ELKO — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District, Wells Field Office; and BLM Ely District, Schell Field Office will initiate the Antelope Herd Management Area (HMA) Wild Horse Gather on or about Monday, January 24, 2011, to gather and remove approximately 1,917 to 2,278 excess wild horses from in and around the Antelope Complex. The gather has been delayed due to ongoing operations with Battle Mountain District’s Callaghan Wild Horse Gather.
The Antelope complex is located approximately 60 miles south of Wells, Nev. 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.
Any horses gathered above targeted removal numbers will be released back to the HMAs so that the remaining population is within appropriate management level (AML). The AML for the Antelope Complex is 427-788 wild horses.
Any gathered mares released back to the range will be vaccinated with PZP-22 (Porcine Zona Pellucida) fertility control vaccine. Additionally, sex ratios of gathered animals to be returned to the HMAs may be adjusted to achieve an approximately 60 percent male/40 percent female ratio.
There will be no closure of the public lands and therefore, public lands within the HMAs will be open to the public during the gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions. The BLM has established protocols for visitors to ensure the overall safety of the public, the BLM and gather contract staff and the animals. The protocols are available at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/elko_field_office/blm_programs/wild_horse_and_burro/Antelope_Complex_Gather.html
The BLM has tentatively scheduled observation days on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the duration of the gather to provide the media and public opportunities to view gather activities. The first observation day is scheduled for January 27. The dates are subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations. A Wild Horse Gather Information Line has been set up at 775-753-0227 where the public can listen to a recorded message with information on daily gather activities and updated gather schedules.
Scheduled observation days provide visitors more opportunity to interact with BLM staff and will include escorted opportunities to observe the animals at the gather and holding corrals.
Credentialed media and visitors are encouraged to sign up prior to arriving by calling Lesli Coakley, BLM Elko District public affairs specialist, at (775) 753-0386, or email to [email protected]. The BLM will also regularly post gather information on its website at: www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/elko_field_office.html and on the hotline number.
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].