BLM NEWS RELEASE
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) concluded emergency gather operations yesterday afternoon within the Owyhee Heard Management Area (HMA) and successfully rescued 636 excess wild horses. The contractor will relocate the temporary gather and holding facilities to areas within the Rock Creek HMA and resume gather operations on Thursday.
The Tuscarora gather area encompasses the Owyhee, Rock Creek, and Little Humboldt HMAs located in northern Elko County, Nev. The BLM initiated gather operations within the Owyhee HMA on Saturday, July 10, and gathered 228 excess wild horses, but suspended operations on Sunday after it was discovered that the wild horses were suffering from water starvation/dehydration as a result of lack of water.
The BLM installed troughs on Monday and began hauling water via tanker to the troughs and a reservoir located within one-fourth to one-half mile of the Star Ridge horses in the northern part of the Owyhee HMA. Since Monday, July 12 the BLM hauled more than 46,000 gallons of water.
The BLM coordinated with local ranchers who own the water rights to allow the BLM to use their reservoirs and wells to provide water to the horses. Also, there are no cattle within this immediate area, but cattle are present in the Chimney Creek pasture and on private lands within the southeast portion of the HMA.
Some of the animals were in weakened condition as a result of water starvation/dehydration-related complications. However, many of the wild horses were in better condition than expected, indicating they had been drinking from the water the BLM had provided.
“The water we hauled saved the lives of hundreds of the wild horses we rescued,” said Ron Wenker, BLM Nevada State Director. “Many of the 636 animals we saved would have died.”
Of the 636 excess wild horses gathered, 21 animals died during emergency rescue operations. However, 18 deaths were not gather related: 13 died as a direct result of water starvation or dehydration-related complications; 5 horses died from pre-existing injuries or deformity and were humanely euthanized. Three horses died from gather related injuries that occurred in the temporary holding corrals and were humanely euthanized. The veterinarian report is available on the BLM website at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/elko_field_office.html.
“The success of this rescue also clearly reflects the care, skill and compassion the BLM and the gather contractor used to humanely gather and save these wild horses,” added Wenker.
The contractor shipped remaining wild horses Tuesday, July 20, including 69 studs to the Gunnison Prison Wild Horse Training Facility at the Central Utah Correctional Facility, and 52 animals to the Palomino Valley Center near Sparks (41 mares, 7 young studs, and 4 foals). All the animals arrived safely at the respective facilities without incident, and are being monitored, provided grass hay, water, and electrolytes if needed. No deaths occurred during transport.
During the next several months all the animals will be monitored closely, provided good feed, water and veterinarian care as needed. They will be wormed, vaccinated, and freeze marked, and all 12 month and older studs will be gelded. Once the animals have fully recovered they will be made available for adoption to qualified applicants through the BLM’s Adopt-A-Wild Horse or Burro Program. The public may visit the BLM’s website at www.blm.gov for more information about adopting a wild horse or burro.
The BLM conducted daily fixed wing aerial reconnaissance to locate the bands and document the on-ground conditions of the wild horses and the public lands. BLM specialists reported seeing approximately 19 dead horses in various areas within the Owyhee HMA.
As more information becomes available it will be posted at the website: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/elko_field_office.html. For further comments and questions, the public may call 1-866-468-7826.