Part of BLM's Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather Complete

Part of BLM's Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather Complete

To date, 819 wild horses were gathered and 808 wild horses were removed from the Little Owyhee HMA.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Winnemucca, Nev., District, Humboldt River Field Office, has completed their portion of the Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather. However, with the upcoming holidays, a suspension of operations for the remainder of the Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather will take place. Operations will resume Jan. 4, 2013 in the Owyhee Herd Management Area (HMA) managed by the Elko, Nev., District Office, Tuscarora Field Office.

To date, 819 wild horses were gathered and 808 wild horses were removed from the Little Owyhee HMA. Two studs were released back into the HMA. The Appropriate Management Level for the Little Owyhee HMA is 194 to 298, with a pre-gather population of approximately 1,097. Removal of the excess wild horses will relieve pressure on the limited resources available in the HMA. Daily gather, facility, and veterinary reports are available online.

Wild horses removed to date have been transported to Palomino Valley Center near Reno, Nev., and the Lichtfield Corrals near Susanville, Calif. where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Horses not adopted will be placed in long term pastures where they will be cared for and will 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 for slaughter.

"Phase 1 of the gather has been completed with the last wild horses being gathered and removed from the Little Owyhee HMA," said Gene Seidlitz, district manager of BLM's Winnemucca District. "The weather and mechanical issues on the helicopter caused several days without gather operations occurring but overall wild horses were removed safely and humanely."

Operations will resume in the Elko District's Owyhee HMA where approximately 186 wild horses will be gathered. Of the 186 wild horses gathered, 47 will be removed from the range with the remainder being released back to the HMA and approximately 46 mares being vaccinated with PZP-22, a fertility control vaccine. Any wild horses gathered above the targeted removal numbers will be released back to the HMA.

The Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather and its impacts are described and analyzed in the final environmental assessment, which is available online under "Documents and Maps."

Operations will be open for public observation every day. Public lands within the HMAs will be open to the public during gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions. However, portions of the gather area could be located on private property and certain restrictions apply. The BLM has established protocols for visitors to ensure the safety of the horses, the public, BLM, and contract staff. The protocols are available online under "Observation Opportunities."

Visitors are encouraged to sign up prior to arriving by calling the Gather Information Hotline at 775/861-6700 and leaving a message or by contacting Lesli Ellis, Elko District public affairs specialist, at 775/753-0386 or Meeting times and locations will be updated every night on the Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather Information Line at 775/861-6700.

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