Wild Horse Education

Breaking Update: BLM Has Set Water Trapping (ACTION RESOLVED, Thank you!)

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For the 3rd day our observer has documented wild horses waiting to get water near the temporary holding corral as human activity and equipment stop them from access to water without undue stress. BLM set trap panels at that water source and began a bait trap operation, at the same time as the helicopter capture.

RESOLVED: BLM has moved some of the trap panels allowing free access to water while the helicopter roundup is taking place.

An excerpt from an email from BLM Wild Horse and Burro Lead in Utah: “BLM has opened up the bait trapping acclimation panels (as a gesture of cooperation) to allow animals more access to water freely if they wish while the helicopter gather is occurring.” 

Thank you! Thank you to all of you that care about the welfare of our wild horses.

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Photo taken by BLM 7/18. Some of the panels have been opened so wild horses have free access to water.

Action item closed

The BLM stated that phase one of the removal targeting 800 wild horses at Swasey would be done in two phases: the helicopter portion in July, the bait trap beginning on August 15. This is not an emergency operation, it has been placed on the schedule through the regular process BLM takes.

Our onsite observer at the Swasey operation went to temporary holding today. The temporary corrals had been placed unusually close to a water source used by wild horses and wildlife. The placement of the corral was causing a back up as animals waited for water.

Report from our observer: BLM has erected trap panels around that water source. It is actually attached to the pens  the contractors have their own horses in. The amount of human activity in this area is intense. At the same time as the trailers are offloading wild horses trapped by the helicopter, bait trapping (even if it is just the beginning and the “acclimation” phase) has begun at exactly the same location where wild horses depend on water. Temperatures are reaching a day time high near 100 degrees.

That water source is important to the horses that travel distance to get there. If there is an easy alternative, the wild ones would not push that safety boundary. BLM should not be fencing off any water, particularly one the wild ones use so near the temporary corral being used for the ones trapped by the chopper.

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Our observer was the only person to travel to the holding corral today. She felt you would want to know right away.

Wild horses, and other wildlife, are being held back from coming in to get water by the human presence, the sorting at the corral, the loud generator running air conditioning in the camper trailer of the contractor.

BLM stated, “Eventually they will get so thirsty they will come in for water.”

(Unfortunately we have to state this fact, multiple times, that this is not an emergency roundup. Often this is an excuse by “shred crews” on social media that make light of any abuse to wild horses and claim “it is for their own good.” No, these actions do not benefit anyone or anything. This is “not well thought out” if you “care” in any fashion about the welfare of wild horses.)

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Does that sound like a humane capture during foaling season? We have documented wild horses, and wildlife, having considerable stress waiting in this heat at that location since the operation began. Now they need to wait until they are so thirsty they are willing to sacrifice safety for water?

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Even when they do get “so thirsty they will risk safety” they have trap panels to deal with, not open access. They move back out again without drinking.

Our observer did not see wild horses drink for the entire time she was there. Nursing mares with small foals, did not drink and followed their band away from human activity. If you know wild horses, you know that the time a band arrives is “their time.” They move in and get water and move out, as other stallions, and the instinct to watch for predators, drives them to keep moving.

These are not domestics being held off a water trough for an hour or two in the summer heat, these are wild horses that travel distance to water and are being held off by human activity. Imagine a domestic held off for just one day? what would your vet bill be for impaction colic?

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Fast pan so you can see the activity that begins at dawn and goes all day. The water and panels are at the left side of activity in video below.

This is not a 3-sided enclosure. This is not “acclimation” prior to trapping. This is cruel.

At bait trapping, even during acclimation phase, BLM states that observers in a blind would be too stressful as they argue against public observation at bait trapping. BLM is contradicting their own messaging.

This is a “fast pan” to show you context. Why is temporary holding, taking in horses captured by helicopter,  obstructed from view? will we write about that in another article.



Thank you! 

Public outcry is the first line of  defense our wild horses. Our team could use your support.

We wanted to notify our readers, that track the roundup schedule, as fast as possible.

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This mare and her nursing foal are two of the wild horses that hung back, moved in fast for water and then left without a drink.


You can see an update on this water situation and the update of day 4 of the roundup HERE.

This roundup machine is heading into high gear.

Learn and take action: https://wildhorseeducation.org/2020/07/17/roundup-update-with-a-technical-talk-and-action-item/

Our roundup report page for Sawsey will update as soon as files transfer. We will bring you a complete update soon.  You can see it here. 

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They came in for water. The amount of human activity? They left without water.


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Categories: Wild Horse Education