ELKO, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management, Winnemucca 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 managed by the Elko 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 – 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 at http://bit.ly/Owyhee.
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. Unadopted wild horses will be placed in long term pastures where they will be humanely 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 on 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 with 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 (EA), which is available online at: http://bit.ly/Owyhee 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 may be located on private property and certain restrictions may 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 at: http://bit.ly/Owyhee under Observation Opportunities.
Visitors are encouraged to sign up prior to arriving by calling the Gather Information Hotline (775) 861-6700 and leaving a message or calling Lesli Ellis, Elko District Public Affairs Specialist, at (775) 753-0386 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org). Meeting times and locations will be updated every night on the Owyhee Complex Wild Horse Gather Information Line at (775) 861-6700.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2011, recreational and other activities on BLM-managed land contributed more than $130 billion to the U.S. economy and supported more than 600,000 American jobs. The Bureau is also one of a handful of agencies that collects more revenue than it spends. In FY 2012, nearly $5.7 billion will be generated on lands managed by the BLM, which operates on a $1.1 billion budget. The BLM's multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.