BLM to Gather Wild Horses from the Diamond Complex

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Battle Mountain District, Mount Lewis Field Office; Ely District, Egan Field Office; and Elko District, Tuscarora Field Office have issued the decision record for the final environmental assessment (EA) for the Diamond Complex Wild Horse Gather. The BLM will implement a phased-in management approach to reach the appropriate management level (AML) of 123-210. The initial gather is tentatively scheduled to begin after January 10, 2013 and will last approximately three weeks. The Diamond Complex includes the Diamond, Diamond Hills North, and Diamond Hills South herd management areas (HMAs), and is managed as a complex due to movement of the wild horses between the HMAs. The proposed gather area is north of Eureka, Nev., in Eureka, White Pine, and Elko Counties.

The proposed gather is needed to remove excess wild horses to help prevent further deterioration of the range, achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and achieve and maintain healthy, viable wild horse populations. Due to severe drought conditions in 2012, forage and water is very limited for the existing overpopulation of wild horses. The planned gather is also needed to prevent widespread decline of wild horse body condition and death due to starvation during this coming winter.

The phased approach will include conducting three to four gathers over a 10 year period to reach AML and the increased use of fertility control and adjustment of sex ratios to slow population growth rates and require the removal of fewer wild horses in follow-up gathers. The initial operation will remove approximately 603 excess wild horses out of an estimated 813 horses currently residing in the complex. All mares selected for release back to the HMAs will be treated with porcine zona pellucid, also known as PZP, a fertility control vaccine, and sex ratios will be adjusted to 60/40 to favor stallions in the post-gather population.

The BLM will use helicopters to gather the wild horses and will transport the animals by motorized vehicles.

"Animals removed from the Diamond Complex will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program," says district manager Doug Furtado. "Those that are not adopted will be cared for in long-term pastures, where they retain their 'wild' status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act."

The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.

A special on-site adoption will be held at the end of the gather. The date of the on-site adoption will be determined closer to the start date of the gather. Information for this adoption will be posted online.

The gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Diamond Complex Gather Plan Final EA. The EA, Decision Record, associated documents, maps and other information about the Diamond Complex HMAs are posted on the BLM Battle Mountain website at

The BLM will also provide updates and information at the same website address on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather. Public viewing opportunities will also be identified as the start of the gather nears. For more information, please call Shawna Richardson, wild horse and burro specialist at the Mount Lewis Field Office, at 775/635-4181.

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