The 2020 Montezuma Peak Wild Horse and Burro Gather has concluded.
Purpose of Gather:
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office will begin an emergency wild horse and burro gather on or about July 29, 2020 on the Montezuma Peak Herd Management Area (HMA) located about 26 miles south of Tonopah, west of Goldfield in Esmeralda County, Nevada.
The action is needed due to lack of water and declining health of the wild horses and burros - the Montezuma Peak HMA has a history of water issues during dry spring and summer months.
Details of Gather:
The BLM will conduct gather operations by using temporary water and bait traps consisting of a series of corral panels stocked with water and hay; no helicopters will be used. The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 50 excess wild horses and 25 wild burros, once gather operations are completed, approximately 80 wild horses and 82 wild burros will remain in the HMA. The gather is expected to last approximately 30 days.
As of March 1, 2020, the population of wild horses and burros in the Montezuma Peak HMA was estimated at 130 horses and 207 burros; including the 2020 foal crop, the current estimated population is 130 horses and 207 burros – this is approximately 3250% above the appropriate management level (AML) of 4 wild horses and 2070% above the AML of 10 wild burros.
The purpose of the gather is to prevent further deteriorating body condition of the wild horses and burros in the area due to extremely limited water sources, undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and burros, and 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/burros and Burros Act.
The Montezuma Peak HMA is managed within the Battle Mountain District Office, by the Tonopah Field Office. The HMA is located about 26 miles south of Tonopah and west of Goldfield in Esmerelda County, Nevada. This Montezuma Peak HMA is in the transition zone between the Great Basin (cold desert) and the Mojave Desert (hot desert).
The Montezuma Peak Herd Management Area (HMA) encompasses an area 9 miles wide and 21 miles long. The climate is relatively dry, receiving only 3 inches of precipitation in the valley bottoms and 12 inches on the mountain tops. Elevations range from 8,096 in the mountains to 5,600 feet in the valley floors.
This HMA is in the transition zone between the Great Basin (cold desert) and the Mojave Desert (hot desert). At higher elevations, reaching 8,096 feet in the Montezuma Mountains, vegetation communities consist of pinyon-juniper woodlands, mountain-mahogany, and low sage. The lower elevations of 5,600 feet in the valley, consist of fourwing saltbush, Greene rabbitbrush, greasewood, sagebrush, and spiny menodora. A few Joshua trees are scattered throughout the area.
The area consists of 76,437 acres of BLM land and 1,439 acres of a mix of private and other public lands for a total of 77,876 acres.
Waters are relatively limited in the Montezuma Peak HMA, consisting primarily of developed and undeveloped springs within the HMA as well as Alkali Hot Spring outside of the HMA. During periods of drought or years with low winter precipitation, some of the springs have been known to go dry.
Because of the nature of the bait and water trap method, wild horses and burros are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity; therefore, only essential gather operation personnel will be allowed at the trap site during operations.
Continuing our service to the public wile doing our part to address COVID-19 is very important. The BLM and its contractors will follow guidance from the CDC and all resommendations an mandates from state and local public health authorities throughout the gather.
The wild horses and burros removed will be transported to the Ridgecrest Regional Corrals, located in Ridgecrest, Calif., where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program. Animals not adopted will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they retain their "wild" status and protection under 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
For more information on the Wild Horse and Burro Program, call 1-866-468-7826 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.