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Tuscarora emergency rescue gather operations continue



blm_logo-300x261-6143214-7703453The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gather contractor resumed emergency rescue gather operations today and by 12 noon had gathered a total of 142 excess wild horses, including 57 mares, 23 foals and 62 studs.

The contractor brought the first group of 77 excess wild horses from the Star Ridge area in at 9:30 a.m. The animals are in very poor condition as a result from water starvation/dehydration-related complications, and currently are receiving food, water and veterinarian care by BLM staff, specialists and the on-site U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian.

The contractor brought in a second group of 65 excess wild horses from the Chimney Creek area at approximately 12 noon. From initial observation, this group of animals appears to be in better condition than expected.

The 192 wild horses gathered yesterday also appear stable, which may indicate they were drinking from the water the BLM continues to haul water via water tanker to water troughs and a reservoir located within one-fourth to one-half mile of the North Owyhee horses. No horses in this group died overnight.

The BLM has hauled more than 30,000 gallons of water during the past week, including 800 gallons of water to the Bookkeeper Spring area. The BLM has been coordinating with local ranchers who own the water rights and who are allowing the BLM to use their water/water sources (reservoirs and wells) to provide water to the horses. The ranchers also have opened gates to allow horses access to water. There are no cattle within this immediate area.

Of the 616 excess wild horses gathered to date, 18 animals have died, of which16 resulted directly from pre-existing water starvation/dehydration-related complications, severe congenital deformity and physical injuries – – not from gather-related operations: 13 died as a direct result of water starvation/dehydration-related complications, including one foal transported to the Palomino Valley Center (PVC) on Wednesday, July 14; a 20 plus year old blind stud with broken teeth and two 2-3 month old foals with deformed and crippled front legs and incurable lameness were humanely euthanized Saturday, July 17; one horse was euthanized shortly after being gathered on Saturday, July 10 due to a fractured leg that occurred in the temporary holding corrals; and one horse died today from a neck injury that occurred in the temporary holding corrals.

This morning the contractor shipped 37 studs to the Gunnison Prison Wild Horse Training Facility at the Central Utah Correctional Facility, and 49 mares and 42 foals to the PVC.

The 75 studs shipped Saturday, July 17 to the Gunnison Facility arrived 6:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. Utah State Veterinarian Dr. Bruce King was on site when the horses arrived. All the wild horses made the trip and unloaded without incident. The animals were placed in small pens and will be monitored closely. Grass hay and unlimited water was provided to each pen.

The 37 horses shipped to the PVC yesterday (13 wet mares, 4 dry mares, 8 foals and 12 studs) arrived at approximately 6:00 p.m. No immediate health concerns were noted upon arrival. All animals unloaded from the trucks in stable condition and were placed in pens where there was grass hay and water with and without electrolytes.

The BLM is currently conducting 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 have reported seeing some horses down in certain areas within the Owyhee Herd Management Area. For horses that are already down and unable to be trailed and are not responding to the helicopter, the BLM will attempt to humanely euthanize those animals from the ground, as recommended by the Review Team in their Interim Report to BLM Director Bob Abbey.

The BLM reinitiated emergency rescue gather operations after U.S. District Court Judge, Larry R. Hicks, Reno, Nev. issued a decision ruling on Friday, July 16 in favor of the BLM and rescinded a temporary restraining order that had temporarily stopped gather operations.

The Tuscarora gather area encompasses the Owyhee, Rock Creek, and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas (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 discovered that the wild horses had been suffering from a lack of water prior to being gathered.

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.

The BLM manages more land – more than 245 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.

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