Winnemucca, Nev.— The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will resume gathering excess wild horses from the Jackson Mountains Herd Management Area (HMA) Sunday, July 1, and is expected to last about two weeks. The gather now moves to the northern portion of the HMA with the goal of gathering about 200 additional excess wild horses.
The BLM began an emergency gather in the southern portion of the HMA June 8 and gathered 424 wild horses. That part of the gather concluded June 22 when U.S. District Court Judge Howard McKibben enjoined the agency from gathering excess wild horses from the northern area of the HMA by helicopter before July 1, due to foaling season, which concludes June 30.
“The remainder of this gather will continue with the safe and humane use of the helicopter,” said Gene Seidlitz, BLM Winnemucca District Manager. “We were able to gather 424 excess wild horses in the critical ‘emergency area’ of the HMA. These animals were transported to the Palomino Valley Center where they are being closely monitored as they transition to feed and water.”
“The gathered horses were in moderately poor to poor health, and can now live a full life by finding good homes with adopters, or living in a long-term pasture,” said Seidlitz. “Gathering the remainder of the excess animals in the northern portion will greatly assist the rangelands from a forage and water standpoint and will reduce the competition among the wild horses, permitted livestock and wildlife. This gather is our initial step to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance.”
The BLM recognizes that the remainder of the gather occurs just after foaling season, and as with the previous portion of the gather, the priority is to gather and handle the wild horses in the most humane and safe manner possible as outlined in the “agency expectations,” which were made part of the gather decision. The agency expectations are posted on the BLM Nevada website at www.blm.gov/nv.
Public lands within the HMA will be open to the public during the gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions. The public is welcome to attend the gather, and is especially encouraged to attend on Saturdays, when the media and public will have enhanced opportunities to view gather activities. A gather hotline at (775) 623-1541 has been established to provide information about the next day’s meeting time, to RSVP for attendance and to hear any changes in the schedule. On Saturdays, visitors will have more opportunity to interact with BLM staff and could include escorted opportunities to observe the animals at the gather and holding corrals.
The gather will be conducted in close coordination with the Nevada Department of Agriculture’s (NDOA) Brands Division. The NDOA brand inspectors will verify that all gathered 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 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 gathered animals will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center near Reno, Nev., where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Unadopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanly 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.
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.