Cedar Mountain: High winds pause Utah helicopter roundup

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Above: Older mares wait to be treated with fertility control vaccine and released from temporary holding. Below: Tensions are running high in a crowded stud pen at temporary holding. All photos by RTF humane observer Steve Paige.

Update: RTF has received several questions about what happened to a pinto mare and foal photographed while being captured on Thursday. The pair remain separated. The mare is in temporary holding and will be released after being treated with fertility control vaccine. The foal has been transported to the Delta Wild Horse and Burro Facility, where it will be put up for adoption. 

Windy conditions on Saturday grounded the Bureau of Land Management’s ongoing helicopter roundup at the Cedar Mountain Horse Management Area in Utah. Contractors did transport 46 previously captured wild horses to the Delta (Utah) Wild Horse and Burro Facility.

Since the roundup began on Feb. 11, 483 wild horses have been captured and two have been euthanized. No other physical injuries have been reported by the agency.

BLM intends to capture up to 700 wild horses 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. 18: 

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.