The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday completed a 24-day “emergency” bait-and-trap roundup of about 390 wild horses on the Triple B and Maverick-Medicine Herd Management Areas, northwest of Ely, Nev.
One wild horse died: an 8-month-old sorrel colt was euthanized after suffering a broken leg.
The BLM said that roundup was necessary because of a lack of water and “declining health of the wild horses associated with herd overpopulation,” according to a press release. The agency used temporary traps stocked made of corral panels and stocked with water and hay, not helicopters.
Before the roundup, BLM estimated the combined population of the two HMAs to be 3,562 wild horses, including this year’s foals.
The Triple B HMA includes 1,232,494 acres of public and private land. It has an agency-set Appropriate Management Level of 250-518 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 4,930 acres.
By comparison, the BLM permits 87,226 Animal Unit Months on the Triple B Complex for seasonal and some year-round grazing of privately owned cattle and sheep, the equivalent of 7,269 cow-calf pairs. An AUM is defined as a month’s forage for one horse, one cow-calf pair or five sheep.
The Maverick-Medicine HMA includes 323,562 acres of public and private land. It has an Appropriate Management Level of 166-276 wild horses, or as low as one horse for every 1,949 acres.
In 2018, 1,389 wild horses were captured and 30 died during a helicopter roundup on the Triple B Complex. Just 28 mares were treated with safe, proven and humane fertility control which would have diminished the need for future roundups.
Captured wild horses will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in Sparks, Nev., to be readied for adoption or sale.