The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has gathered 672 wild horses from four wild horse herd management areas (HMAs) in the Antelope Complex in northeastern Nevada, about 60 miles south of Wells. The BLM plans to gather and remove about 2,000 excess animals to reduce the wild horse population within a range of 427 to 788 animals, which is the appropriate carrying capacity for the Complex based on the available water and forage in the area.
The Antelope Complex consists of the Antelope HMA which is managed by the BLM Ely District and the Antelope Valley, Goshute, and Spruce-Pequop HMAs which are managed by the Elko District.
Three wild horses have been euthanized at the gather: one mare fell in a stock trailer injuring her pelvis; one mare with a puncture wound on her leg, broke the leg the following day in the holding corral; and one filly’s leg was broken after being kicked by another horse in the gather corral.
Temperatures at the gather have been cold in the mornings at the start, averaging in the low teens and generally warming into the 40s by mid-afternoon. The gather sites are moved to be closer to groups of horses to reduce the distance the animals are herded with the helicopter. So far, the maximum herding distance has been about six miles. Road conditions are typical for dirt roads in Nevada. There are some rough spots, but the roads are generally in good enough condition for the passage of the transport vehicles and other vehicles associated with the gather.
The gathered animals are being transported to either the Gunnison Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Utah, the 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 BLM has 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. Call the Wild Horse Gather Information Line at 775-753-0227 for a recorded message with information on daily gather activities and updated gather schedule. The scheduled observation days provide visitors more opportunity to interact with BLM staff and 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 gather is expected to continue into late February. Daily updates of the gather and photos are posted on the BLM website at: blm.gov/nv.