BLM Puts Out Results of Horse Gather Study

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Elko District, Wells Field Office; and BLM Ely District, Schell Field Office are making the Final Environmental Assessment (EA) for the Antelope Complex Wild Horse Gather available to the public for review. The Final EA incorporates an additional alternative brought forward during the public comment period that concluded Oct. 19. The BLM expects to issue a Decision Record in mid-December.

The BLM is scheduled in late January 2011 to gather and remove approximately 1,917 to 2,278 excess wild horses from in and around the Antelope Complex. The complex is located approximately 60 miles south of Wells, Nevada and consists of the Antelope Herd Management Area (HMA) which is managed by the Ely District, Schell Field Office and the Antelope Valley, Goshute, and Spruce-Pequop HMAs which are managed by the Elko District, Wells Field Office.

There are currently an estimated 2,705 wild horses within the complex where the appropriate management level (AML) is 427-788 wild horses. If more than 2,278 wild horses are gathered, selective removal criteria would be used to return horses to the range. Of the horses remaining on the range, BLM would conduct fertility control measures on mares and/or adjust the sex ratios of the gathered animals to be returned to the HMA to 60 percent male/40 percent female ratios.

Removing the excess wild horses will help to prevent further deterioration of the range, and achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship as required under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, and Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, as well as help to achieve and maintain healthy, viable wild horse populations.

The gathered animals will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center near Reno, Nevada, where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Un-adopted horses will be placed in long-term 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 does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.

The Antelope Complex gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Final EA, which is available online at www.blm.gov/nv. Click on the Elko District map and then click on the EA listed “In the Spotlight.” The BLM will also provide updates and information at the same Web address on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather.

For more information, contact Lesli Coakley, BLM Elko District public affairs specialist, at (775) 753-0386 or by email at lesli_coakley@blm.gov.