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Ely District Office
Release Date: 09/23/10
Contacts: Chris Hanefeld , 775-289-1842 ,
News Release No. 2010-59

BLM to Begin Silver King Herd Management Area Gather Schedules Public Observation Days

Ely, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ely District, Caliente and Schell field offices will initiate the Silver King Herd Management Area (HMA) Wild Horse Gather on Saturday, September 25, 2010, to gather and remove approximately 546 excess wild horses from in and around the Silver King HMA in Lincoln County, about 90 miles south of Ely, Nev. 

Any horses gathered above targeted removal numbers will be released back to the HMA so that the remaining population is within the appropriate management level (AML) range of 60-128. Any gathered mares released back to the range will be vaccinated with PZP-22 (Porcine Zona Pellucida) fertility control vaccine. Additionally, sex ratios of gathered animals to be returned to the HMAs may be adjusted to achieve an approximately 60 percent male/40 percent female ratio.

The gather, removal and fertility control are intended to slow wild horse population growth, maintain population size within the appropriate management levels necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance on the public lands and to extend the time before another gather to remove excess wild horses would be needed. 

There will be no closure of the public lands and therefore, the public lands within the Silver King HMA will be open to the public during the gather operations, subject to necessary safety restrictions. The BLM has established protocols for both non-scheduled public observations days and for scheduled public observation days to ensure overall safety of the public, the BLM and gather contract staff and the animals.  The protocol is available at

Non-Scheduled Observation Days

BLM recognizes and respects the right of interested members of the public and the press to observe the Silver King Gather, who can observe gather activities on any given day. At the same time, the BLM must ensure the health and safety of the public, the BLM's employees and contractors, and America's wild horses. 

Because wild horses movements may be unpredictable during gather operations and because the stress to wild horses would increase if they saw members of the public in their path or line vision during the gather operations and at the holding site, the BLM will establish one or more observation points, in the immediate area of the gather and holding sites, to which individuals will be directed. 

These areas will be placed to allow the opportunity for public observation while providing for a safe and effective horse gather, and to minimize stress to the wild horses.   The BLM will delineate observation areas with yellow caution tape (or a similar type of tape or ribbon).

Individuals will be directed to the designated observation area by BLM personnel and informed of behavioral rules (such as remaining quiet and still to ensure a safe and effective gather operation). Individuals attempting to move outside a designated observation area will be requested to move back to the designated area, or, in the event that individuals fail to comply with the necessary safety precautions, they will be required to leave the site.

A failure to comply with the safety rules and precautions put in place during the gather may result in citation or arrest as the failure to remain within the designated observation areas poses a threat to the safety of BLM personnel and contractors, members of the public and to the wild horses. If there are changes in circumstances that may pose additional risks to health, public safety or the safety of wild horses (such as weather, lightening, wildfire, etc.), BLM will provide further safety instructions at the gather and/or holding sites.

Scheduled Public Observation Days

The BLM has tentatively scheduled observation days on Tuesday, Sept. 28 and Tuesday, Oct. 5, to provide the media and public opportunities to view gather activities. The dates are subject to change depending upon weather and gather operations. Scheduled days provide visitors more opportunity to interact with BLM staff and will include escorted opportunities to observe the animals at the gather and holding corrals. For more information or to sign up, call Chelsey Falge, BLM Ely District administrative clerk, at (775) 289-1800. The BLM will also regularly post gather information on its website at:

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 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 gathered animals will be transported to the Gunnison Prison Wild Horse Facility at Gunnison Utah and the Indian Lakes Facility near Fallon, Nevada, where they will be prepared and offered for adoption to qualified individuals through the BLM Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program. Wild horses 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 more information, contact Chris Hanefeld, BLM Ely District public affairs specialist, at (775) 289-1842 or

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. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

Ely District Office   702 North Industrial Way      Ely, NV 89301  

Last updated: 09-24-2010