One stallion was captured on Thursday, the 12th day of an ongoing Bureau of Land Management helicopter roundup in Iron and Beaver Counties in Utah, bringing the total number of wild horses captured to 286 since the roundup began on Aug. 7.
Of the 137 mares, 87 stallions and 62 foals captured, so far, one has been killed: a 17-year-old stud put down for “single-eye blindness” on Aug. 11, according to the BLM’s gather report.
The BLM plans to capture and remove 450 wild horses from within and nearby the Blawn Wash Herd Area and the Bible Springs Complex, located west of Cedar City, Utah. The agency’s stated purpose is to reduce the number of wild horses to its agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” (AML).
“The excess wild horses are located on semi-desert landscapes where forage and water are exceedingly scarce due to prolonged drought,” the BLM said in a press release.
The 62,787-acre Blawn Wash Herd Area is no longer managed for wild horses following a 2001 land exchange between the BLM and State of Utah School and Institutional Lands Administration. In February, the BLM estimated that 152 wild horses were living there.
The Bible Springs Complex is made up of the Bible Springs, Four Mile and Tilly Creek Herd Management Areas. They include a total of 61,862 acres with a combined BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 30-60 wild horses. In February, the BLM estimated that 173 wild horses were living in the complex.
By comparison, 16 livestock grazing allotments had at least some portion within the Blawn Wash and the Bible Springs Complex totaling 14,783 cattle Animal Unit Months and 2,474 sheep AUM as of the year 2018 (one AUM is the amount of forage needed to sustain one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep per month).
While the press release announcing the roundup made mention of fertility control, the BLM’s gather page does not. RTF strongly supports the use of proven, safe and humane fertility control to slow – not stop – herd growth and halt future roundups.
In 2018, 250 wild horses were captured and removed from the Bible Springs Complex in a roundup in which four wild horses died. The BLM failed to treat and release additional mares with fertility control that could have reduced the size and frequency of future roundups.
Wild horses captured during the current roundup will be transported to the Axtell (Utah) Off-Range Contract Wild Horse Facility to be prepared for adoption or sale.
Viewing the roundup
The public can view roundup operations on BLM-escorted tours. Observers must provide their own transportation, water and food. No restrooms are available. Details will be announced daily at (801) 539-4050.