BLM plans wild horse gather near Lovelock


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The Bureau of Land Management plans to conduct a wild horse and burro gather on and around the Blue Wing Complex located near Lovelock this week by using the helicopter-assisted method.

The complex has four Herd Management Areas (HMAs) and five Herd Areas (HAs) which encompasses over 2,283,300 acres of public and private lands and has an Appropriate Management Level of 333-555 wild horses and 55-90 burros. Based on a helicopter survey conducted in May 2023, approximately 1,912 wild horses and 476 burros are residing within and directly outside the Blue Wing Complex – nearly three times above the high end of the established management level.

The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 1,373 excess wild horses and 356 excess wild burros.

The BLM said purpose of the gather is to prevent 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 and Burros Act.

Furthermore, the BLM said the action is also necessary to reduce overpopulation of wild horses and burros within and outside the area, where there currently is not enough water to support the number of horses and burros in the region, and to prevent further degradation of public lands by balancing herd size.

“We conduct gathers like this to maintain a thriving ecological balance,” said John Mitchell, Humboldt River field manager. “As always, we are committed to the safety of our staff, public, and wild horses and burros.”

By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the BLM aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and elk. Removing excess wild horses and burros supports significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Sierra Front Northern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council.

The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse and burro gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered. The BLM and its contractors are committed to using 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 Program.

All horses identified for removal and 77 burros will be transported to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Corrals located northeast of Fallon. The remaining burros will be transported to Axtell Off-Range Corrals in Axtell, Utah. Upon arrival to the facility, all animals will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sales 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 RSVP by calling nightly at 775-623-1567 before 5 p.m. to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time.

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

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