Frisco HMA roundup: 37 wild horses captured in Utah, Jan. 8, 2017

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A wild horse flees from a BLM contractor’s helicopter on Saturday at the Frisco Herd Management Area in Utah. All photos by Steve Paige for RTF.


Please consider a contribution to the Wild Horse Defense Fund, which makes it possible for RTF 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.

A Bureau of Land Management contractor has captured 37 wild horses total during the first two days of a roundup at the Frisco Horse Management Area in western Utah.

Helicopter drive trapping had been scheduled to start on Saturday, according to an online schedule, but got a head start on Friday with 11 wild horses captured.

So much snow was kicked up by rotor wash on Saturday that the helicopter looked to be chasing ghosts, according to Steve Paige, who is documenting the roundup for Return to Freedom.

The BLM website has been down throughout much of this weekend, making more specifics about the first two days of the roundup unavailable. Wild horses captured were taken to temporary holding pens to be sorted by age and gender.

BLM plans to capture 150 wild horses, permanently removing 90 from their home range. Some will be returned to the range fitted with tracking devices as part of a population-control experiment.

U.S. Geological Survey and Colorado State University researchers intend to study for five years “the effects of removing males from the reproductive population through gelding as an alternative potential management tool.”

Wild horses removed from the range are to be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program.

Photos from Jan. 7:

Roundup viewing:

Members of the public interested in viewing the roundup should call the BLM gather hotline: (801) 539-4050. Participants must provide their own transportation (four-wheel drive, high-clearance vehicles are recommended), as well as their own water and food. They should wear clothing suitable for harsh winter conditions.