The Bureau of Land Management on Wednesday captured 63 wild horses during a second day and final of helicopter drive trapping at the Bible Springs Complex near Minersville, Utah.
A total of 125 wild horses were captured during the two-day roundup. No wild horses were injured on Wednesday, according to the BLM. A 5-year-old stud was euthanized on Tuesday after the discovery of what the agency said was a preexisting injury.
BLM did not provide a gender or age breakdown of the wild horses captured. The agency again rated the body conditions of the horses as 4s (moderately thin) and 5s (moderate) on a 10-point scale.
The captured wild horses were transported to the Axtell, Utah, Off-Range Corrals. They will be put up for adoption, with unadopted wild horses transported to long-term holding pastures, according to the agency.
BLM set out to capture 100 wild horses from federal, state and private lands in and around the Bible Springs Complex near Minersville, Utah. The complex is made up of the Bible Spring, Blawn Wash, Four Mile and Tilly Creek Herd Management Areas. Blawn Wash will not be included in the planned roundup.
BLM cites the number of wild horses horses competing with other wildlife, including elk and pronghorn, reduced water supply since the 2014 drought, the failure of perennial grasses to grow in some areas and about 94 wild horses living outside HMA boundaries as reasons for the roundup.
BLM plans to conduct roundups two to four times over a six-10 year period to reduce the number of wild horses to the low end of the agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” of 80-170 wild horses. If the agency reaches that number, fertility control vaccines will be used to reduce annual population growth.
The 223,000-acre complex is home to an estimated 619 wild horses, according to the BLM. The agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” is 80-170 horses.
By comparison, 3,044 cattle and 1,674 sheep graze seasonally within the four HMAs.
The Bible Spring Complex is located in Iron and Beaver Counties. In February, Beaver County officials sued the BLM, following a roundup at the Sulphur HMA after which BLM returned a portion of the wild horses to the range after mares were treated with fertility control vaccine. Beaver County contends that all “excess” wild horses should be removed. A U.S. attorney has asked a judge to throw out the case.
Captured wild horses will be offered for adoption. Those that are not adopted will be placed in long-term pastures, according to the agency.
Looming over the roundup is the ongoing threat of legislation in Congress that would allow BLM to shoot healthy unadopted wild horses and burros. For more information about that legislation and what you can do to take action, click here.
The BLM will escort observers at 5 a.m. daily from Maverik Adventure’s First Stop, 220 North Airport Road in Cedar City, Utah. Observers must provide their own transportation, food and water. Appropriate footwear, neutral-colored clothing, binoculars and four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicles are recommended. Drones will not be permitted in the area. Details will be announced daily on a BLM gather hotline, (801) 539-4050.
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