BLM Galloping Ahead with Massive, Unprecedented Roundup in Nevada.

Comments Due By August 21, 2017

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is planning a massive roundup of unprecedented proportions in the Antelope and Triple B Complexes in eastern Nevada. The agency plans to remove an astounding 6,737 wild horses -- or 80 percent of the existing population -- beginning in Fall 2017. 

Every one of the horses removed from the range is in danger of being killed by the BLM if Congress grants the agency's request to lift the ban on destroying healthy wild horses and burros or selling them for slaughter. 

The BLM allows just 899 - 1,678 wild horses to live on the approximately 5.3 million acres ecompassed by these two complexes. Even at the high end of the population limit, that translates into one wild horse per 2,324 acres. At the same time, the BLM is allowing up to 17,638 cow/calf pairs or 88,190 sheep to graze in the Antelope and Triple B Complexes each year.

And there’s more to this devastating plan!  The BLM plans to reduce the breeding population in both Complexes to near extinction levels – 227 in Antelope and 272 in Triple B – by gelding 50% of the returned stallions, skewing the sex ratio of these wild horse populations to 60% male/40% female, and treating all the returned mares with fertility control – either PZP or GonaCon, the latter of which research has not determined its effects on wild horse natural behavior.

While AWHC supports the use of PZP fertility control to humanely manage wild horse herds on the range, the proposed use of fertility control in conjunction with massive removals, surgical castration of males, and sex ratio skewing could be a recipe for extinction of these historic and cherished wild horse herds.

Nevada wild horses need you more than ever!  Please join us today. Take a moment to personalize the EA comment letter below.  Insist that the BLM find an alternative that prioritizes wild horses over livestock and humane, cost-effective, and science-based fertility control in the form of PZP to manage herd populations over massive removals and permanent sterilization.

 


Interested individuals should mail written comments to the BLM Elko District Office, 3900 Idaho Street, Elko, NV 89801 Attn: Marc Jackson, Wells Field Manager. Comments may also be provided through email to this address: [email protected]blm.gov.

More Information:

Environmental Assesment

Wild Horses
The BLM allows just 899-1,678 wild horses to graze within these two complexes. That’s a maximum of 1 horse per 2,324 acres!
 
The BLM estimates that over 9,000 wild horses are living within these two complexes. These estimates are based on partially completed census data and an addition of a blanket 20% for estimated population growth. (The National Academy of Sciences has criticized the agency for its population estimates based on unsubstantiated estimates of population growth.)
 
The BLM considers 8,388 wild horses within the Antelope Complex and Triple B Complex to be “excess” and seeks to remove 6,737 of them in a massive roundup beginning in the Fall of 2017.
 
Livestock
The BLM authorizes nine times more forage to livestock than to wild horses within these complexes. This translates to the annual equivalent of 17,638 cow/calf pairs or 88,190 sheep to graze authorized to graze in this area.
 
Based on self-reporting from ranchers with permits to graze livestock on the public lands in this area, the BLM asserts a ten year average for livestock grazing below authorized levels at the equivalent of 6,800 cow/calf pairs or 34,000 sheep.  Reduced grazing is to be expected following multiple years of severe drought.
 
The season of use for livestock in the public lands area is winter and spring, meaning that cattle and sheep are present on the range during the critical season of new growth – the most damaging time for concentrated and intensive grazing.
 
Proposed Action
 
The BLM wants to roundup and remove 6,737 wild horses – or approximately 75 percent of the estimated wild horse population in these two complexes. Over a ten year period, the BLM intends to return periodically to roundup more wild horses to maintain AML and administer or booster population control measures to the other captured horses.
 
But there’s more to this devastating plan!  The BLM plans to:
·       Reducing the population below the low AML. “The principal management goal for the Antelope complex would be to retain a core breeding population of 227 wild horses which is approximately 53% of the low end of AML. The principal management goal for the Triple B complex would be to retain a core breeding population of 272 which is 63% of the low end of AML. (EA, page 12).
 
·       Gelding up to 50 percent of the stallions as part of the initial roundup. At the same time BLM Wyoming is rejecting surgical sterilization of horses because it “yet to be implemented in wild horse populations. Research on the use of these techniques on wild horse behavior is still on going. The effectiveness and impacts of these techniques are well understood in controlled settings, but they have not been extensively researched under field conditions.”
 
·      Skewing the sex ratio of these wild horse populations to 60% male, 40% female at the same time as the BLM Oregon is rejecting sex ratio skewing due to increased male-male aggression and impacts on social structure and herd interactions, while at the same time not impacting population growth rates.
 
·       Using PZP fertility control or GonaCon on all mares released back to the range. The impacts of GonaCon on natural behaviors have not been established through research.