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BLM to reduce wild horse numbers in Diamond Complex

The Bureau of Land Management, Battle Mountain District Office, Mount Lewis Field Office planned a wild horse gather within the Diamond Complex located just north of Eureka on the Diamond Mountain Range in the first part of September.

The gather is expected to last 20-25 days from on or about Sept. 10.

The Diamond Complex encompasses more than 258,000 acres of public and private lands.

The gather operation includes three herd management areas: the Diamond HMA in the Battle Mountain District, the Diamond Hills North HMA in the Elko District and the Diamond Hills South HMA in the Ely District.

The combined appropriate management level for the Diamond Complex is 123-210 wild horses. As of March 1, the estimated population was 1,495 wild horses, which does not include foals born this year. The current population estimate, including the 2020 foals, puts the HMA at approximately 712 percent of the established high end of AML.

The BLM plans to gather approximately 1,225 wild horses, remove 1,165, treat up to 30 mares with the fertility control vaccine PZP-22 and release them back to the complex with an equal number of studs. The BLM will conduct gather operations using the helicopter-assisted method. Once gather operations are complete, approximately 300 wild horses will remain in the HMA.

The purposes of the gather are 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. In addition, the action is also necessary to protect the range from impacts associated with herd overpopulation, especially considering severe drought conditions throughout Central Nevada.

By balancing the herd size with what the land can support, the BLM aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope and mule deer. Removing excess animals would also enable significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Sierra Front-Northwestern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council also alleviating private land issues.

“The gather is critical to ensuring the health of rangelands within the complex as well as the wild horses in the area, both of which are at risk due to herd overpopulation and severe drought conditions,” Battle Mountain District Manager Doug Furtado said. “We are committed to conducting safe and humane gather operations as we work to protect animal health by reducing overpopulation and bringing herd size more in line with what the resources of the area can support.”

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 will use 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 Policy.

All horses identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals in Reno. 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 sale 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 call the gather hot line nightly at 775-861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each day’s meeting location and time.

Face masks are required for daily safety briefings and in the observation areas, and observers will be required to stay at least six feet from others and avoid gathering with others outside of their households. Those who are not feeling well or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 within 14 days are asked not to attend the gather.

Gather reports and additional information will be posted at https://go.usa.gov/xG2yx

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