Owyhee roundup: 140 wild horses captured; three more die, Nov. 20, 2016

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Frightened horses cling together in temporary holding. All photos by Steve Paige.


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Update: This post has been updated to include information posted by BLM.

A total of 140 wild horses were captured and three died Saturday during the ongoing Owyhee Complex roundup in Northern Nevada.

The wild horses that died were one aged 20-plus years, a 12-year-old mare and foal, according to Steve Paige, Return to Freedom humane observer. The Bureau of Land Management listed the causes of dead as chronic / preexisting conditions.

Eleven horses have died since the roundup began on Nov. 2.

For the second straight day, public observers were not allowed to watch the helicopter trapping operation. BLM has said that observers will only be allowed near the trap site on Tuesdays and Thursday because of “private land access issues.”

Paige was given access only to the temporary holding area, and that only from the road in front of the pipe corrals. Later in the day, he was asked not to photograph horse trailers on the road.

Some trailers arrived filled with only foals.

“You could hear a lot of mares calling out as the foals were unloaded,” he said.

Through Saturday, 1,059 wild horses (409 studs, 454 mares, 196 foals) had been captured. Of those, 198 wild horses were returned to the range, according to BLM, including 94 mares treated with PZP-22 fertility control vaccine.

Those transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center near Reno, Nevada, are being prepared for the BLM adoption program. 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.”

Photos from Saturday, Nov. 19: