Roundup Countdown (Action Item)

After a hard winter, some wild horse herds seem to be recovering.

The last leg of the fiscal year 2023 roundup schedule begins in a week, July 1. (Action item marked in red, scroll down)

After 3 years of full funding for the Path Forward (lobby agreement that pushed accelerated removals to record highs), we want you to notice the change reflected on the roundups schedule: out of 20 roundup planned roundup operations (not classified as fertility control darting or emergency) all but 3 are listed as “maintaining AML*.” (*AML stands for “Appropriate Management Level” or the number of wild horses and/or burros BLM says can live on a range).

You can find the tentative roundup schedule HERE

As news stories continue to quote agency press releases claiming an insanely inflated number of wild horses and burros on the range, an overpopulation causing near panic, the gather schedule schedule (where the agency is taking an action) reflects a “maintain AML” objective. This is a politically driven public relations messaging based on the annual Population Statistics Report that contains numerous flaws and is not representative of actual numbers on the range. (more HERE)

Furthermore, the none of the Herd Management Areas (HMA) listed on the schedule provide any flyover data to demonstrate an accurate population count post winter 2023. Winter 2023 was so harsh in wild horse country that hay drops for domestic livestock were approved to ensure survival and hunting tag numbers have decreased. But somehow BLM just wants the public to think that wild horses numbers increased during the harshest winter in over a decade?

BLM must prove that the number of wild horses they plan to remove is actually within their legal boundaries. BLM may very well be removing far below their designated authority if they do not demonstrate (transparently) data that complies with underlying paperwork (NEPA).

Below: Wild horses during a summer roundup at the Antelope Complex that is on the schedule for summer 2023 in an operation targeting 3,107 wild horses for capture and removal on ranges emergency feeding of domestic livestock was approved this winter. No post winter wild horses flyover data has been provided to the public; BLM is continuing to operate under the outdated plan (EA) approved in 2017. From 2019-2021 BLM captured 3,201 wild horses and will go back in 2023 to take 3,107. In 4 years BLM will have captured and removed 6,308 wild horses in the complex; the biggest continuous hit any area has taken in history. 

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Areas hit hard by the winter storms of 2023 populate BLMs “gather schedule.” The small but remote HMAs in Oregon (Stinkingwater, Hog Creek and Palomino Butte), McCullough Peak in Wyoming, Little Book Cliffs in Colorado, the HMAs of the Surprise Complex managed by BLM California and the Calico Complex in Nevada, were all hit hard in the winter of 2023. All of these areas have removal numbers listed to maintain a specific number of wild horses (AML) … not one of them has provided the public with up-to-date data to justify the removal of significant numbers of wild horses.


Please join us in sending a letter to BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning. 

BLM must be required to provide post-winter data to the public, posted openly on their website, for each herd they place on the removal schedule. BLM must demonstrate that removal numbers are based on data that has been made public and not that removal numbers are simply being carried forward to appease profiteers and politics. 

Click HERE to send your letter.

Before they remove him help us tell BLM to prove the numbers on the range!

An example of the sheer lack of actual data used in the wild horse program is being revealed in our fight for the wild horses of Bordo Atravesado in New Mexico.

Our court battle at Bordo reveals that New Mexico BLM collected no rangeland utilization or rangeland health data in accordance with existing documents such as the 1991 Herd Management Area Plan (HMAP) or BLM policies, and they admit to not “directly or indirectly” considering this crucial information in the Bordo Atravesado Decision and Gather EA plan.

In other active legal challenges WHE is illustrating that BLM is well aware of deficits in data and where existing data demonstrates that removal plans are based on a framework that is simply not correct. The legal fight at both Stone Cabin/Saulsbury and Roberts Mountain is likely to continue up the chain in the courts.

Note: The HMAs above, and the removal plans for these HMAs, are not currently on the roundup schedule. We continue the fight to keep them off until BLM creates a data-based management plan with science-based objectives.

Thank you for helping us stay in the fight!

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Categories: Lead