Bureau of Land Management to begin the FY2022 Pancake Complex Wild Horse Gather


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Bristlecone Field Office

Media Contact:

ELY, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Battle Mountain, Tonopah Field Office and Ely District, Bristlecone Field Office will begin a wild horse gather on or about January 10, 2022, within and outside of the Pancake Complex located about 80 miles northeast of Tonopah or 30 miles west of Ely, Nevada.

The BLM plans to gather up to 2,060 horses and remove up to 2,030 excess wild horses. Up to 30 previously treated mares will be treated with a population suppression vaccine and released back to the range. The BLM will conduct gather operations using the helicopter-assisted method.

The Pancake Complex consists of the Sand Springs West and Pancake Herd Management Areas (HMAs), Jakes Wash Herd Area (HA) and Monte Cristo Wild Horse Territory (WHT) and encompasses 1,228,739 acres of public, Forest Service, and private lands. The combined Appropriate Management Level (AML) is 361-638 wild horses. In March 2021, the BLM conducted a simultaneous double-observer helicopter survey. The estimated population is 3,244 wild horses within and directly outside of the Complex. The current estimated population is nearly 8.5 times above the low end of established AML.

The purpose of the gather is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Removing excess animals would also enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council.

The action is also necessary to reduce overpopulation of wild horses within and outside the Complex, where there currently is not enough water and/or forage, both for short- and long-term management, to support the number of horses in the area, and to prevent further degradation of public lands by helping to balance herd size.

“We conduct gathers like this to ensure that the health of the rangelands and the wild horses are not at risk due to herd overpopulation and severe drought conditions,” said Robbie McAboy, Ely District Manager. “As always, we are committed to conducting safe and humane gather operations as we work to protect animal health by bringing herd size down to AML in order to help restore a thriving natural ecological balance on the range and protect it from further deterioration associated with horse overpopulations.”

The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered. The BLM and its contractors will use the best available science and handling practices for wild horses and burros while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy.

All animals identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center, in Reno, Nev.; Indian Lakes Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corral, in Fallon, Nev.; and Sutherland Off-Range Corral in Sutherland, Utah. Upon arrival to the facilities, all animals will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption and sale program. 

Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Once gather operations have begun, those wanting to view gather operations must call the gather hotline nightly at (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days' meeting location and time.

The following COVID-19 guidelines rules may apply based on the State Governor’s recommendations up to:

  • Facemasks are required for daily safety briefings and in the observation areas.
  • Always stay at least six feet from others. Avoid gathering with others outside of your household.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to use if soap and water are not available.
  • Do not attend the gather if you are sick, recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 or are not feeling well.

The BLM is conducting the gather under the DOI-BLM-NV-L060-2021-0005-EA Pancake Complex Wild Horse Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on May 4, 2021.  Access the Decision Record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2003386/510.

Gather reports and additional information will be posted on the BLM website at https://go.usa.gov/xtrSa. For technical information, contact Ben Noyes, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist at (775) 289-1800 or bnoyes@blm.gov.

For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.