roundup, she was present for the events and the Idaho BLM kept their word by leaving two specific bands of Challis wild horses untouched, to instead be part of a new WLP/BLM pilot program. In addition, her non-profit, Wild Love Preserve, adopted all the removed Challis wild horses the BLM made available, so not one Idaho wild horse was shipped out of state to longterm holding at taxpayer expense, but instead, through private funding have remained together and wild. This is the second largest adoption in BLM history, but first of its kind in intent. Andrea Maki has taken a proactive approach in collaboratively maintaining Challis Herd population numbers following the 2012 Challis BLM Roundup by accounting for all facets of population, on and off the range, on home turf in Idaho. Efforts include working with stakeholders and the Idaho BLM to remotely dart wild mares with Native PZP-1YR in the field as developed by Dr. Jay F. Kirkpatrick. In 2012, thanks to grants in part from the ASPCA, five Wild Love Preserve volunteers attended training and received required certification at the Science and Conservation Center in Billings, MT.

In 2014 the WLP/BLM pilot Native PZP-1YR fertility control program began with five wild Challis mares on the Challis HMA. Due diligence required, collaborative efforts expanded to dart 35 wild Challis mares in 2015, and in 2016 the entire Challis Herd. There are approximately 225 wild horses in the Challis Herd and the goal is to treat wild Challis mares annually. Wild Love Preserve’s objective is to humanely manage and maintain population and herd viability in a sustainable manner, terminating the need for future BLM helicopter roundups and removals in this region. Wild Love Preserve’s collaborative conservation efforts speak to total range health, and require wild horse monitoring in conjunction with all wildlife species and private livestock where applicable. Research, documentation, and transparency are essential for ecological balance of the whole and nurturing a lasting legacy in wildness.

People told her it couldn't be done, but in 2010 Andrea founded Wild Love Preserve, and has been bringing people together in a new light to collectively develop and implement new working solutions which serve to benefit wild horses and the whole. Wild Love Preserve addresses all facets of regional wild horse conservation on home turf in central Idaho, from the 130 Challis, Idaho wild horses they rescued as result of the 2012 Challis Helicopter Roundup, to their collaborative work on the range and creation of a protected wild expanse in the heart of Idaho wild horse country. WLP’s preservation of this American icon speaks to our greater good and collective well-being by bridging divides and bringing stakeholders together to collaboratively address total range health, sustainable ecosystems, co-existence with all wildlife, and livestock where applicable. Kindness, mutual respect, science and education drive WLP’s mission.

Since 2010, 100% of Maki’s life, talents and resources have been dedicated to her non-profit, Wild Love Preserve and the lasting protections of our wild places. She has tirelessly fundraised for six years, however full-project funding has continued to be the challenge, and not necessarily surprising when one is blazing a new trail, establishing a new system and pilot program. In addition to not having the means to take a salary for six years, she has leveraged her personal credit resources and loans to the tune of a $650,000 to cover WLP wild horse program expenditures, while simultaneously saving American taxpayers $7.5 million since 2013. 

No matter the odds, Andrea Maki has walked her talk and created a two-part model in wild horse preservation on home turf in Idaho. “Too many people are of a moment, then they are off to the next and assume someone else will take care of it. Hypothetical discussions don’t result in change,” she says. “Change only happens with action.” No matter the challenge, the naysayers, lack of funding or follow through from others, Maki has stayed the course on behalf of creating a new model in wild horse conservation that engages all stakeholders, nurtures respective indigenous ecosystems as an interconnected whole, and benefits the community. Unwavering commitment.

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April 20, 2016 - Wild Love Preserve Founder, Andrea Maki, interviewed by Beth Markley on Elemental Idaho on Radio Boise. Listen Here: