Owyhee update: 11 wild horses captured, 17th dies, as roundup resumes, Nov. 30, 2016

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All photos by Steve Paige.

All photos by Steve Paige.


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.

Eleven wild horses were captured and one euthanized as the helicopter roundup in Northern Nevada’s Owyhee Complex resumed on Tuesday.

The capture of seven studs, two mares and two foals brings to 1,525 the number of wild horses rounded up since Nov. 2, when one of the largest roundups in recent history began.

Snow and ice caused postponed helicopter trapping on Sunday and Monday.

The Bureau of Land Management said that one wild horse was euthanized after suffering an injury in temporary holding. Seventeen horses have died during the roundup.

During this second phase of the roundup, BLM plans to capture 920 wild horses and remove 650 from the range. During the first phase, 770 wild horses (297 studs, 329 mares, 144 foals) were captured.

So far, 198 wild horses have been returned to the range, including 94 mares treated with fertility control vaccine, according to BLM.

Captured wild horses are being transported from temporary holding to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center near Reno, Nevada. 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.”


Photographs from Tuesday, Nov. 29:


The Judas horse: a horse trained to lead wild horses into the trap is followed by 11 wild horses as a helicopter chases them.



Wild horses flee from a contractor’s helicopter on Tuesday as it kicks up snow left from recent storms.


Two foals being transported to temporary holding.

(Above, below) Two wild horses slide in the mud. Later, BLM told observers that one would be put down due to injury.




Two foals captured on Tuesday with their mothers. Ordinarily, mares and foals are separated upon arrival at temporary holding, but these pairs remained together because of the relatively small number of wild horses captured on Tuesday.



Older mares in the foreground will soon to be branded and treated with the PZP-22 fertility control release, along with the selected studs in the pen behind them.