Today BLM began a roundup of the Buffalo Hills HMA and surrounding area.
Scroll down for daily reports.
BLM lists a summary of their intentions for Buffalo Hills in the press release: The Black Rock Field Office staff and contractor plan to gather approximately 383 wild horses, remove approximately 353 excess wild horses, and treat up to 30 mares with Gona-Con, a population suppression fertility control vaccine. The treated mares will be released back to the range.
The press release states horses will go to the Indian Lakes facility (aka Broken Arrow) in Fallon, NV. (UPDATE: Captives have gone to Palomino Valley Center.)
The last roundup in this are was in 2019. There are rumors out there that the birth rate is low (the number of foals coming in) because of fertility control. It should be noted no fertility control was done in 2019. BLM plans to use GonaCon at this operation as part of the commitment to get all herds down to low AML and increase fertility control in the 2020 plan.
This area is very close to where Burning Man takes place each year and wild horses have been harassed by recreation and off-road vehicles. The increase in off-road vehicle use that is unregulated and receives no policing on public lands has increased dramatically the last 3 years.
We will add any clarification we receive to daily updates below.
Update 7/2, day 2: BLM said the shipping location will now be to Palomino Valley Center (PVC), not off-limits to the public Indian Lakes (aka Broken Arrow) as they published in the press release. They will update the website to reflect the change.
Our team is in the field.
Totals to date
380 Wild Horses (147 Stallions, 184 Mares, and 49 Foals)
On July 4 BLM published that they released a mare. It has been confirmed that this mare escaped, not released.
369 Wild Horses (141 Stallions, 180 Mares, and 48 Foals)
Total Deaths, 10. Day 7: 3-year-old Bay mare died unexpectedly due to acute injury (fractured neck); 20+ year old Bay stallion was euthanized BLM said due to pre-existing condition (pre-existing fracture — broken leg). Day 5: 11-year-old Bay stallion broke his neck; 30-year-old Bay stallion BLM euthanized they said to pre-existing condition (hernia); 30-year-old Bay stallion was euthanized BLM said due to pre-existing condition (pre-existing fracture — broken leg). Day 4: 25+ year-old Sorrel stallion BLM stated was due to pre-existing condition (blindness in right eye); 11-year-old Bay mare BLM said due to pre-existing condition (Physical deformity; congenital — sway back). Day 3: BLM reported that a7 year-old-Sorrel stallion was euthanized (BLM said: Physical deformity — previous injury to right front fetlock). Day 2: Mare found dead in holding, presumably a snake bite. Day 1: BLM reports a 4 month old Bay foal found deceased in a trailer before getting to temporary holding. BLM published “cause of death unknown.” (However, it has been confirmed this is the foal from the last run of day one.)
Daily updates listed with the most recent at the top. Scroll for earlier reports. Our teams are working very hard to bring you reports fast. Linked in the short reports are pages that contain multiple videos and more details.
The last day of Buffalo Hills saw 27 wild horses captured. Of those captured only 1 foal came in at the new trap location. There were 2 runs: 7 and 20.
The day finally slowed down and no new deaths or incidents were reported. However, our team member could not see trap location.
This roundup leaves serious questions about the assertion that populations grow from 20-25% each year. Only 49 foals were brought in out of 380 wild horses; about 12%.
Is it foaling season right now on the range, or is BLM wrong about growth rates? Both simply cannot be true.
35 (14 Stallions, 16 Mares, and 5 Foals) wild horses were captured. We were back at the southern trap location.
39 (14 Stallions, 19 Mares, and 6 Foals) wild horses were captured today as the north trap is squeezed. Observers were allowed to witness the capture of about 16 and then told to move. BLM had opened a gate in the barbed wire fence for the last run and told observers they needed to move. The last run (or runs) were not observed by the public as horses were moved through a gate. There have been numerous issues with barbed wire fencing at this trap and we are unable to show you the last runs of the day.
Pics: The pace of the day began a bit slower that it had the last few. You can clearly see it is foaling season.
54 (17 Stallions, 26 Mares, and 11 Foals) wild horses were captured. We are back at the first trap.
Events in Gerlach surrounding Burning Man are beginning. We believe the town is starting to feel the time crunch. Perhaps the town doesn’t want visitors to see that this roundup is on nearby ranches or simply the influx of people? Perhaps this was part of the chaos experienced the first days of this operation?
BLM continues to push toward the capture goal of 383. If they do not make that goal, no fertility control release will be done. BLM only uses fertility control when they get below low AML (stocking numbers they approve in HMAs.)
video below: The day started a bit better but led to a sad note: the pilot has some trouble in what appears to be a downdraft and impedes the wrangler, a horse escapes onto the other side of the barbed wire. He walks the long fenceline, looking back. As the chopper races back after (perhaps) refueling, it heads directly toward the horse causing him to race toward the barbed wire. Our observer quickly hit record on her camera and the horse is seen trying to get over the barbed wire, catching his rear legs and falling. He then races away.
