Diamond Complex (Nev.) update: 898 wild horses captured, 25 killed

/ In The News, News, Roundups
A contractor’s helicopter pushes wild horses into the trap site on the Diamond Complex last week. BLM photo.

The Bureau of Land Management has captured 898 wild horses through Sunday, the 11th day of a helicopter roundup north of Eureka, Nev.

Twenty-five deaths have been reported on the Diamond Complex. Of these, BLM has classified three as “acute,” or as a result of the roundup, and 22 as being euthanized for “pre-existing / chronic” conditions.

The most recent deaths:

–On Sunday, Sept. 20, three 7-year-old wild horses, two bay stallions and a bay mare, were put down to pre-existing conditions: a blind right eye, arthritis and a club foot, respectively. A 20-year-old sorrel stallion was euthanized due to a body score of 1.5 between “poor” and “very thin” on a 9-point scale with a “hopeless prognosis for recovery”;

–On Saturday, Sept. 19, three wild horses were put down for pre-existing conditions, a 5-year-old roan stallion with a club foot, a 4-year-old roan mare due to an umbilical hernia; and a 4-year-old bay mare due to malformed vertebrae resulting in a deviated spinal column;

–On Friday, Sept. 18, two 11-year-old wild horses were put down: a roan stallion with a club foot and a bay mare with “severe bloating” that collapsed. Both were assigned body condition scores of 4.5 (between “moderately thin” and “moderate”);

–On Thursday, Sept. 17, a 10-year-old sorrel mare died after breaking her neck. Two other wild horses, a 6-month-old bay stallion and 11-year-old bay mare, were found dead in holding. Necropsies later noted possible constriction of the stallion’s lower stomach and colic-like symptoms in the mare. In addition, a 3-year-old mare was euthanized due to colic-like symptoms. 

So far, 359 studs, 368 mares, and 171 foals have been captured.

BLM’s goal is capture 1,225 wild horses, removing 1,165. The agency plans to treat and release up to 30 mares with the safe, proven and humane fertility control vaccine PZP-22 along with an equal number of studs. 

About 300 wild horses will remain on the complex after the roundup, which is expected to last 20-25 days.

The stated purpose of the roundup is to “prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and burros” and “protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, and mule deer.” The BLM also said in a press release that the roundup is also necessary because of “severe drought conditions throughout Central Nevada”

Prior to the roundup, the BLM estimated the total population of wild horses on the 258,000-acre Diamond Complex at 1,495 wild horses, not counting this year’s foals. The agency-set Appropriate Management Level for the complex is 123-210 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 2,098 acres.

BLM has allocated up to 24,348 Animal Unit Months for privately owned livestock and sheep that graze on the Diamond Complex compared to 2,520 for wild horses. One Animal Unit Month, or AUM, is the enough forage for one cow and her calf, one horse, or five sheep or goats for a month.

The Diamond Complex is made up of both public and private lands. It includes the Diamond Herd Management Area, Diamond Hills North Herd Management Area and Diamond Hills South Herd Management Area.

Captured wild horses chosen for removal will be shipped to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals, Reno, Nevada, to be prepared for adoption or sale.

Click here for BLM planning documents.

Viewing the roundup:

Those interested in viewing the roundup should call (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time. Face masks and social distancing are required and those who participate must bring hand sanitizer. Those who are all or who have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the prior 14 days cannot attend.

TAKE ACTION: Urge Congress to press the Bureau of Land Management to implement a robust program of proven, safe and humane fertility control in order to phase out roundups and manage wild horses and burros humanely on the range