Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick (center) at one of his certification courses.
It is with deep sadness that we inform you of the passing of Dr. Jay Kirkpatrick, a true pioneer in the field of humane wildlife management. Dr. Kirkpatrick, the founder of the Science and Conservation Center, passed away earlier this week from a brief but serious illness. He will be greatly missed.
His passing is a terrible loss for the wild horse community. Our deepest condolences go to his wife and his colleagues at the Science and Conservation Center who are like family to AWHPC, as Dr. Kirkpatrick was.
Jay was a rare “scientist with a heart” and he dedicated his life to reducing the suffering of wild animals by developing a humane alternative to lethal management practices. The PZP fertility control vaccine that he developed and perfected (as affirmed by 30 years of published science) has kept countless wild animals – from wild horses to deer to bison and even elephants – wild and free by protecting them from capture and killing.
"I'm not a bunny hugger, but I'll never attend another gather as long as I live. They're flat-out inhumane," he told National Geographic in 2009 describing BLM wild horse roundups. "There are three reasons why these gathers are an unsatisfactory solution to the problem of numbers. Firstly, it's genetically irresponsible to be constantly pulling off young horses whose genes will never get expressed; secondly, every time you pull horses out, the reproductive efficiency of the horses that remain increases. And thirdly, the behavioral consequences for the horses are profound."
Jay was a visionary, a humanitarian and a shining example of what one person can accomplish in his lifetime. We are so proud to have called him a friend and a colleague. Measures have been taken by the Science and Conservation Center to prepare for this transition and the seamless continuation of the work that he was dedicated to for 45 years.
If you would like to express your gratitude for Dr. Kirkpatrick’s tremendous contributions to the fight to prevent suffering and keep wild horses and other wild animals wild and free, please visit our Facebook page.
- The AWHPC Team
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The American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign is dedicated to preserving American wild horses and burros in viable free-roaming herds for generations to come, as part of our national heritage.