Cedar Mountain: Weather forces BLM to end Utah roundup sooner than planned

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Faced with high winds and a forecast calling for snow, the Bureau of Land Management has ended early the helicopter drive trapping of wild horses at Cedar Mountain Horse Management Area in Utah. The roundup had been scheduled to continue until Feb. 27.

On Tuesday, BLM started treating captured older mares with fertility control and will begin releasing them and older studs back onto the range, according to RTF humane observer Steve Paige.

A total of 534 wild horses were captured beginning on Feb. 11. Three wild horses have been euthanized, including a 2-year-old bay mare that the agency’s gather report described as having been lame for two days, with a worsening condition, following her capture.

“She was apparently suffering from a lumbar or pelvic injury that severely restricted her ambulatory gate. When standing still, she was shifting most of her weight to her front legs. Prognosis for her recovery was extremely poor,” according to the report.

BLM had set out to capture up to 700 wild horses before the roundup’s end. Of those, contractors would separate out and permanently remove from their home range 200-300 “adoptable age” wild horses. The other wild horses captured — including about 200 mares that will be treated with PZP-22 fertility control vaccine — were to be returned to the range.

With a smaller number of wild horses captured than planned, it is not immediately clear how many will be released. A total of 300 wild horses had been transported to the Delta (Utah) Wild Horse and Burro Facility as of Monday.

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.

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.