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Two wild horses have died and 122 have been captured during the first two days of a helicopter roundup on the Owyhee Complex in Northern Nevada, according to the Bureau of Land Management.
On Wednesday, an 8-year-old black mare was euthanized after suffering injuries and receiving a poor prognosis for recovery, according to BLM. A day later, a 1-year-old bay mare died after striking a trap panel.
So far, 53 studs, 54 mares and 20 foals have been captured.
Of those, 27 studs, 34 mares, 15 foals have been trucked 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 transported to off-range pastures.
The BLM plans to capture 680 wild horses in and around the Elko District’s Rock Creek and Owyhee Horse Management Areas. Of those, about 450 will be removed from the range.
A second phase of the roundup is scheduled to be held after Thanksgiving on the Winnemucca District’s Little Owyhee Horse Management Area. There, 920 wild horses are the be captured and 650 removed from the range.
Mares that are not transported will 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.”