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ELY: BLM begins Pancake Complex wild horse gather


blm_logo-4252943-7759119Public encouraged to attend, especially on Saturdays


ELY – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office and the BLM Ely District, Egan Field Office will begin the Pancake Complex Wild Horse Gather on or about Thursday, Jan. 12, 2012.  The BLM will implement a pilot project involving a phased-in management approach to reach the appropriate management level (AML).

This new way of managing large herd management area (HMA) complexes involves conducting three to four gathers over a six to 10 year period instead of one much larger removal in order to reach AML.  The project involves smaller removals and increased use of population controls to slow the wild horse population growth rate.  The Pancake Complex, which is located approximately 30 miles west of Ely and 80 miles northeast of Tonopah, Nevada, currently has an estimated wild horse population of 2,200, of which an estimated 1,847 are in excess of low AML.  The initial operation will remove approximately 800-1,000 excess wild horses from the Complex.

The Pancake HMA has an AML of 240-493 wild horses, but currently has a population of more than 1,653 wild horses; the Sand Springs West HMA has an AML of 49 wild horses and a population of 153 wild horses; the Jakes Wash Herd Area (HA), which is managed for 0 wild horses has a population of 132 wild horses; and 270 wild horses in the Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory (WHT) where the AML is 72-96 wild horses.  The current wild horse population estimates include the 2011 foal crop.  Wild horse numbers fluctuate between the HMAs, HA and WHT, based on seasonal movement.

The gather and removal of excess wild horses, and implementation of population control measures for horses that would be released are intended to slow wild horse population growth, maintain population size within the appropriate management levels necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands and to extend the time before another gather to remove excess wild horses would be needed.


Public lands within the HMAs and WHT will be open to the public during the gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions.  The public is welcome to attend the gather, and is encouraged to attend on Saturdays, when the media and public will have enhanced opportunities to view gather activities.  The BLM has tentatively scheduled the dates of January 14, 21 and 28; and February 4, 11, and 18.  The dates are subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations, and the public is encouraged to check the gather hotline nightly (775-289-1880) for changes in the schedule. Saturdays will provide visitors more opportunity to interact with BLM staff and could include escorted opportunities to observe the animals at the gather and holding corrals.  For more information or to sign up, call Analise Forbush, BLM Ely District administrative assistant, at (775) 289-1866.  The BLM will also regularly post gather information on its Website at: www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/ely_field_office.html.


The gather will be conducted in close coordination with the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDOA) Brands Division.  The NDOA brand inspectors will verify that all gathered animals are wild horses and burros as defined by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.  Once verified, the brand inspector will provide the BLM a certificate to transport the animals.


Without this cooperation and coordination, the BLM would not be able to remove the excess wild horses and burros which, if not removed in a timely manner, would result in degradation of our native rangelands.  The NDOA also may take jurisdiction of any estray, branded or abandoned domestic horse(s) under the State of Nevada estray laws.


The gathered animals will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center near Reno, Nev., and the Gunnison Prison Wild Horse Facility in Gunnison, Utah, where they will be offered for adoption to qualified individuals.  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.


For more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at (775) 289-1842 or [email protected].

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