Goal of Gather
The Ely District, Schell Field Office is planning to gather and remove up to 50 excess wild horses from in and around the Silver King Herd Management Area (HMA) that are a safety concern on U.S. Highway 93 and damaging private property, resulting in property owner complaints. Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Silver King HMA is 60-128 wild horses. The current population is 452 wild horses.
Details of the Gather
The BLM uses a Federal gather contractor to gather wild horses from HMAs where the BLM has determined that excess animals exist. The contractor uses a helicopter to locate and herd horses towards a set of corrals where the horses are gathered. The helicopter is assisted by a ground crew and a domesticated horse, to lead the gathered horses into the corrals. If needed, the ground crew may assist the helicopter by roping the horses from horseback.
The gather will cover an extensive area and gather operations will be mobile and fluid. Trapping and holding site locations will be determined just prior to commencement of the gather.
Wild horses removed from the HMA will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center outside Reno, Nev., to be prepared for the BLM’s adoption program. Animals for which there is no adoption demand 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 BLM news releases and statements issued, check our Newsroom.
The area of the Silver King HMA from where the horses will be gathered is about 120 miles south of Ely, in Lincoln County, Nevada.
The approximately 606,000-acre Silver King HMA is typical of the Great Basin region, characterized by north-south trending mountain ranges. Significant features are large flat valley bottoms and steep mountains with elevations ranging from about 4,600 feet on the valley floors to 9,000 feet atop the mountain peaks. The area is remote and rugged. Vegetation in the HMA consists primarily of pinion-juniper on the upper slopes that transition to sagebrush on the lower slopes. White sage, black sage, saltbush and other “salt desert shrub” type communities are common on the valley floors.
The area falls within the Great Basin Desert which encompasses much of Nevada and western Utah, portions of southern Oregon and small parts of California and Idaho. The Great Basin is effectively cut off from the westerly flow of Pacific moisture due to crossing air masses created by the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges that cool and precipitate much of the moisture out. The result is a cold, dry desert. Precipitation in the Silver King HMA ranges from 8 inches or less on the valley bottoms to 14 inches in the higher elevations. Most of this precipitation comes in the form of snow during the winter months. Summers are hot and dry, with high temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Winters are cold, with temperatures dropping below freezing and below zero degrees.
For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wild horses from the Silver King Herd Management Area are leaving the HMA to graze on privately owned property.