BLM to remove 125 animals from nation’s first wild horse area

/ In The News, News, Roundups
Wild horses at the Ridgecrest (Calif.) Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals, to which horses captured on the Nevada Wild Horse Range Herd Management Area will be shipped. BLM file photo.

As soon as Tuesday, July 28, the Bureau of Land Management will begin an “emergency” bait-and-trap roundup on the Nevada Wild Horse Range Herd Management Area, the nation’s first wild horse area, located on military land in the Mojave Desert.

Citing a “lack of water and declining health of the wild horses associated with herd overpopulation,”the agency plans to capture and remove about 125 wild horses using traps made of corral panels stocked with water or hay. No helicopters will be used.

Located about 30 miles southeast of Tonopah, Nev., the 1.3 million acre Nevada Wild Horse Rand Herd Management Area is located within the U.S. Air Force’s 2.9 million acre Nevada Test and Training Range.

As of March, the BLM estimated the wild horse population on the HMA to be 801 adult wild horses.

The BLM-set Appropriate Management Level for the Herd Management Area is 300-500 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 4,333 acres. No livestock grazing has been allowed on the wild horse area since before 1960.

Captured wild horses will be shipped to BLM’s Ridgecrest (Calif.) Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals to be readied for adoption or sale. 

The Nevada Wild Horse Range was established in 1962 in response to pressure from wild horse advocates from across the country. It came just three years after the passage of the Wild Horse Annie Act, which bars the use of any form of motorized vehicles as well as the poisoning of water holes done either to capture or kill wild horses, and nine years before the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Actof 1971, which provides protections and gave BLM broad powers to manage wild horses and burros on public lands.

The last roundup held on the Herd Management Area was yet another emergency roundup, in 2018, during which 801 out of an estimated 1,355 wild horses were captured.Thirty-one were put down because of what BLM labeled pre-existing conditions. Of those, 21 were listed as having clubfeet.

The BLM does not plan to treat any mares with proven, safe and humane fertility control that could limit the need for future roundups.

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups