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ELKO: Wild horse gather continues

By ThisIsReno

BLM NEWS RELEASE

ELKO — Gather operations are proceeding as scheduled as the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) successfully completes the first half of the Triple B gather to remove excess wild horses within the Triple B Complex.

For the next two weeks the BLM will continue operations on the Maverick-Medicine and Antelope Valley Herd Management Areas (HMAs), located within the BLM Elko District approximately 30 miles northwest of Ely and 70 miles southeast of Elko, Nev.  The gather will conclude on areas in or adjacent to the Triple B HMA in late August.

The BLM continues to utilize the highest safety standards possible to minimize injury to the animals and provide a safe environment for the staff and visiting public.  The removal of excess wild horses, mandated under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, will help prevent further deterioration of the range lands, and achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance to ensure there will be adequate forage and water for the remaining wild horses, wildlife and permitted livestock.

The BLM continues to provide the public daily opportunities from the safest observation points possible at the gather and temporary holding sites to view the animals and gather operations. Daily weather conditions have been mostly sunny, clear and calm. Morning temperatures have averaged lows in the high 30s and daytime in the high 70s/low-to-mid 80s, providing the public good conditions to view gather activities.

To date the BLM has gathered 964 excess wild horses (338 studs, 436 mares, 190 foals) of the approximately1,726 excess wild horses scheduled to be removed.  The appropriate management level (AML) for the entire area is 472-889 animals, but the current estimated population is 2,198.

The BLM also caught 11 domestic horses during gather operations (7 mares and 4 foals), which were picked up by a State of Nevada brand inspector on August 7.  A domestic gelding caught earlier in the gather was reclaimed by its owner.

Any horses gathered above targeted removal numbers will be released back to the range so that the remaining population is within AML.  Any gathered mares released back to the range will be vaccinated with the 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.

Despite providing the safest conditions possible, accidents and deaths unfortunately will occur when working with wild animals.  Two gather-related deaths and seven non-gather related deaths have occurred to date.  The majority of non-gather deaths involved foals with genetic deformities, which are described in detail in the veterinarian reports, prepared by the onsite vet.  The reports, BLM daily updates and other gather-related information are available on the BLM website at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/ely_field_office/blm_programs/wild_horses_and_burros/triple_b__maverick.html.  Photographs and videos of the gather are available on BLM’s YouTube and Flickr social media sites, and current information is posted on the BLM’s Tweeter and Facebook pages.

The overall condition of the animals has been good but lack of water in areas throughout the Complex has been an issue.  The Ely District has hauled more than 6,000 gallons since July 13 to traditional watering sites – mostly the Triple B HMA.  The Elko District has hauled more than 44,500 gallons since June 17 – mostly the Maverick-Medicine and Antelope Valley HMAs.

The gathered animals are being transported to the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley (PVC), in Reno, Nev., and the Gunnison Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Utah.  The horses will be prepared for the BLM adoption program or for long-term holding.