The Bureau of Land Management has captured 325 wild horses through the first eight days of an “emergency” helicopter roundup of all 414 wild horses on the Meadow Valley Mountains and Delamar Mountains Herd Areas southwest of Caliente, Nev.
Fifteen horses have died, according to the agency. Of those, 14 had a body score of 1-2 (“poor” to “very thin”) on a 9-point scale. A 15th horse suffered an unspecified fracture during the roundup and was euthanized.
The BLM’s goal is to capture and remove 414 wild horses. It claims the action is needed due to a lack of forage and water, in part because of a July wildfire that burned 60 percent of the Meadow Valley Mountains HA and 14 percent of the Delamar Mountains HA, as well as ongoing drought conditions, and because of the declining health of the horses.
Since 2008, the 94,521-acre Meadow Valley Mountains HA and 183,558-acre Delamar Mountains HA have not been managed for wild horses. The BLM estimates the current populations on the two Herd Areas at 414.
The two Herd Areas are part of the 911,892-acre Caliente Herd Area Complex, none of which is managed for wild horses.
By comparison, BLM allows up to 39,920 Animal Unit Months for the grazing of privately owned cattle, sheep and domestic horses. Drought conditions have seen lower actual use: an average of 9,856 AUM over a 10-year period, from 2007-16, for example, according to planning documents, with seven allotments in voluntary non-use. One AUM is defined as a month’s forage for one horse, one cow / calf pairor five sheep.
Captured wild horses will be shipped to the Bruneau (Idaho) Off-Range Wild Horse Corrals to be prepared for adoption or sale.
Viewing the roundup
Members of the public that wish to observe the roundup must call (775) 861-6700 nightly for instructions. COVID-19 guidelines, including social distancing, mask-wearing, and use of hand sanitizer are required. Those who have been sick or exposed to someone with COVID-19 within the prior 14 days should not attend.