Cedar Mountain: About 100 Utah wild horses captured, including separated mare

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A large group of wild horses scattered before heading toward the trap, pursued by a helicopter, on Thursday at the Cedar Mountain Herd Management Area in Utah. All photos by RTF humane observer Steve Paige.

About 100 wild horses were captured on Thursday during the Bureau of Land Management’s ongoing helicopter roundup at the Cedar Mountain Horse Management Area in Utah.

Among them: a pinto mare and foal that made several desperate attempts to escape (see photos below). They were repeatedly pursued until the mare entered the trap, leaving the foal behind. A helicopter tracked down the foal. Contractors eventually roped the young horse, brought it to the trap area and tied it down before later moving it into the trap pen.

Precise numbers are not yet available as the BLM had not posted its daily gather report as of Friday morning, but about 385 wild horses have been captured since the roundup began on Feb. 11. At least two have been euthanized.

BLM intends to capture up to 700 before the roundup’s end. 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. 16: 

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.