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BLM concludes Antelope Complex wild horse gather

By ThisIsReno


ELKO, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko and Ely Districts concluded the Antelope Complex wild horse gather on Friday, Feb. 25.  A total of 1,398 wild horses were gathered from the Complex, which consists of the Antelope, Antelope Valley, Goshute and Spruce-Pequop Herd Management Areas (HMAs).  The appropriate management level, or AML, for the Complex is a range of 427 to 788 animals and it was anticipated to gather approximately 2,000 wild horses to achieve AML.  In the interest of the safety and well-being of the wild horses, the gather was halted early due to declining weather conditions and the impending foaling season..

Of the wild horses removed from the range, 94 were sent to the Salt Lake Wild Horse and Burro Center in Herriman, Utah; 867 were sent to Palomino Valley Center outside Reno; 351 were sent to Gunnison Correctional Facility, Utah; and 45 to Delta Wild Horse and Burro Facility in Delta, Utah where they will be prepared for BLM’s adoption program.  Un-adopted wild 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 wild horses to slaughter.

The BLM returned 32 wild horses to the range, of which 21 mares were treated with the fertility control vaccine, Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP-22).  One gathered horse was found to be a gelding and was released to the Nevada brand inspector.

The gather began on Jan. 23 and concluded on Feb. 25.  An Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) veterinarian was on site daily to evaluate animal conditions and provide recommendations to the on-site BLM wild horse and burro specialist for care and treatment.  Nine wild horses were euthanized during the course of the gather, four (.002%) for gather-related injuries and five (.003%) for injuries sustained prior to the gather or physical deformities, such as club foot.

BLM staff utilized the Henneke body condition scale to classify gathered wild horses.  On a scale from one to nine (one being poor[k1] [h2] condition and nine being extremely fat), Antelope Complex horses were generally a body condition score of two to three (very thin to thin), with a few wild horses observed to be higher or lower. “These lower body conditions correspond to the harsh conditions faced by wild horses of the Antelope Complex where water is scarce for the populations that are currently residing there.  The reproduction rate of the mares also compounds their poor condition.  Although AML was not achieved during this gather, the reduction in numbers will provide some respite for the remaining wild horses,” said Bryan Fuell, Wells Field Manager, Elko District Office.

A helicopter was used to guide wild horses into corrals in a manner that minimizes harm and stress to the animals. A recent report from the Office of Inspector General, U.S. Department of the Interior, concluded that wild horse and burro gathers are an essential means to control the population and their review did not find that the BLM or its contractors treated wild horses and burros inhumanely. The entire report can be accessed at www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/info/newsroom/extras/OIG_whb.html.

BLM’s Antelope Complex website can be accessed at this address: http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/elko_field_office/blm_programs/wild_horse_and_burro/Antelope_Complex_Gather.html

For more information, contact Lesli Coakley, BLM Elko District public affairs specialist, at (775) 753-0386 or by email at [email protected]

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