Owyhee roundup: 121 more wild horses captured on Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, 2016

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All photos by Steve Paige.

All photos by Steve Paige.


Sign RTF’s anti-roundup petition here. 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.

On Thanksgiving Day, 121 wild horses were captured during the ongoing helicopter roundup at the Owyhee Complex in Northern Nevada.

The 46 studs, 47 mares, and 28 foals came in two large groups, and there were no injuries or deaths, according to Steve Paige, who is acting as a humane observer for Return to Freedom.

After days of limited public viewing because private land access issues, BLM moved the trap site onto public land. The roundup was delayed on Wednesday due to poor weather conditions.

BLM has not yet posted its gather report for Thursday, but prior to that 1,216 wild horses had been captured and at least 16 had died since the roundup began on Nov. 2.

Of those captured, 198 wild horses have been returned to the range — including 94 mares had been treated with PZP-22 fertility control vaccine.

During the second phase of the roundup, BLM plans to capture 920 wild horses and remove 650 from the range. During the first phase, 770 wild horses (297 studs, 329 mares, 144 foals) were captured.

Captured wild horses are being transported from temporary holding to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center near Reno, Nevada. Horses that are not adopted will later be taken to BLM off-range pastures.

BLM justifies the roundup as an effort to “remove excess wild horses in order to prevent further deterioration of Greater Sage grouse habitat within the Sagebrush Focal Area (in northern Elko and Humboldt Counties. Overpopulation of wild horses leads to the degradation of rangeland resources, which adversely impacts habitat for other species as well as the horses themselves.”

This post has been updated to include BLM’s breakdown of the wild horses captured.


Photos from Thursday, Nov. 24:








The Judas horses — horses trained to lead wild horses into the trap — did not cooperate with BLM’s contractor. One Judas horse ran the wrong direction, then hid in the corner with the other Judas horse: