Owyhee update: Weather postpones Sunday helicopter roundup, Nov. 28, 2016

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Poor weather conditions in Northern Nevada grounded Sunday’s helicopter roundup. 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.

Poor weather postponed Sunday’s planned continuation of the Owyhee Complex helicopter roundup in Northern Nevada. The operation is set to resume today.

Since Nov. 2, 1,514 wild horses (581 studs, 638 mares and 292 foals) have been captured, according to the Bureau of Land Management. Sixteen horses have died.

Through Saturday, 198 wild horses have been returned to the range — including 94 mares had been treated with PZP-22 fertility control vaccine.

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.

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.”

On Sunday, RTF humane observer Steve Paige said that he traveled two hours in snowy conditions before being informed the roundup had been called off for the day. Paige noted that he saw perhaps 70 deer like the one below while on the drive — but that during his time covering this roundup, he’s yet to see a wild horse that wasn’t being captured or in holding.