Wild Horse Education

The “Emergency” Game; BLM goes after Pankcake with 3 days notice


Wild horses in the target zone of BLM “emergency” removal at Pancake

Update July 9: Observation of temporary holding of bait trapped wild horses at the Pancake HMA is being facilitated. We thank BLM for working with us to figure out how to solve this oversight and create an environment conducive to addressing issues moving forward. Hopefully we can also work on generating some interest in adopting some of the beautiful wild ones from Pancake. 

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is moving forward, with only 3 days public notice, to begin a removal operation of 250 wild horses in Pancake HMA.

BLM’s press release (below) claims there is no livestock. The valley has suffered severe degradation from historic livestock use and currently there is no livestock in that exact valley.  There is livestock in nearby valleys. Historic degradation in this specific valley of the targeted area is still painfully present. In addition to issues involving a lack of water, water quality in that area is suspect. There are also some issues with fencelines and gates in the HMA.

With only three days, three days, notice the Ely district will begin removing 250 wild horses. The Pancake HMA population numbers used in the BLM release would have you believe that the targeted area has over 2000 wild horses. In reality the populations in Pancake are distinct. The area of the targeted operation is currently visited by about 250 wild horses. Many of the animals currently in the area are transient. Yes, any horse owner knows that after two or three days on limited water a horse gets a “sucked up” appearance. That lack can be mitigated as an EA is prepared and the current, regular, schedule altered. 

We are not saying that there is not a water issue in the targeted area of Pancake, there is. The issue in the area is a “known,” it was never an “unknown.” We have been monitoring the area all year and have had our own concerns. But to create an “emergency” operation without an Environmental Assessment in an area where the issues are well known, in no way “sudden,” and have mitigation alternatives until an EA is prepared? This is not acceptable.

This is the second “emergency” operation in Nevada this year. This is the same same district that prioritized the western edge of Triple B back in February when there was funding (when that population was stable and faced no impending danger of resource issues AND  mountain lions were also killed). These “emergency” areas should have taken precedence at that time.

If this area was of concern for a pending “emergency” why was it not placed on the regular schedule and instead simply announced on a Friday for an operation to begin on Monday? Slip areas of real concern onto an emergency platform while the regular schedule appears to prioritize a political agenda? Is that the directive?   (for a fast look at BLM schedule through October 15 click here:  https://wildhorseeducation.org/2018/06/26/roundup-schedule-fast-look/)

This is not management. 

Furthermore, BLM is not allowing any public observation opportunities. That is not acceptable when we have a personal connection to these horses.

The wild horses will be taken to Broken Arrow on Indian Lakes Rd in Fallon NV. The facility is off limits to the public.

This is not transparency. 

We have sent a letter to the BLM asking why there is no EA and requesting observation. We will update you as soon as we know more.

UPDATE 4:48 PM 7/6/2018. We are in communication with BLM and discussing options to create a transparent atmosphere. We will let you know of any observation dates that are open to view the trap location and horses in temporary corrals. This is NOT a helicopter roundup. This is a bait trap operation and they, generally, move slowly. 

We have gotten no answer about why the “notify on Friday, start on Monday” decision. No answer yet on why they are not mitigating while an EA that outlines a management strategy is (not being) created.

We are still in discussion.

2018_mcpc_421 - 1 (5) copy

Water near the “target zone”


Ely, Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management, Ely District, Bristlecone Field Office will begin a wild horse gather on or about July 9 in Big Sand Spring Valley as there is not enough water to support the number of horses in the area. The gather will be conducted by BLM employees (not contractors) using the bait and water trap method; no helicopters will be used. Corrals will be placed within the Pancake Herd Management Area (HMA) about 30 miles west of Ely and 80 miles northeast of Tonopah, Nev. The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 250 excess wild horses.

The Pancake HMA encompasses 855,000 acres. Wild horses overpopulate nearly 120,000 acres of this area, which has an Appropriate Management Level of 240-493 wild horses. With a current population of approximately 2,160 wild horses, valuable resources have been depleted, affecting the health of those animals. The central portion of Big Sand Spring Valley is extremely dry with few perennial waters and the area has been closed to cattle grazing since 2000.

The BLM’s goal is to help as many horses as possible while protecting the habitat for other wildlife, including water sources and vegetation. Without emergency action, the condition of the wild horses in the Big Sand Spring Valley is expected to deteriorate, potentially resulting in the death of some of the horses within a few weeks. In addition, the overpopulation of wild horses on the limited water supply is reducing the spring’s flow due to trampling and depriving other wildlife of water. Limited water is available in the foothills. Heavy to severe wild horse use in the valley bottoms and at spring sources and heavy trailing is affecting vegetative resources, degrading habitat necessary for wildlife, including that of the Greater Sage-grouse.

Only those personnel deemed essential to the gather will be permitted to participate. The bait and water trap method requires horses to adjust to the hay and corrals in a quick and safe manner, and wild horses are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity.

All gathered wild horses will be taken a short distance to a temporary holding facility, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and given free access to water and hay. The horses will then be transported to the BLM’s Indian Lakes off-range corrals located in Fallon, NV and be readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption and sale program, or moved to off-range holding pastures. For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit http://www.blm.gov/whb.

For more information, contact Public Affairs Specialist Chris Hanefeld at 775-289-1842 or chanefel@blm.gov. ###



This is “big picture” time.

The BLM report to Congress is a 25 page document that is shorter than the Final EA on Caliente. The report to Congress is a demonstration of extreme disrespect to both Congress and the American public. The document is simply a bad joke perpetuated that “BLM and DOI” actually know anything about wild horses except the political faction they aim to grovel to.  (if you missed that report read here:  https://wildhorseeducation.org/2018/04/27/blm-report-to-congress/)

Call your Congressional representative and urge them to:

Ask your representative to do all they can to support an investigation into the BLM wild horse and burro program. Ask your representative to support an investigation into corruption and extremism on public lands. 

Deny release of funding for Appropriations in fiscal year 2019 that begins October 15 for the BLM Wild Horse and Burro program (beyond feeding and caring for captive wild horses) until Zinke and his staff create a real report on the BLM wild horse and burro program. The 25 pages provided to Congress by the BLM is not a report, it’s a “wish list” provided by one faction. 

Deny all funding for any removal except in emergencies. Deny all funding for experimental procedures that waste tax payer funding like spaying. Deny all funding until they do their job and create a real report. 

Ask your representative to demand a full report from Zinke.  25 pages is simply an insult to both you and your Congressman.

Find you rep here: https://govtrack.us

Categories: Wild Horse Education