Owyhee roundup: Second phase begins without public observation, Nov. 18, 2016

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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 helicopter roundup in northern Nevada is set to begin today — without public observation.

The Bureau of Land Management has announced that because of “private land access issues” observers will only be allowed to view the roundup in its Winnemuca District’s Little Owyhee Horse Management Area two days per week. Until Tuesday, the public is only being allowed access to the temporary holding facility.

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: separated from their family bands, including the separation of mares from foals, sorted by sex and age, freeze-branded.

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 Thursday, Nov. 17: