The Bureau of Land Management, due to on-going drought conditions resulting in insufficient water to support the wild horses in Nevada’s Big Sand Spring Valley, will begin gathering and providing emergency care for up to 300 wild horses.
The gather was expected to begin on Sept. 20 in the Pancake herd management area (HMA) located about 30 miles west of Ely or 80 miles northeast of Tonopah, Nevada.
An estimated 1,800 wild horses reside within the Pancake HMA based on a March 2016 inventory flight; more than 1,000 of the horses were in the Big Sand Spring Valley area. The BLM said the HMA has an appropriate management level of 240-493 wild horses. Precipitation in May and June 2016 filled or partially filled catchments in the Big Sand Spring Valley area which normally provide water for a large portion of the resident horse population in the area. However, these catchments are now dry which has resulted in additional horses seeking water at the few available spring sources
The BLM said that without emergency action, the condition of the wild horses in the Big Sand Spring Valley is expected to deteriorate and potentially result in the death of some of the horses within a few weeks.
The BLM will gather and remove the wild horses utilizing temporary water and bait traps consisting of a series of corral panels stocked with water and hay; no helicopters will be used. Because of the need for wild horses to adjust to the hay and corrals in a quick and safe manner, only essential wild horse personnel will be allowed at the gather sites during initial operations. Depending on the animals’ adjustment, public viewing through an escorted tour of the temporary holding facility could be arranged at some point during the gather. A veterinarian will be on-site during the first two weeks of gather operations to assess animal condition, the BLM said.
All gathered wild horses will be taken a short distance to a temporary holding facility, where they will receive a veterinarian assessment and have free access to water and hay. The horses then will be transported to the BLM’s Indian Lakes off-range corrals located in Fallon, Nevada, and be made available for adoption or sale or moved to off-range holding pastures.
Gather reports will be posted on the BLM Ely District website at BLM Ely District.
For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at 775/289-1842 or Chris Hanefeld.