Two wild horses were put down after suffering injuries on Monday during the Bureau of Land Management’s ongoing helicopter roundup on the Twin Peaks Herd Management on the California-Nevada border.
Wild horses that had been driven into the trap by helicopter “stopped their forward motion and reversed as a group, moving toward the gates and exerting sufficient pressure to bend and break (livestock gate) panels,” according to the BLM’s gather report.
A 4-year-old stallion suffered a broken leg and a mare estimated to be more than 20 years old suffered a lacerated eye and collapsed eye socket. “About 10” wild horses escaped. Others were kept in place by the hovering helicopter while contractors repaired the gate panels.
A total of 124 wild horses were captured on Monday, bringing the number captured since July 24 to 465. Two burros have also been captured.
A total of six wild horses have been killed, the other four from what BLM labeled as pre-existing conditions. These included a 4-month-old filly that collapsed at the trap site on Sunday. The BLM said that a necropsy revealed the foal had “severe pneumonia, with only 20 percent of lung capacity.”
The BLM plans to capture 1,978 wild horses, returning “up to” 110 mares to their home range after treating them with fertility control while removing the balance and capturing and removing 339 wild burros. The BLM estimated the population on Twin Peaks at 3,316 wild horses and 401 burros this spring.
Return to Freedom supports the use of safe, proven, humane and reversible fertility control to halt roundups; however, the number of mares the BLM plans to treat is too low to slow reproduction in a way that could reduce the size and frequency of future roundups. It is unclear which form of fertility control the agency plans to use.
The BLM’s stated purpose for the removal is to “prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses.”
The Twin Peaks Herd Management, located in Lassen County, Calif., and Washoe County Nevada, includes nearly 800,000 acres of public and private land. The agency-set “Appropriate Management Level” is 448 to 758 wild horses and 72 to 166 burros, or as low as one horse for every 1,639 acres and as low as one burro for every 1,111 acres.
The Herd Management Area overlaps nine allotments for livestock grazing, primarily cattle. The number of Animal Unit Months currently being allocated to privately owned livestock was not immediately available.
Observing the roundup
Members of the public who wish to view the roundup must RSVP at (530) 252-5332. The information line will be updated nightly with a meeting time and location. Those who wish to attend must provide their own transportation, food and water. The BLM recommends a high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle with sound tires, a good spare tire, and tire changing equipment. Brightly colored clothing and shade structures are not permitted. No shade or restroom facilities are provided. Most sites will have no cell service.