Cedar Mountain: 116 Utah wild horses captured

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A contractor’s helicopter drives wild horses toward the trap Tuesday at the Cedar Mountain Horse Management Area. All photos by RTF humane observer Steve Paige.

Contractors captured 116 wild horses on Tuesday during the ongoing Cedar Mountain Horse Management Area helicopter roundup in western Utah.

A total of 277 wild horses have been captured since the roundup began on Feb. 11. No deaths have been reported, according to the agency.

The wild horses continue to appear to be in good health, with body scores of 5 on the 10-point scale used by the Bureau of Land Management.

Despite the large number of wild horses trapped, the operation ran smoothly, according to RTF humane observer Steve Paige. No injuries were reported, and, unlike on Sunday, wild horses that avoided the trap were allowed to escape without being repeatedly pursued helicopter or riders on horseback. The five members of the public on hand were also given a better vantage point 438 yards from a new trap site.

BLM intends to capture up to 700 wild horses. The agency plans to separate out and permanently remove from their home range 200-300 “adoptable age” wild horses. Those not adopted will be moved to government holding facilities, according to the agency.

The other wild horses captured — including about 200 mares that will be treated with PZP-22 fertility control vaccine — will be returned to the range.

The 197,275-acre Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area, located about 50 miles west of Tooele, Utah, has a BLM-assigned Appropriate Management Level of 190-390 wild horses and a current horse population estimated at 960, according to the agency.

BLM planning documents related to the roundup can be found here.

Cedar Mountain is the fourth helicopter roundup of 2017.

Photos from Feb. 14: 

You can help:

Please consider a contribution to the Wild Horse Defense Fund, which makes it possible for Return to Freedom to have humane observers on the ground at roundups. Having an active voice has proven valuable for holding BLM and contractors accountable for the humane handling of wild horses, pressing for improvements to humane standards, and educating policymakers and the public about how tax dollars are being used.

Viewing the roundup:

Members of the public can view the roundup on BLM-escorted tours departing at 5:30 a.m. MST from the Flying J gas station at 1605 East Saddleback Blvd. in Lake Point, Utah. Information will be updated daily on the BLM’s hotline, (801) 539-4050.

Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. They should dress for harsh winter weather and know that restrooms are not available after tours begin. Binoculars and four-wheel drive vehicles with a high clearance are strongly recommended.