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BLM completes emergency horse gather

The Bureau of Land Management Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office, concluded an emergency horse gather at the end of October in the Stone Cabin Herd Management Area.

The BLM reported that 314 wild horses were gathered and removed from Stone Cabin, which sits in Nye County. The BLM said it took the action due to lack of water and declining health of the wild horses.

“By conducting this gather, the BLM was able to reduce the risk of starvation and dehydration for the wild horses in the area while making progress toward achieving a thriving natural ecological balance on public lands,” said Doug Furtado, Battle Mountain District manager.

The BLM says the purpose of the gather, where the water and bait trap method was used, was to gather drought-impacted and compromised wild horses in the Stone Cabin HMA. The BLM monitored the Stone Cabin HMA during the spring and summer of 2021, which revealed limited availability to water and forage for the horses. The BLM says that due to an exceptional drought, there was little to no forage that grew this year in the Stone Canyon HMA.

“The gather was critical to ensuring the future health of the HMA lands as well as the wild horses in the area, both of which are in jeopardy due to herd overpopulation, limited water and extremely limited forage,” the BLM states.

The BLM says that there has been a decline in body condition scores of wild horses in Stone Canyon HMA due to declining range conditions and overpopulation. The average body condition of the horses in the area sat at 3.0, meaning thin, with many of the horses in the area at 2.0 or very thin. Some of the horses observed in the area had a body condition of 1 or emaciated.

“Several springs are available to sustain minimal water needs, but with no forage, the condition of the horses is expected to continue to decline and lead to widespread suffering and death through the remaining summer months,” the BLM states.

The BLM removed the horses in an effort to support recovery from exceptional drought conditions and return perennial key grasses once normal precipitation patterns return. The federal agency says that livestock grazing permittees have removed livestock due to an absence of forage and the drought conditions with the BLM continuing to monitor the resource conditions.

The wild horses were transported by the BLM to the Sutherland off-range corrals in Sutherland, Utah, where they will be readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption and sale program.

“Wild horses not adopted or sold will be placed in off-range pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their ‘wild’ status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act,” the BLM said.

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

Additional information about this gather can be found on the “2021 Stone Cabin HMA Emergency Wild Horse Gather” posted on the BLM website at https://go.usa.gov/xFvEU

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