BLM begins ’emergency’ removal of Cedar Mountain (Utah) wild horses

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A contractor’s helicopter pursues wild horses at the Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area in Utah in February 2017. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

The Bureau of Land Management may begin capturing about 250 wild horses from the Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area, about 50 miles west of Tooele, Utah, due to lack of water.

BLM will begin setting up three water traps today; helicopters will not be used.

According to BLM Utah, staff began in June providing troughs connected to springs to capture more water for the horses, but it has not been enough to meet demand and the condition of the wild horses is deteriorating.

The 197,265-acre Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area has a population of 670 wild horses, according to a March 2018 BLM estimate that does not include this year’s crop of foals.

The BLM-set “Appropriate Management Level” for Cedar Mountain is 190-390 wild horses — as few as one horse for every 1,038 acres.

In 2017, the agency captured 534 wild horses in a helicopter roundup at Cedar Mountain. Of those, 104 mares were returned to the range after being treated with fertility control vaccine. Six wild horses died during the roundup.

According to the January 2012 Environmental Assessment for the treat-and-release wild horse fertility control program, BLM allots 32,204 Animal Unit Months for livestock grazing on the Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area, most during the winter months. One AUM is forage for 1 horse, 1 cow/calf pair, 5 sheep for one month.

Captured wild horses will be transported to the Delta, Utah, Wild Horse Facility, where they will be prepared for adoption. The Delta corrals will be closed to the public through July 31 while staff assist with the roundup.