54 (17 Stallions, 26 Mares, and 11 Foals) wild horses were captured. The total captured to date is 279 Wild Horses (104 Stallions, 138 Mares, and 37 Foals) of the 383 targeted. So far, 8 deaths have been reported.
First run of the day showed the pace was a bit slower than we have seen. We saw a lot more foals than previous days. We remain concerned about the chaos that has occurred on range during foaling season and (justifiably) are worried foals may have been left behind the first days of this operation.
BLM sent a new public affairs officer out, and a new trainee, with better camera equipment. Our viewing location was a bit closer than we had been the first days at this trap; about the length of a football field, 360 ft.
The barbed wire fence is being used to guide horses along the fence and into the trap. When the light changes and goes through the jute on the closest wing, you can see the 3 strands of wire under the jute that make the wing.
It is absolutely foaling season. The key management document, Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP), is skipped in the vast majority of HMAs and not updated in the few areas that have them. Foaling season (or when it is safe to use a helicopter) is one of the things that is supposed to be defined. Instead, the agency uses a “first day of March through the last day of June” as an overly broad definition of foaling season for all herds of wild horses.
NOTE: The two videos below have added “instant replays” in areas where viewers might be likely to scroll back to see what happened. First you see the regular version and then the replay to make it easier for you to see.
This mare and foal escaped broke from the group (take a look at the tail on that foal… that is a baby! It appears the baby lay down to rest and mom came back). Even though the tail rotor is several feet from the mares head, this is clearly the definition of “dangerously close” as stated in the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy (CAWP). We have seen a lot of disturbing flying.
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.
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.)
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Categories: Wild Horse Education