ELY, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management is expected to begin a helicopter-conducted wild horse gather on or about January 23 within the overpopulated Triple B Complex in Eastern Nevada. The BLM plans to remove up to 1,000 wild horses, treat approximately 250 mares with fertility control and release those treated back into the complex along with approximately 250 stallions.
The gather operation, which is expected to last approximately a month, is being conducted by the BLM Ely District Office. Approximately 2,766 wild horses will remain in the complex once the gather is completed.
The purpose of the operation is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses, 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 (WFRHBA). The BLM strives to be a good neighbor in the communities we serve, ensuring public safety is not at risk due to the overpopulation of wild horses and providing opportunities for economic growth with space for traditional uses.
“The BLM has a responsibility to manage and protect our nation’s wild horses and the land on which they depend” said Nevada State Director, John Ruhs. “By reducing overpopulation and slowing the growth of the Triple B Complex, we’re protecting the overall health and viability of the herd while also reducing the negative impacts to the habitat that overgrazing can cause.”
The current population estimate for the Triple B Complex is approximately 3,842 wild horses. The cumulative Appropriate Management Level for all the Herd Management Areas within the targeted gather area is 472 – 884 wild horses. AML is the level at which wild horse populations are consistent with the land’s capacity to support them and other mandated uses of those lands, including protecting ecological processes and habitat for wildlife and livestock.
The BLM plans to gather 1,500 wild horses and remove approximately 1,000 excess horses. The BLM will release approximately 250 mares that will have been treated with the fertility control vaccine PZP-22 to slow the population growth rate of the animals remaining on public lands. PZP-22 is a temporary fertility-control vaccine that can prevent pregnancy in wild horses for 1-2 years. In addition, approximately 250 gathered stallions will be selected and returned back to the range.
The Triple B Complex is located in both the BLM Ely and Elko Districts and consists of the Triple B HMA (Ely), Maverick Medicine HMA (Elko), Antelope Valley HMA west of Hwy 93 (Elko), and Cherry Springs Wild Horse Territory (Elko). The gather may also take place in areas outside of those HMAs where wild horses have moved in search of food and water and are creating a public safety hazard by traveling regularly across Jiggs Road.
All the horses identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horses and Burro Adoption Center in Reno, Nevada where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program. For information on how to adopt a wild horse, visit www.blm.gov/whb.
The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse 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 while meeting our overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with current BLM policy, standard operating procedures, and contract requirements.
Members of the public are welcome to view the daily 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. The BLM anticipates that viewing opportunities will begin on January 23, 2018, weather and logistics permitting. Those wanting to view gather operations must notify Public Affairs Specialist, Greg Deimel at (775) 388-7078 prior to the desired viewing date to be added to the attendee list and receive specific instructions on meeting locations and times.
The gather is being conducted under the DOI-BLM-NV-E030-2017-0010-EA Antelope and Triple B Complexes Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on December 21, 2017. The decision record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy can be accessed at the national NEPA register at www.goo.gl/HQJ73h.
Once the gather is underway, gather reports and additional information will be posted on BLM’s website at https://go.usa.gov/xnp7V. For technical information, contact Wild Horse and Burro Specialist, Ben Noyes at (775) 289-1836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The agency’s mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. Diverse activities authorized on these lands generated $75 billion in sales of goods and services throughout the American economy in fiscal year 2016—more than any other agency in the Department of the Interior. These activities supported more than 372,000 jobs.