More than 2,000 wild horses are expected to be rounded up outside of Tonopah beginning this week as Bureau of Land Management officials cull herds in an effort to preserve public ranges.
Severe drought has contributed to problems with food and water supplies for the horses, and BLM officials say the land can’t support them.
BLM officials on Monday began herding wild horses at the Pancake Complex, about 80 miles northeast of Tonopah. They’re working to collect information on their characteristics and determine herd health.
About 3,244 wild horses roam the complex, according to BLM officials, who say the land can only support between 361 to 638 of the animals.
The BLM is expected to transport a number of excess horses in the coming days and weeks to facilities across Nevada and Utah, where they’ll receive treatment from a veterinarian and be readied for the agency’s wild horse and burro adoption program.
Those not placed into a new home will be cared for in off-range, grassy pastures, BLM officials said.
“As always, we are committed to conducting safe and humane gather operations as we work to protect animal health by bringing herd size down to [appropriate management level] in order to help restore a thriving natural ecological balance on the range and protect it from further deterioration associated with horse overpopulations,” said Robbie McAboy, manager of BLM’s Ely District.
Eleven wild horses died during the last roundup near Tonopah that ended Jan. 3, according to reports from 8NEWS.
All but one of those horses suffered from “chronic” conditions, the news station reported, while another died suddenly from “acute” causes.
The Bureau of Land Management told the Las Vegas-based new agency that it had gathered 638 wild horses during that roundup and sent 432 wild horses and 100 burros to facilities to prepare them for adoption.
The roundup began in mid-December on the Nevada Test and Training Range, on land controlled by Nellis Air Force Base about 30 miles east of Tonopah.