The 2021 Antelope Complex Emergency Wild Horse Gather concluded Monday, Aug. 30, 2021
The Bureau of Land Management’s Elko District, Wells Field Office and Ely District, Bristlecone Field Office plans to begin the Antelope Complex Emergency Wild Horse Gather on or about August 1, 2021.
Purpose of Gather
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 to support the number of horses in the area, and to prevent further degradation of public lands by helping to balance herd size.
Details of Gather
The BLM will utilize the services of a helicopter contractor to gather and remove up to 2,200 excess wild horses. During the gather, the BLM will collect information on herd characteristics and determine herd health.
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 anticipates that viewing opportunities will begin on or about August 2, 2021, weather and logistics permitting. Please review the "Know Before You Go" and "Visitation Protocol and Ground Rules" documents, located on the right-hand side of this page, before planning to attend.
All media and/or visitors wanting to attend gather operations as an observer must call the “2021 Antelope Complex Emergency Wild Horse Gather information hotline” at 775-861-6700 for daily meeting times and locations. The hotline will be updated nightly, by 8:00pm PST with information about the following day's activities. A Public Affairs Officer and/or a Law Enforcement Officer will meet the public each morning at the pre-determined meeting location, to escort the group to and from the gather observation and/or holding sites. Observers must provide their own transportation. The BLM recommends a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle.
Depending on the governor, and state and federal CDC recommendations, the number of media and public in the gather observation site may be limited in order to allow for social distancing. The CDC has offered guidance to help people visiting public lands prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19 and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health. During the gather, the observants should follow local area health orders including Governor Sisolak’s standards for individuals, businesses and employers, practice Leave No Trace principles, practice social distancing and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.
Horses identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center, in Sparks, Nev., or Axtell contract off-range corrals in Axtell, Utah, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program. Those that are not placed into a new home will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they live off the rest of their lives on grass pastures. For information on how to adopt a wild horse, visit www.blm.gov/whb.
The Antelope Complex, about 50 miles southeast of Elko or 50 miles north of Ely, Nev., is in the Elko and Ely Districts on public lands administered by the Wells and Bristlecone field offices. The Complex consists of four Herd Management Areas (HMAs). The Antelope Valley, Goshute, and Spruce-Pequop HMAs are managed within the Elko District Office, Wells Field Office. The Antelope HMA is managed within the Ely District Office, by the Bristlecone Field Office. The gather may also take place in areas outside the Complex where wild horses have moved in search of food and water and are creating a public safety hazard by traveling across roads and highways.
The current population estimate for the Antelope Complex is 6,032 wild horses, excluding the 2021 foal crop. Appropriate Management Level is 435-789 wild horses. AML is the level at which wild horse populations are consistent with the land’s capacity to support them and other mandated uses of those lands, including protecting ecological processes and habitat for other resources.
Access the decision record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy at https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/84367/510. For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email email@example.com
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