by Tracy Campion

“Since 2010, Wild Love founder, Andrea Maki’s, consistent and devoted attention to the plight of wild horses has been amazing to witness. A 30,000-foot view and her obvious political savvy have created an unlikely coalition of ranchers, environmentalists, wild horse advocates, and government agencies, working in delicate concert to save these majestic animals. She should be the envy of any activist looking to make a real impact.”

— Stone Gossard, Pearl Jam + The Vitalogy Foundation

When they were 14 years old, Seattle Natives Andrea Maki and Stone Gossard met at The Northwest School and became fast friends. In the following four decades, their lives took different paths: Gossard went on to play guitar in the Pacific Northwest-based bands Mother Love Bone and Temple of the Dog and was a founding member of Pearl Jam, while Maki became a contemporary visual artist and photographer who founded Wild Love Preserve, a nonprofit Idaho wildlife preserve to help protect and preserve America’s vital wild places, including the wild horses of Idaho’s Challis area. But their friendship and support of one another remained constant. Stone and the Vitalogy Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Pearl Jam in 2006, have proudly supported Wild Love’s innovative work.

Andrea Maki and Stone Gossard

Since Wild Love was founded in 2010, Andrea has saved countless Idaho wild horses from being rounded up and shipped off; instead, they’re living, wild and free, on the open plains. Currently, Wild Love is leasing 400 acres, but Maki and Gossard share a vision for an even more picturesque future: a 10,000-acre preserve that will provide a permanent home to Idaho’s wild horses. Maki and Gossard are collaborating on a campaign to acquire this land.

“Wild Love Preserve is about finding new solutions and ways of bringing people together,” Maki said. “If you approach with respect, kindness, patience, and sincere interest in listening to differing perspectives, you can find common ground. We can rise above drawn lines if we so choose.”

It’s that sense of collaboration that’s yielding results. Because of Wild Love’s pro-active efforts with the Challis-Idaho BLM and the implementation of their collaborative and humane management program on the range, there has only been one helicopter roundup of the Challis wild horses since October 2012, versus every 2-3 years. Wild Love Preserve’s programs have saved American taxpayers over $7.5 million since 2013 and created new revenue streams for regional communities.

America’s iconic wild horses symbolize pure Americana, but their management is controversial and polarizing. They have been protected by law since 1971, with the introduction of the Free-Roaming Wild Horse and Burro Act. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing America’s wild horses on 26.9 million acres of multi-use public lands covering 10 western states. From big energy to recreational use to ranchers looking for grazing permits on public land, there’s a lot of competition for a limited amount of space. As a result, public land for wild horses has decreased dramatically since 1971.

In November 2019, the BLM conducted its first helicopter roundup of the Challis wild horses since 2012. As she did in 2012, Maki worked on behalf of the horses to reduce conflicts between the advocates, public and BLM, leading up to and during the roundup. This seven-year hiatus was due to Maki and Wild Love Preserve’s collaborative efforts with the Challis Idaho BLM and their implementation of a successful fertility management program. The BLM’s helicopter roundups and wild horse removals cost American taxpayers $80 million annually – and rising – so Maki set to work creating a new inclusive conservation model a decade ago, believing there was better way for the horses, environment, stakeholders, and for the American public.

“Stone and the Pearl Jam Vitalogy Foundation have been instrumental to our efforts from the onset in 2010, along with generous support from Duff McKagan, Raymond James Endowment Fund, The Earth and Humanity Foundation, ASPCA, Humane Society of the US, the Gates Foundation, The Science and Conservation Center, Summerly Foundation, and other private donors,” Andrea said. 

To support Wild Love Preserve, you can make a donation of any size via their website. “Even the smallest amounts count and can be a big help in supplying food, water, and other essentials to the horses each and every day,” Andrea said.

“You can also become a sponsor of one of the wild horses living at Wild Love Preserve,” Andrea said.

For more information, visit the Wild Love Preserve site to learn more: www.wildlovepreserve.org.

Please join us in thanking Andrea Maki and Wild Love Preserve for helping protect one of America’s true gems – and for preserving our wild places.