31 wild horses killed, 801 removed from Nevada Wild Horse Range

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Wild horses photographed at the Palomino Valley Holding Corrals in 2016 following a roundup at the Owyhee Herd Management Area. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

The Bureau of Land Management ended an “emergency” bait-and-trap roundup of 801 wild horses — 308 studs, 300 mares, and 188 foals — at the Nevada Wild Horse Range in Nye County, Nevada.

Thirty-one wild horses were put down during the roundup — all for what BLM says were preexisting injuries.

According to BLM, 21 were killed for having a club foot, while others had badly healed back, shoulder and leg injuries. Another suffered from blindness.

BLM’s justification for the roundup: “There is not enough water to support the number of horses in the area,” according to BLM. It described the range in a press release as “overpopulated … Animal conditions are declining due to range degradation and lack of sustainable water resources.”

Before the roundup, the 1.3-million Nevada Wild Horse Range had an estimated population of 1,355 wild horses. Its agency-set “appropriate management level” is 300-500 wild horses — or as low as one horse for every 4,333 acres.

Because of restricted access to the Nevada Test and Training Range, part of the U.S. Air Force Warefare Center at Nellis Air Force Base, there has been no livestock grazing on the wild horse range since 1956, according to BLM.

The wild horses captured and removed by contractor Warner Livestock were sorted by age and gender, then transported to Palomino Valley Holding Corrals near Reno, Nevada, or Ridgecrest Holding Corrals located in Ridgecrest, California, then made available for adoption.

For BLM’s tentative roundup calendar, click here.

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