2017 ADOBE TOWN, SALT WELLS CREEK AND GREAT DIVIDE BASIN WILD HORSE GATHER
Gather completed October 17, 2017
Purpose of Gather:
The BLM Rock Springs and Rawlins field offices have issued a decision to remove excess animals to the lower limit of the AML range from the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Herd Management Areas.
The gather is in response to the results of the 2017 census that demonstrated wild horses are exceeding the AML limits are set forth in Resource Management Plans.
Additionally, the BLM has received a written request to remove wild horses from private lands within these HMAs. Through a series of legal proceedings, the BLM RSFO entered into a Consent Decree in April of 2013 [Rock Springs Grazing Association v. Salazar, Civil Action No. 11-CV-263-NDF (D.Wyo.)]. This Consent Decree requires the periodic removal of wild horses from the HMAs based on the results of census flights. The results of the 2017 census flights demonstrate a need to remove wild horses from these HMAs as per the 2013 Consent Decree.
Details of Gather:
The BLM uses a federal gather contractor to gather wild horses from HMAs where the BLM has determined that excess animals exist. The contractor uses a helicopter to locate and herd horses towards a set of corrals. The helicopter is assisted by a ground crew and a domesticated horse, to lead the gathered horses into the corrals. If needed, the ground crew may assist the helicopter by roping the horses from horseback.
The BLM takes very seriously the humane treatment of wild horses and burros, especially during gathers. Helicopter has shown to be the most humane method to gather wild horses.
The gather will begin on September 23, 2017 and take approximately four to six weeks.
Of the 1,560 wild horses to be gathered, approximately 725 would be removed from the Salt Wells Creek HMA, 513 from the Adobe Town HMA and the 322 from the Great Divide Basin HMA.
Only adult horses count toward the 1,560 AML removal number.
Additionally, the BLM will reinitiate a wild horse collaring operation within the Adobe Town Herd Management Area as part of collaboration with the University of Wyoming to study wild horses.
The collaring operation is part of a study to explore the movement and habitat selection of wild horses in ATHMA. The research will involve using GPS collars on up to 30 mares to learn more about seasonal use, migration patterns, and herd movements in the area. No horses will be removed from the range as part of this effort. Collaring will occur in conjunction with the already scheduled Appropriate Management Level horse gather for the Adobe Town HMA and will use helicopters to gather the horses. During this gather, the BLM will replace the five collars that were dropped due to malfunctions and collar an additional 16 mares bringing the total number of collared horses to 30 mares.
The University of Wyoming requested this action to study how the wild horses in ATHMA interact with their surrounding environment. It will also provide BLM with new information so there are healthy wild horses living on healthy rangelands.
More information is available in this press release.
Members of the public are welcome to view the daily 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. Public viewing opportunities are anticipated to begin on Sept. 23. Those interested in participating should notify Tony Brown at (307) 352-0215. Participants will meet daily at the BLM Rock Springs Field Office at 280 Highway 191 North.
Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions and a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. Public restrooms will not be available onsite.
Follow the Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin Gather on @BLMWyoming and @BLMWHB Twitter with hashtag #WYGATHER.
Gathered horses will be sent to Rock Springs Wild Horse Holding Facility in Rock Springs, Wyo., and to the contract facility in Axtell, Utah, where they will be freeze branded, vaccinated, dewormed, and receive a negative Cogins. Some of these horses will be shipped to a contracted facility in Bruneau, Idaho. While the Idaho and Utah corrals are not open to the public, the horses will be offered for adoption or purchase through upcoming internet events and other events throughout the country. The corrals that are receiving the horses from the gathers will not be taking requests from the public to hold specific horses.
After the gather is completed, they will enter the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program in an attempt to find them good homes. If you are interested in taking home a wild horse from this gather, please get pre-approved and be ready for the first events in the New Year!
Animals not adopted will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act. The BLM is committed to managing and protecting these living symbols of the historic and pioneering spirit of the West and will continue to care for and seek good homes for animals that have been removed from the range.
The Adobe Town, Salt Wells Creek and Great Divide Basin HMAs encompass 2,427,220 acres of public, State, and private lands in Sweetwater, Carbon and Fremont counties in southwest Wyoming. The AML for the Adobe Town HMA is 610-800 wild horses. The AML for the Salt Wells Creek HMA is 251-365 wild horses. The AML for the Great Divide Basin HMA is 415-600 wild horses. The estimated population before the 2017 foaling season was approximately 1,123 wild horses in the Adobe Town HMA, approximately 976 wild horses in the Salt Wells HMA and approximately 737 wild horses in the Great Divide Basin HMA. In combination the three HMAs are exceeding the low AMLs by 1,560 wild horses.