BLM to remove 875 wild horses in wake of Nevada wildfire

/ Featured, In The News, News, Roundups

A contractor’s helicopter drives wild horses into the trap during a 2016 roundup at the Owyhee Complex in Nevada. RTF file photo by Steve Paige.

The Bureau of Land Management plans to capture 1,175 wild horses during a 30-day “emergency” helicopter roundup at the Owyhee Complex in Nevada following a 438,000-acre wildfire there.

Of the captured wild horses, BLM will treat with fertility control vaccine and release “up to” 150 mares and release as many as 152 stallions, according to a press release.

BLM’s plans would leave the wild horse population on the complex at 535 wild horses, well below the 621-991 “Appropriate Management Level” set by the agency, or about one horse for every 2,056 acres.

“The BLM determined that the removal of additional wild horses below AML is necessary due to a lack of forage resources remaining after the Martin Fire,” BLM wrote in a press release. It continued:

“Due to loss of forage resources, an emergency gather is necessary to help as many wild horses as possible while protecting water sources, vegetation, and important habitat for other wildlife, such as the greater sage-grouse. The condition of the wild horses in the Owyhee Complex is expected to deteriorate, potentially resulting in the death of some of the wild horses if action is not taken.”

Located in Humboldt and Elko Counties, the 1.1-million acre Owyhee Complex of public and private land is made up of the Snowstorm Mountains, Little Owyhee, Rock Creek, Owyhee and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas. The current population for the complex is estimated at about 1,400 wild horses, including foals born this year.

Starting on July 9, the Martin Fire burned about 46 percent of the Little Owyhee HMA and 26 percent of the Owyhee HMA, according to the agency.

About 63 percent of the Owyhee Complex overlaps BLM grazing allotments for private livestock. BLM has allocated 153,624 Animal Unit Months for livestock grazing on the overlapping allotments, though actual use has been reduced in recent years. One Animal Unit Month is defined as a month’s forage for one horse, one cow / calf pair or five sheep.

Viewing the roundup

“The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will be limited due to logistics in regards to private land, terrain and weather,” according to the press release. Those who wish to view the roundup should call the gather hotline nightly at (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times.

To view BLM planning documents, see https://go.usa.gov/xUhmE.

Take Action

Call your members of Congress at (202) 225-3121 (to find direct numbers, go to https://www.callmycongress.com).

Urge your senators to:

* Stand strong in Conference committee on the Senate’s language protecting wild horses and burros and on defunding horse slaughter, if the senator sits on the Senate Appropriations Committee (click for a list of members: https://www.appropriations.senate.gov/about/members).

For senators *not* on the Senate Appropriations Committee: Ask them to tell members of the Conference committee that constituents do not want them to waiver either on protecting wild horses or defunding horse slaughter.

* Oppose a new, quietly implemented BLM policy increasing the number of wild horses that can be sold to individuals and the frequency of those sales. This move will only lead to the slaughter of wild horses, something Congress has strongly rejected;

* Support the SAFE Act (S. 1706) to ban slaughter and the transportation of horses for slaughter.

Urge your congressional representative to:

* Oppose a new, quietly implemented BLM increasing the number of wild horses that can be sold to individuals and the frequency of those sales. This move will only lead to the slaughter of wild horses, something Congress has strongly rejected;

* Oppose the House version of the FY19 Interior Appropriations bill because it contains an amendment allowing for the mass sterilization of wild horses and burros; instead, ask your representative to support Senate language on wild horses being considered by the House and Senate Conference committee, instead;

* Oppose the FY19 Agriculture Appropriations bill because it does not include the horse slaughter inspection defund language; instead, ask your representative to support the Senate language being considered by the House and Senate Conference committee, instead;

* Support the SAFE Act (H.R. 113) to ban slaughter and the transportation of horses for slaughter;

* Support the Horse Transportation Safety Act (H.R. 4040) to ban hauling horses on double-deck trailers under all circumstances.

Donate to RTF’s Wild Horse Defense Fund, which fuels our lobbying, grassroots advocacy, selective litigation and on-range monitoring of roundups.

 

 

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