Owyhee roundup: Phase ends with release of 45 mares, Nov. 16, 2016

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The first phase of the Owyhee Complex helicopter roundup in Northern Nevada ended on Wednesday with the release of 45 mares treated with fertility control, according to the Bureau of Land Management.

A total of 770 wild horses (297 studs, 329 mares, 144 foals) were captured during this phase of the roundup. 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.

Captured horses are being transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center near Reno, Nevada, where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Those not adopted will later be taken to off-range pastures.

The BLM set out to capture 680 wild horses in and around the Elko District’s Rock Creek and Owyhee Horse Management Areas. Of those, about 450 were to be removed from the range.

A second phase of the roundup will take place at Winnemucca District’s Little Owyhee Horse Management Area. There, 920 wild horses are to be captured and 650 removed from the range.

Mares that are not transported to the adoption center are to be treated with PZP-22 fertility control vaccine before release.

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.”