Wild Horse Education

Heat Index Monitoring (Roundup Update)

NOTE: This tracking page has had multiple edits over the last two days as we posted updates and heat index readings and we will reformat to make it easier to understand shortly. 

This page was updated by numerous people throughout the last 48 hours. The article got hard to understaNd and included simple field notations. We are reformatting the noted and will update this page.

The breakdown of tracking the heat index:

Saturday the heat index rose into the caution zone before 9 am. By 11 am it approached the calculation where we fear stress on horses and humans can impact health and judgement. It stayed in that zone for 9 hours and then dropped back to caution, before disappearing.

Sunday, the index rose higher. By 8 am the caution area was hit. The zone we fear was reached by 10:15. The index continued to rise to the edge of the extreme danger zone. The index stayed in the caution zone for over 16 hours.

As Monday arrives, we are exhausted and frustrated. The index is expected to rise again today.

We are taking tracking off-line as creating a public tracking page (on top of all of the rest) has not resulted in any visible change or update from BLM on capture protocol. If it has, we can’t see it and BLM has not informed anyone of any change.

Our regular updates from trap are continuing from onsite at the Antelope Complex. For the first time, BLM has split this area into two distinct roundups. However, at this time we want to underscore that these are operations that impact a single complex managed under the same approved Environmental Assessment (EA) evaluation.

Splitting the operation in two may make it appear to be separate to the public when, in fact, it underscores that BLM failed to recognize the scope and intensity of the approved plan when they did the EA. They should have either done multiple EAs (and split things up like they split the roundup) or the more in-depth Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to cover an area larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.

It is worth stating that none of the Herd Management Areas (HMA) in this complex have any site-specific management plan, the Herd Area Management Plan (HMAP). Only one massive “Gather-EA” has been created. The actions coming at this operation involve one area even though they are being presented as two. As we enter into a dangerous heat index, we are combining statistics to give you a clearer picture of what is happening at the Antelope Complex. 

As of 7/16: In the first 7 days of operations 9 wild horses have died: 2 mares have suffered broken necks, 1 mare was killed because she was blind in one eye, A stallion suffered a catastrophic compound fracture of his rear leg, 4 foals have died (2 from dehydration, 1 from colic that can be caused by heat and dehydration and one due to lameness), Sorrel foal died : umbilical hernia (an umbilical hernia doesn’t kill you, it can interfere with things like breathing when overly stressed). 

3 foals were deemed orphaned and taken into foster care. 

7/16: Active Tracking (we will be updating calculations repeatedly throughout the day) Archived

At 8 AM, the South trap had already entered the “caution zone” (nursing mares, foals, elderly) are already at risk. No trapping at North trap today, “helicopter maintenance.”

By 9:30 the South trap began to edge toward the “Extreme Caution” zone and the operation should have ceased. 

By 10:15 the Maximum stop zone we asked for was exceeded. (We also tried contacting BLM one last time after we completed our records and update,)

At 11:15 the south trap was in the “Extreme Caution zone.”

Please remember, wild horses are held closer than they would be in the wild in temporary corrals with no shade after trapping ends for the day.

By 4:40 p.m. Temperatures at temporary holding hit 106 degrees and a Heat Index over 100. The ground is light and reflective and the horses cannot find shade.

This is one of the most PREVENTABLE types of ABUSE.

As we enter into the dangerous heat index on Saturday. today, we want to you to understand why this measurement matters. The dangerous heat index is expected to arrive Saturday around 11 a.m. and continue through July 17 at 8 p.m. An extended rise in the heat index increases risks. This is one of the reasons we are so concerned. Not only will wild horses be run during the day (and others in the valley not captured moving away from the helicopter disruption) but t heir ability to rehydrate the next day will be impacted by continuing a capture operation. Wild horses are expending more energy, creating internal temperature rise (in addition to the environmental factors) and move to drink in the early parts of the day… when the next days operation begins.  

