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BLM completes Tuscarora gather



blm_logo-300x261-2558399-5773452The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has concluded the Tuscarora wild horse gather.  The BLM finished gather activities outside the Rock Creek Herd Management Area (HMA) on Monday, August 2, which was the third and last HMA to be gathered to remove excess wild horses.

The BLM gathered a total of 1,224 wild horses because of degradation of rangeland resources on public and adjacent private lands resulting from an over-population of wild horses.  This over-population also resulted in the need for emergency rescue operations to save water starved wild horses, including the hauling of 46,000 gallons water for wild horses within the Owyhee HMA from July 12 to July 18.

Of the gathered horses, the BLM contractor transported 1,064 animals, including 346 studs shipped to the Gunnison Prison Wild Horse Training Facility at the Central Utah Correctional Facility, and 718 mares, foals, and studs to the Palomino Valley Center (PVC) near Sparks, Nev., without incident.  The animals are receiving good quality grass hay, water and veterinarian care as needed.

The animals will be de-wormed, vaccinated, freeze marked and gelded (all studs 12 months and older), all animals 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 applied fertility control on 64 mares (PZP-22 – Porcine Zona Pellucida) and released them back into their respective HMAs.  The BLM re-released a total of 126 mares and studs back into the Rock Creek and Little Humboldt HMAs.

A total of 34 animals either died or were humanely euthanized during gather operations:  13 animals died due to insufficient water resources on the range, succumbing to water starvation/dehydration-related complications; 12 animals had pre-existing injuries or conditions such as lameness, blindness, pneumonia, or birth defect/physical injury-related deformities and were humanely euthanized.  Four wild horses died or were humanly euthanized as a result of gather-related injuries, and five animals died from assorted causes after transportation to the short-term holding facility.

Two additional wild horses (a mare and foal) that were not being gathered were also found on the range during reconnaissance activities and were humanely euthanized because of life-threatening injuries.  The contractor found the two animals while rescuing a group of approximately 28 wild horses stranded on a steep cliff as he guided the horses down the steep mountain.

The BLM did not report these two deaths as part of its daily mortality log, because that log documents mortalities for wild horses that are gathered.  BLM Nevada is modifying its reporting methods to better document all wild horse deaths that occur or are found during gather operations.

The BLM staff conducted a post gather survey flight of the Owyhee, Little Humboldt and Rock Creek HMAs on Tuesday, August 2 and found the following:  the Owyhee HMA has a total of 112 wild horses (88 adults and 24 foals), and the horses are in good condition and continue to utilize the water the BLM hauled in early to mid July;  Little Humboldt has 46 adult wild horses in good condition: Rock Creek HMA has 47 wild horses (42 adults and 5 foals), all in good condition.

The BLM identified a total 205 within the three HMAs, and estimates the current population of wild horses is within the population range that will allow for a thriving natural ecological balance. The BLM will conduct a detailed census flight of the Owyhee, Little Humboldt and Rock Creek HMAs within the next two months.

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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