ELKO – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District, Wells Field Office; and BLM Ely District, Schell Field Office have signed the Decision Record for the Antelope Complex Wild Horse Gather scheduled to being mid January. The Decision Record follows the completion of the Final Environmental Assessment which was made available to the public Dec. 2, 2010.
The BLM is scheduled in late January 2011 to gather and remove approximately 1,917 to 2,278 excess wild horses from in and around the Antelope Complex. The complex is located approximately 60 miles south of Wells, Nevada and consists of the Antelope Herd Management Area (HMA) which is managed by the Ely District, Schell Field Office and the Antelope Valley, Goshute, and Spruce-Pequop HMAs which are managed by the Elko District, Wells Field Office.
There are currently an estimated 2,705 wild horses within the complex where the appropriate management level (AML) is 427-788 wild horses.
Removing the excess wild horses will help to prevent further deterioration of the range, and achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship as required under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as well as help to achieve and maintain healthy, viable wild horse populations.
The BLM also coordinates closely with the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDOA) Brands Division to provide Brand Inspectors during wild horse removal efforts across the state. NDOA brand inspectors must confirm that the animals are not domestic horses. Once verified, the Brand Inspector will provide the BLM a certificate to transport the animals. The NDOA also may take jurisdiction of any estray, branded or abandoned domestic horse(s) under the State of Nevada estray laws.
The BLM uses a Federal gather contractor to gather wild horses from HMAs where the BLM has determined that excess animals exist. The contractor uses a helicopter to locate and herd horses towards a set of corrals where the horses are gathered. The helicopter is assisted by a ground crew and the use of a Prada, a domesticated horse, to move the excess horses into the corrals. The use of helicopters and motorized vehicles has proven to be a safe, effective, and practical means for the gather and removal of excess wild horses and burros from the range.
The gathered animals will be transported to either the Salt Lake City Facility, Gunnison Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Utah, Palomino Valley Center near Reno, Nev., or the Indian Lakes Road Facility in Fallon, Nev. where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.
The Antelope Complex gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Final EA, which is available online at http://www.blm.gov/nv/. Click on the Elko District map and then click on the EA listed “In the Spotlight.” The BLM will also provide updates and information at the same Web address on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather.
For more information, contact Lesli Coakley, BLM Elko District public affairs specialist, at (775) 753-0386 or by email at [email protected]