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Calico Mountains Complex Wild Horse Gather

The Calico Mountains Complex gather is finished.  The BLM gathered and removed 1,922 excess wild horses from the five herd management areas that comprise the Complex.  By reducing the overpopulation of wild horses in this area, the BLM can avoid the potential or an emergency gather situation later this summer.

Based on aerial reconnaissance by the BLM an estimated 600 wild horses remain in the Complex, which is within the appropriate management level range of 600 to 900 animals established for that area.  In late spring, the BLM will conduct a comprehensive post-gather inventory of all the herd managment areas in the Calico Complex and the surrounding area.

The gathered horses were transported to the Indian Lakes Road Short-Term holding facility in Fallon, Nev., where they are being prepared for the BLM's adoption program or for long-term holding pastures. 

The goal of the BLM gather action was to reach a population level of 600 to 900 wild horses in the Calico Mountain Complex of five herd management areas in the Black Rock Desert.  That population range is what has been determined to be the appropriate number of wild horses that can be supported as healthy viable herds by the amount of forage and water available on these rangelands.

The population of wild horses before the gather was about 3,040 animals, which is 5.5 times the low range AML of 572 horses and about three times the land's full carrying capacity, or high range AML, of 952 horses.

The BLM gather operations are consistent with the provisions of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which mandates that the BLM will remove excess wild horses to achieve a population within the established appropriate management level (AML), to protect rangeland resources from further deterioration associated with the wild horse overpopulation, and to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple use relationship in the area.

Monitoring studies indicate that the overpopulation of wild horses is causing resource impacts within the Complex, such as moderate to heavy use of rangeland vegetation and damage to sensitive riparian areas, which are springs, streams and seeps. The gather also will help ensure that there will be sufficient water and forage for the remaining 600-900 wild horses and burros, wildlife, and permitted livestock.

Final Reports

Indian Lakes Road Facility Updates (during the Calico gather)

Ongoing and current Indian Lakes Road Facility weekly updates

BLM Statement Concerning a Foal That Was Euthanized at Indian Lakes on May 16, 2010

On Sunday, May 16, the BLM authorized the euthanasia of a 3-day-old foal that was born on May 13.  The foal had been weak from birth and declined in condition over the weekend.  The authorization followed the advice of an examining veterinarian who had determined that although the foal was being mothered and nursed by his dam, it was weak, severely dehydrated and unable to rise without assistance.  The condition was attributed to a limited amount of milk available from the mare and a general failure to thrive.  At the time the foal was euthanized it was suffering and had a hopeless prognosis for survival.

On February 13 and March 6, 2010 a Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) veterinarian visited the Indian Lakes Facility to assess the infrastructure and equipment at the facility, horse condition and animal care. 

BLM Euthanasia Methods

Henneke Equine Body Scoring Chart

Photos from the Gather

Click here to view the video in YouTube.

Photo of visitors at the Granite HMA gather site.
Observation of the gather and at the Indian Lakes Road Facility

The BLM offered observation days to watch the Calico Complex gather which ended on Feb. 5.  The BLM also hosted observation days at the Indian Lakes Road Short-Term Holding Facility near Fallon where the excess wild horses gathered from the range were transported. 


Questions and Answers

  • Calico Gather and the Proposed Ruby Pipeline
  • On Saturday, January 2, 2010, during the Calico Mountains Complex wild horse gather on the Black Rock East Herd Management Area, a black stallion was gathered and brought into the temporary holding corrals. The stallion jumped over the corral panel and ran through a barbed wire fence back onto BLM-administered public lands. The horse did not appear to be injured because he galloped away. Anti-gather wild horse advocates named the horse "Freedom". There are more than 25 black stallions at the Fallon facility with similar markings.

Fact Sheet

BLM News Releases

Decision of U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman, In Defense of Animals, et al. v. Salazar, et al. (05-24-10)
Reaction of BLM Director to the Ruling (05-25-10)

Decision of U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman regarding the Calico Gather

Wild Horse & Burro Myths and Facts

Decision Documents

Dear Interested Party Letter  

Environmental Assessment (EA) (without map)

Maps  (due to file size, maps are posted separately) 
EA Map 1 - Calico Mountains Complex Wild Horse Gather Area
EA Map 2 - Calico Complex Herd Management Areas and Allotments
EA Map 3 - Calico Complex Cumulative Assessment Area

Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)

Decision Record

News Releases and Editorials

Letters of Support

More Editorials, News Articles, and Letters of Support