Tonopah, Nev. – On September 13 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office will begin gathering approximately 182 excess wild horses and burros within and outside the Montezuma Peak and Paymaster Herd Management Areas (HMAs).
The gathers are needed to achieve the appropriate management level (AML) within the HMAs to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance for the remaining wild horse and burro population, wildlife, livestock and vegetation. Located at the northern edge of the Mojave Desert, the HMAs are very arid and do not provide suitable habitat for large numbers of wild horses and burros.
Approximately 45 excess wild horses will be gathered and removed from outside of the Paymaster HMA and inside if needed to reach an AML of 23 wild horses. Approximately 61 wild burros and 78 wild horses would be gathered and removed from within and outside of the Montezuma Peak HMA to achieve an AML of three wild horses and 10 wild burros. The BLM issued Final Multiple Use Decisions between 2001 and 2007 that established the AMLs for the HMAs.
The gather will be conducted in close coordination with the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDOA) Brands Division to provide brand inspectors during wild horse removal efforts across the State. NDOA brand inspectors must verify the 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 excess horses and burros will be transported to the BLM short-term holding facility near Ridgecrest, Calif., where they will be monitored closely, provided good feed, water and veterinarian care as needed. They will be dewormed, vaccinated, and freeze marked, and all 12 month and older studs will be gelded.
Once the animals have fully recovered they will be made available for adoption to qualified applicants through the BLM’s Adopt-A-Wild Horse or Burro Program. The public may visit the BLM’s website at www.blm.gov for more information about adopting a wild horse or burro.
Public Observation Day
A public observation day has tentatively been scheduled for September 14 or 15, to provide the media and public an opportunity to view ongoing gather activities. The date is subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations.
“There will be only one observation day due to the short timeframe of the gather,” said Tom Seley, Tonopah Field Manager. “It also provides the public an opportunity to see the care the BLM and the gather contractor uses to gather and handle the animals.”
BLM representatives will rendezvous with interested members of the public at the Tonopah Field Office, 1553 S. Main St., Tonopah, Nev., at 6:30 a.m., and caravan to the gather site, which will be about a half hour drive from Tonopah. Four-wheel drive or high-clearance vehicles are recommended. The observation day will last approximately four to five hours, with an approximate departure time from the gather site between noon and 1 p.m.
In an effort to provide a safe environment for the animals, BLM staff, contractors and members of the public and media, requests will be accepted on a first come, first served basis and be limited to 10 people. Space should be reserved ahead of time by calling Karen Goldsmith at (775) 482-7836. Daily gather operations could be suspended if bad weather conditions create unsafe flying conditions.