Scroll down for earlier reports.
Video above: Single horse, after single horse, dominated the day. One horse got so tired and annoyed he kicks at the chopper.
What were the fuel costs? That is an important question that keeps arising as we watched single wild horse after single wild horse chased back and forth and up and down the valley.
On this third day at this distant trap (near where BLM made a deal with the private landowner to house temporary holding and keep the public out) we watched BLM do what we call “squeeze the trap.” It appeared that they were intent on getting every last wild horses out of the associated livestock grazing allotments before going back to the grazing allotment of the first days.
31 (19 Stallions, 11 Mares, and 1 Foals) wild horses were captured. It is worth noting that out of 31 horses, only 1 was a foal. So either the birth rate is lower than stated, or there could be foals left out there. Or, quite possibly, it is the height of foaling season and heavily pregnant mares will give birth in days once they get to a facility? July is in the height of foaling season, even though that is not recognized by the agency.
3 more deaths were reported as described in the daily breakdown above; including a stallion that broke his neck.
Our team is back out today. Hopefully, the next trap offers better documenting opportunities. (Long report will link when completed)
48 (17 Stallions, 23 Mares, and 8 Foals) wild horses were captured. Temperatures ranged from about 55 to 95. Later in the day wind gusts reached 22 mph. This was a long day at trap.
34 (0 Stallions, 29 Mares, and 5 Foals) were shipped.
The first run on Independence Day saw one lone horse (that looks like he was part of the larger group captured yesterday) lose freedom.
In another run a mare and foal are captured in a long distance run. She fights really hard to escape and appears to be injured.
A bit of dust control was witnessed today (watering trap and juste area).
25+ year old Sorrell stallion BLM stated was due to pre-existing condition (blindness in right eye)
11 year old Bay mare was euthanized BLM said due to pre-existing condition (Physical deformity; congenital — sway back).
70 (19 Stallions, 46 Mares, and 5 Foals) wild horses were captured.
Trapsite is again on private lands. the runs continue to be chaotic and fast; bands fracture and segments are chased back and forth. The day included a dramatic escape, horses slamming into the panels and dust, a lot of dust. No dust control has been witnessed.
Our team member is working very hard to bring issues to light at trap location and to relay the files as fast as possible.
18 (7 Stallions, 9 Mares, and 2 Foals) were captured in fast and (what appeared to be) chaotic runs. Bands fractured and the foals were working very hard to keep up the pace.
It has also been confirmed that the one wing, in fact, is partially barbed wire covered in jute. There was no flagging on any barbed wire on day one, or the start of day two. Our onsite team member urged BLM to flag the wire. The wire was only flagged on the trap side, not the back side.
In run 3, a band that had been chased for over 30 minutes in view of trap, saw one adult horse escape and the foal end up on the wrong side of the barbed wire. The foal was roped, hog tied (flipped twice) and then tied to the back of an ATV and brought into the trap.
It has been confirmed that the youngster featured below is the foal found dead in the trailer. Our observer had a conversation with BLM and the time of day confirms. Deaths from the previous day are the deaths BLM reports in the morning. This death is not the one in the one roped day and put in the ATV.
Confirmed total: 68 Wild Horses (23 Stallions, 33 Mares, and 10 Foals)
Estimate from observation: 70 wild horses were captured. There were 5 runs (estimates: 30, 5, 5, 13, 17). No official count was relayed to observers. Trap location is on the northern border with Twin Peaks and transient herds from Granite. (Temps during capture ranged from 45-92 degrees.)
3 wild horses were roped: 1 adult,1 foal and 1 out of site.
It appears that a “false wing” of barbed wire covered in jute is near the trap? Observers could not see the trap itself, but could see jute “wings.”
A horse crashed into barbed wire in the same run band made a u-turn and escaped and then a foal escapes (temporarily) and is pursued by the chopper.
BLM reports a 4 month old Bay foal found deceased (cause of death unknown).
No observation will be allowed at temporary holding. BLM made an agreement to place temporary holding on private land with a land owner. BLM has many areas to set these temporary holding facilities and continues to ignore the public interest and enter into agreements where permittees are used to temporarily house captured horses and deny observers the ability to exercise First Amendment Rights.
Not only will horses be processed out of sight before shipping to short-term holding, the holding facility they will be shipped to is off-limits to public visitation.
We will continue to provide more information as files are transferred and edited for publication. (Remote locations often represent difficulties with rapid file sharing due to limited internet.)
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Categories: Wild Horse Education