Our teams are onsite at Surprise and Desatoya (Devil’s Garden has refused requests for access to even simply document corrals). For the last several days, we are the only observers in the field anywhere. Our team volunteers are getting into the field each long day, processing images and video each night and crafting reports for archive and our annual welfare review. For the last few days, our team members are the only people in field observing roundups.
Our team is working really hard and we want to start this fast article with an acknowledgement of that effort.
While the country braces for a potential shutdown, BLM has already published the fall/winter schedule. (You can access it HERE)
8,896 have been added to the capture schedule. Numbers beginning October 1 will also include Calico (the leftover from the 2023 budget, another 761 captured).
This is politics. Nothing on the schedule represents site-specific analysis, full disclosure of scant existing data, or actual management. The winter schedule is politically driven to satisfy big corporate lobby groups in the Path Forward and to quell unrest with livestock. Removing wild horses and burros and slamming them with this type of overkill on fertility control suits an agency that historically manages for their own convenience and politics.
BLM is once again treating wild horse advocacy like none of us matter at all. Areas where appeals are active are on the schedule and where the deadline to even file an appeal has not even expired yet. Areas where draft plans have just been released to the public for comment are already on the schedule before a single review of a single comment. Equal and full public process?
We will have an extended article that breaks down the winter schedule for you shortly. Over the last few years, BLM has gotten comfortable promoting partnerships as a carrot and had a “how you can apply for a grant” meeting yesterday as they released this “ram it through” winter schedule. In essence, BLM simply knows maybe one or two will hit potential litigation in fed court and they can ram all the rest through without disclosing any data proving old NEPA (paperwork) is still valid, before the ink is dry on a new gather plan or before anyone can even hire a lawyer and explain the issues
Updates from roundups:
The BLM last conducted a roundup in Desatoya HMA in January 2022 and treated mares with fertility control. BLM is hitting this area a year later claiming the current estimated population is 152 wild horses in the Desatoya HMA. Appropriate Management Level is 127-180 wild horses. In other words: this area is well within the AML, but they are going to switch to a hard hit hormonal vaccine “boosted” (so they can satisfy the permittee that has openly pushed for removals and say “we won’t have to get back here for over a decade.”)
BLM is managing purely for politics and convenience, not data and science. However, as stated above when talking about the new schedule, BLM feels confident that dangling an agreement will keep criticism low.
The Surprise Complex roundup continued yesterday and captured around 17 wild horses just outside of the Fox Hog HMA. This would bring the total up to 495 animals (480 wild horses and 15 burros). We are awaiting the official word about when (if and how) this operation will move over to Calico.
The Surprise Complex (managed by CA) seems to be dealing with pressure to hit this area with GonaCon (like NV is doing with all their HMAs). The data does not support hitting these complexes with a hormonal hammer (GonaCon) and rendering this herd as good as devastated for decades.
This roundup seems so “Nevada directed” that during the last 2 days of operation (cleaning of “off HMA”), it appeared that this was a “clean up” of Buffalo Hills horses disturbed by last years roundip, Burning Man recreation and expansion of industry on the NV side.
Devi’s Garden (USFS, not BLM) has been denying access since another org left that area. We have tried to simply get a tour of their holding corrals and have been denied. We have found out that bait trapping ended last week, helicopter capture is still active and they have already started gelding.
We have been told no observation of the ongoing operation will be facilitated.
We have a lot more to write about ongoing comments, appeals, court cases, the potential shutdown and more… but need to hit the road.
We are looking to schedule a question and answer session shortly and will update you with date and time as soon as we figure out when we can sit still long enough.
Our wild ones should live free on the range with the families they hold dear. Our wild ones should also live without abuse. WHE carries ongoing litigation to force BLM into open public process to create an enforceable welfare standard for our treasured wild ones.
Thank you for keeping us in the fight!
2023 Summer/Fall roundup reports
Categories: Wild Horse Education