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.
The second phase of the ongoing Owyhee Complex roundup in northern Nevada began on Friday without public observers allowed to watch the helicopter trapping operation.
RTF humane observer Steve Paige was only given access to temporary holding, where trailer after trailer of wild horses were put into pipe corrals.
The Bureau of Land Management has said that observers will only be allowed near the trap site on Tuesdays and Thursday because of “private land access issues.” This despite the area consisting of 336,233 acres of BLM land compared to 2,870 acres made up of a mix of private and other public lands.
“It would appear the trap site was chosen specifically to keep us out,” Paige writes.
A total of 149 wild horses (64 studs, 57 mares and 28 foals) were captured on Friday, according to the BLM.
One horse died of what was listed as a pre-existing condition. No further details were posted. Eight horses have died since the roundup began on Nov. 2.
In this phase, BLM plans to capture 920 wild horses and remove 650 from the range.
During the roundup’s first phase, 770 wild horses (297 studs, 329 mares, 144 foals) were captured. Of those, 198 horses were returned to the range, including 94 treated with fertility control.
Seven horses have died since the roundup started on Nov. 2.
Mares that are not transported to the adoption center are to be treated with PZP-22 fertility control vaccine before release.
Those transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center near Reno, Nevada, are being prepared for the BLM adoption program. Those wild 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 Friday, Nov. 18: