BLM to remove 350 wild horses from Utah’s Bible Springs Complex

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A BLM contractor’s helicopter pursues a stallion as cattle graze undisturbed during a 2016 roundup at Blawn Wash, one of four Herd Management Areas in Utah’s Bible Springs Complex to which BLM will soon return to capture more wild horses. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

 

The Bureau of Land Management has announced the start of a third wild horse helicopter roundup inside of two weeks, this one of 350 wild horses on and around the Bible Springs Complex Herd Management Area in Utah beginning on Jan. 30.

BLM also plans to capture and remove 1,000 wild horses from the Triple B Complex in Nevada, beginning on or about Jan. 23, as well as capture and remove about 130 wild horses from the Cold Springs and Hog Creek herd management areas in Oregon, beginning on or about Jan. 22.

BLM estimates the current population of the Bible Springs Complex, located near Minersville, Utah, at 711 wild horses. It plans to capture and remove 350 from federal public land, as well as neighboring state and private land.

BLM plans to conduct roundups at the 223,000-acre Bible Springs 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. Most recently, BLM captured 125 wild horses at Bible Springs in August 2017.

By comparison, 3,044 cattle and 1,674 sheep graze seasonally within the complex.

The captured wild horses are to be offered for adoption, with those that go unadopted moved to corrals or leased pastures.

Captured wild horses will be transported to BLM’s Delta, Utah, Wild Horse Facility and to Axtell, Utah, Off-Range Contract Facility. The Delta facility will be closed Jan. 29-Feb. 20 while horses are prepared to be offered for adoption. Privately owned and closed to the public, the Axtell corrals were the site of strangles (equine distemper) outbreak in 2017.

All horses gathered are tentatively scheduled to be shipped to the Delta Wild Horse Facility and Axtell Off-Range Contract Facility.  The Delta facility will be closed starting Jan. 29 through Feb. 20 to allow the horses to settle before being prepped for adoption.  The Axtell facility is a contract facility that is privately owned and closed to the public.

The Bible Springs Complex includes the Bible Springs, Blawn Wash, Four Mile and Tilly Creek Herd Management Areas and is located in Iron and Beaver Counties.

Wild horses in Beaver County, Utah, have been the subject of ongoing litigation brought by county officials, who have thus far been unsuccessful in forcing the BLM to permanently immediately remove all “excess” wild horses from the Sulphur Springs Herd Management Area.

Viewing the roundup

Members of the public that wish to view the helicopter roundup must provide their own water, transportation and food. No public restrooms are available at viewing sites. BLM recommends four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicles and seasonally appropriate footwear and clothing in neutral colors. BLM will lead observers to viewing locations form a meeting site at the Maverik Adventure’s First Stop, 220 North Airport Road in Cedar City, Utah, where tours will depart at 5:30 a.m. MST. Details will be announced daily on the BLM gather hotline, (801) 539-4050.

More information

To read BLM’s Environmental Assessment and Decision documents, please click here.

Take action

  • Call Congress: Looming over the planned roundups is the ongoing threat that Congress will allow the Bureau of Land Management to kill thousands of healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros. The House of Representatives’ version of the Fiscal Year 2018 Interior appropriations bill would allow BLM to “euthanize” — shoot — healthy, unadopted wild horses and burros; the Senate’s version contains language preventing BLM from using tax dollars to do so. Leaders from the two houses are ironing out the differences between their bills in conference. Please call the members of Congress listed below and urge them to:
    • support Senate Interior appropriations bill language protecting healthy wild horses and burros from being killed;
    • support Senate Agriculture appropriations bill language preventing horse slaughter.
      • House Speaker Paul Ryan: (202) 225-3031
      • Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: (202) 224-2541
      • Rodney Frelinghuysen, House Appropriations Committee chairman: (202) 225-5034
      • Nita Lowey, House Appropriations Committee ranking member: (202) 225-6506
      • Thad Cochran, Senate Appropriations Committee chairman: (202) 224-5054
      • Patrick Leahy, Senate Appropriations Committee vice chairman: (202) 224-4242
  • Sign our petition: Please sign our Wild on the Range Campaign petition, demanding that the Bureau of Land Management use proven, humane management methods to keep wild horses and burros on the range, where they belong.
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