Battle Mountain, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will begin the Diamond Complex Wild Horse Gather on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. The BLM will gather and remove about 603 excess wild horses from the Complex. Additionally, 160 wild horses will be released back into the herd management areas (HMAs), including 52 mares treated with PZP, a fertility control vaccine. Sex ratios will be adjusted to 60/40 to favor stallions in the post-gather population.
The gather is necessary to help prevent further deterioration of the range, as well as achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and 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 gather is also needed to prevent widespread decline of wild horse body condition and potential death due to starvation this winter.
The Diamond Complex is located north of Eureka, Nev., within Eureka, Elko and White Pine counties. Therefore, the gather will be conducted across three different districts: the gather will begin in the Ely District, then will move to the Elko District and finish in the Battle Mountain District. The Complex consists of the Diamond, Diamond Hills North and Diamond Hills South HMAs.
“These three HMAs are managed as a complex because of their geographical location with known movement of wild horses between and within the HMAs,” said BLM Battle Mountain District Manager Doug Furtado. “This gather is the first step in a phased-in management strategy to eventually reach and maintain the appropriate management level (AML) of between 123 and 210 wild horses.”
The phased approach includes 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. The long-term goal is to slow population growth rates which will result in the removal of fewer wild horses in follow-up gathers.
The BLM will utilize the services of gather contractor Cattoor Livestock Roundup, Inc., which uses a helicopter to locate and herd wild horses toward a set of corrals to be gathered. The use of helicopters, which is authorized by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, has proven to be a safe, effective and practical means by which to gather excess wild horses with minimal anxiety or hardship on the animals.
Wild horses removed from the range will be transported to Palomino Valley Center north of Reno, Nev., or the Gunnison Correctional Facility in Gunnison, Utah, to be prepared for the BLM wild horse adoption program.
“Animals removed from the Diamond Complex will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program,” said 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 Horses and Burros Act.”
A special on-site adoption will be held February 9. Time and place have not been determined at this time. The Diamond Complex web site below will include updates for this event. For more information call Shawna Richardson at (775) 635-4181.
A Wild Horse Gather Information Line has been established at (775) 861-6700. A recorded message will provide information on daily gather activities and schedules. The BLM will also post daily gather information on its website at: www.bit.ly/BLMDiamonds.
Public lands within the HMAs will be open to the public during gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions, and the BLM will make every effort to allow for public viewing opportunities. Every day will be an observation day with every Saturday being a Public Outreach and Education day. On Saturdays, a member of the District Leadership Team will accompany members of the public and, when possible and within safety constraints, members of the public will be permitted closer access to wild horses at temporary holding. Visitors are encouraged to sign up prior to arriving by calling the Gather Information Line and leaving a message.
The Diamond Complex Wild Horse Gather and its impacts are described and analyzed in the final Environmental Assessment (EA), which is available online at: www.bit.ly/BLMDiamonds under Documents and Maps.
For more information, contact Dorothy Harvey, Battle Mountain District Public Affairs Specialist, at (775) 635-4040 or firstname.lastname@example.org.