Wild Horse Education

Owyhee Complex, Rock Creek Update (BLM, clear as mud)

Video above: Black Colt gets pushed up in crowded alley, catches leg in panel and then gets flipped back into gate.

Yesterday BLM captured about 40 wild horses. BLM has not provided an official numbers captured, shipped or dead as of this publish. We will update this page with statistics as soon as we get them.

Edit, 1:20 pm: 49 (22 Stallions, 19 Mares, and 8 Foals) were captured yesterday and 4 died. BLM has provided no details on the deaths at this time.

We receive an email from Wyoming and Oregon each night giving us capture statistics and meeting location for the next day. Nevada public affairs is notorious for not updating the website and communicating with the public, even the public on-site.

Video above: As BLM squeezed this trap location they brought in single and smaller groups. We can not see any part of the helicopter chase where a wild horse could be separated or the combo “helicopter/roping crew” chase that is used to rope adults (as our viewing location is behind a rock outcropping we are not permitted to move from). The dirt and sweat patter on this exhausted wild horse looks like it probably fell.

We expect the death statistics to include this roan. It is really hard figuring out “who” BLM has euthanized when they prohibit you from going to holding and provide you with contradictory and scant information. You can learn more about how “signs of aging” are now a death sentence in the new BLM Guidance for Euthanasia HERE. 

So far 19 have died. We expect the total to increase as soon as BLM updates the official daily statistics or provides any info to on-site observer.

EDITED: BLM just updated at 1:10 pacific time after our rep told them no one updated the site: 4 died yesterday.

The BLM has not provided ANY details on the new deaths as of the first edit. The death count now stands at 23.

They reported a roundup related death yesterday. But reported one on the 31st. They still list only one sudden death in the cummulative totals (?). 

We will update after we wade through the “clear as mud” that is Nevada public affairs. 

At 2 p.m. BLM has now added the specific death information. Yet they now list 23 as having died yesterday, the total deaths are 23 for the operation.

12-year-old stud was euthanized BLM said “due to chronic injury (Two fractured legs);” 20-year-old Bay stud BLM said “due to chronic injury (physical defect/deformity: hernia);” 12-year-old Black stud wBLM said “due to chronic injury (fractured/broken fetlocks);” 9-year-old Black mare BLM said “due to chronic injury (fractured leg).”

None of these deaths are explained as “sudden.” The mess continues. If this is clarified we will include in the expanded report tomorrow.

More video and images are coming in from our WHE team volunteers in the field. We will update as soon as BLM provides statistics. We are the only org on-site.

The final release in this operation, that is an example of the “2020 plan,” should be tomorrow (according to the scant info we were given as the public affairs officer, PAO, continued to complain about the presence of the public).

2:30 p.m.: We are now being told that BLM may to release wild horses onto private land and restrict public access… ?? BLM is supposed to remove wild horses from private land; in fact, it is often used as a reason for an entire removal operation. 

You can see reports from our WHE team at the ongoing Owyhee Complex roundup HERE. 

Scroll down for answers to questions in our inbox.


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Questions from the inbox:

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  1. WHE are receiving questions about the maps we are using in our updates on the roundup about the “blue area” on the maps and fences.

The blue shaded area is the target zone for removals under the current Environmental Assessment (2012 EA) that outlines the capture zone for the Owyhee Complex. The blue also shades the acreage covered by the larger grazing allotments. The outlines of the grazing allotments are not a “fence map.” Each grazing allotment contains many “pasture fences.” Wild horses actually utilize the area as shaded, not the historically flawed boundary lines of the HMAs.

Wild horses and burros are managed behind artificial boundary lines because of politics. As the Act was being debated in Congress many would not accept that wild horses would roam freely in the West and wanted confined spaces (HERE). Then the debate shifted to local political pressure as lines were drawn. If you view archived sightings and BLM personnel notes, you see boundaries were not drawn where wild horses were seen (the land presently found), but due to convenience or politics.

The blue shaded area is the area covered under the EA for removal and represents the acreage of the roundups that take place in the complex. That is why we call it the ” Approximate 1.4 million acre operation zone” and do not reference the complex by the acres BLM has left inside the artificial boundary lines, that do not match grazing allotment lines or any representation of historic use in the area. BLM calls this a 1.055 million acre complex and omits the off-HMA use zones they are removing wild horses from.

Our on-site observer was told by the PAO that BLM is not capturing from Little Humboldt. We actually asked the question because BLM left the HMA off the website and one of the traps was at the juncture of two HMAs, Rock Creek and Little Humboldt.

We are very worried that BLM is removing the two HMAs to the AML of only Rock Creek and not include the AML of Little Humboldt in determining removal/release.

With all of the misinformation and contradictions coming from BLM Public Affairs at this operation, we have absolutely every reason to distrust.

2. Are you right next. to the trap?

We are NOT right next to trap. We are using a zoom camera.See sample distance HERE. 

3. Are you the only ones allowed in?

No, we are the only one that came. Public observation is open to the public since the policy was written post-litigation that we took up and down the court system. Back in 2011 our founder was offered observation, but no one else could go. Instead, she litigated to open roundups to daily public view.

Categories: Wild Horse Education