NOTICE 7/15 4 p.m.: We have received word that the helicopter will go in for maintenance from the North crew and no drive-trapping will occur.  We wish the South crew would stop pushing on the accelerator (in one week, nearly 3/4 of the target number has been reached in an operation approved to go through the end of August) and take the heat to do maintenance or catch up on paperwork and give the horses a break. Unfortunately, we believe BLM may be more concerned about the optics of the stallion that broke his leg instead of the mares and foals that may colic and die due to the heat. 

Heat Index is not a temperature reading. Temperature is one factor that impacts how living beings respond to heat. The Heat Index is what generates all those warnings that tell you to drink water, don’t work outside and keep pets indoors.

Chart showing examples of heat index calculation.

These guidelines apply to performance (good shape) domestic horses: When the heat index is between 80 and 90, mild caution should be used for exercising horses. Between 91 and 102, extreme caution should be used. Between 103 and 124, heat stress may become dangerous and above 124 you should avoid exercising a horse due to extreme danger. (It is important to note that these guidelines do not apply to pregnant and nursing mare and foals. When you simply enter the “Caution Zone” most vets say “no exercise that is not initiated by the horse in its own pasture” for compromised animals including those with health issues or the very young or old.)

Years ago we warned BLM about something we call the “86 degree threshold.” We had requested that BLM do a “human check” ay 86 degrees. WHE does not just take pictures at roundups, we craft a data set. That data set shows that over 88 degrees human error increases. Things like not seeing the palomino stallion agitated and rising up (as the wrangler went up the panels to sort) is more likely around or above 86 degrees. We were told “there is probably something to that” by a high level person in BLM. We requested a meeting to discuss it. The meeting never happened (as an agreement to dart PZP with another group took precedent and our emails were no longer being returned).

In addition, it is not only a single moment of a high index, it is also the duration of the heat stress; multiple consecutive days of a high index can heighten the negative effects on the horse.

BLM should be stopping operations, at minimum, when they approach the “Extreme Caution Zone.” The number of foals and nursing mares is obvious. Preventative measures must be attempted.

Our attorneys did send them a notice yesterday but we have been super busy and could not update you at that time. We believe BLM should not be doing any operation at all, particularly in July during actual foaling season. BLM does not take preventative measures to prevent abuses; death is not the only abuse that results from heat. 

To make it SIMPLE: BLM needs to (at least) STOP operations when the index approaches 86 . If the index stays over 87 for longer than a few hours, BLM needs to stop completely until the index returns to normal and horses on the range have a chance to recover.

We will say it again, we do not believe BLM should be trapping with a heat index over 82… the moment a vet says don’t exercise a pregnant mare. If BLM actually cared about wild horses… they would do more than the bare minimum to protect them from harms,

It is critical to remember that, once captured, wild horses are being kept in corrals that are also experiencing the exact same temperatures and heat indexes with ZERO ability to find shade.

Keep in mind, the greatest danger begins Sunday and does not subside until Tuesday,

We are updating and rechecking calculations throughout the day. 

If you live in these areas, please take precautions with your domestic animals.

The extended dangerous heat index has begun and is expected to increase Sunday, July 16.

We will update this page throughout the day. We have a lot of video and information to add to our daily update pages. THIS PAGE IS BEING REWRITTEN.

Antelope North Daily Public Reports

Antelope South Daily Public Reports 

This little family was captured after peacefully grazing in the area where tragedy had struck the day before. Nature has an amazing ability to heal… until man steps in.

Today is “I Love My Horses Day.”

In honor of that date, can you take action addressing the current budget debate? Our wild horses and burros need real management planning, protection of both habitat and herd.

You can find the 4-step engagement plan for you to take with your legislators HERE.

Out team is out at the roundups, engaging the agency, lawmakers and keeping our attorney informed. We love our horses. 

Thank you for keeping us in the fight!

If you are shopping online you can help Wild Horse Education by choosing us as your charity of choice on IGive

Categories: Wild Horse Education