BLM to Conduct Emergency Gather in Seaman Herd Area
Drought in Nevada Threatens Wild Horses
BLM to Conduct Emergency Gather in Seaman
Nev. – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Ely District, Caliente Field Office
is scheduled to conduct an emergency helicopter gather on or about Tuesday, July
23, to relocate 50 wild horses threatened by severe drought from the Seaman Herd
Area (HA) to off-range pastures and facilities.
drought conditions in eastern Nevada have resulted in emergency conditions
within the Seaman HA that seriously threaten the
health and well-being of these wild horses.
Although some rainfall has occurred, the moisture has been insufficient to break
the drought, which has left extremely limited amounts of water and forage in the
area. Henneke body condition scores (BCS) within
the Seaman HA range from poor (BCS 1.5) to moderately thin (BCS 4). Wild horses
with a BCS of 2 or less are at risk of death if they remain on the range, given
the current drought conditions. The BLM estimates that about one third of the
horses need to be urgently removed from the area.
BLM has been closely monitoring drought conditions and since early July has been
supplementing the natural water seeps, filling tubs and troughs with water, and
providing hay to the horses. Unfortunately, these animals are extremely skittish
and will not drink from the man-made containers. Even with the extra
water, the seeps do not provide enough water to sustain them.
to the scarcity of water resources and forage, combined with the drought, these
horses are quickly starting to deteriorate,” said Dr. Boyd Spratling, DVM and
co-chair of the BLM’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board, who toured
the area on Tuesday. “Timing is critical and I believe that water trapping
efforts on these particular horses won’t work. In this instance, a helicopter
gather at the earliest possible date is the best decision.”
Davis, Wild Horse and Burro Representative on the Mojave-Southern Great Basin
Resource Advisory Council, which advises and makes recommendations to the BLM on
public land management, supports the use of a helicopter to gather the horses.
Davis also toured the area on Tuesday.
I saw was disheartening. Many of the horses that we observed were near death. A
substantial number of them will die in the near future if immediate action is
not taken,” Davis said.
BLM will utilize the services of a gather contractor, which uses a helicopter to
locate and herd wild horses toward a set of corrals. The pilot is assisted by a
ground crew and a domesticated horse that is trained to guide the horses into
the corral. The use of helicopters has proven to be a safe, effective and
practical means by which to gather excess wild horses with minimal anxiety or
hardship on the animals, and is authorized by the 1971
Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Although the BLM had considered
alternative methods of trapping, veterinarians have advised that due to their
rapidly declining health, there is not enough time to individually trap the 50
horses. Horses removed from the range will be transported to the Delta
Wild Horse and Burro Facility in Delta, Utah.
the gather it is anticipated that as an act of mercy, some animals with a poor
prognosis for survival may need to be humanely euthanized to end their
suffering. Without these actions, it is highly likely that more animals,
particularly wet mares and foals, would suffer over time and die if left on the
is a sad situation all the way around,” said BLM Nevada State Director Amy
Lueders. “We have done our best to help these horses but the combination of no
forage and limited water has led to wild horses that simply need more help.”
Wild Horse Gather Information Line has been established at (775) 861-6700. A
recorded message will provide information on daily gather activities and
schedules. The BLM will also post daily gather information on its website at www.blm.gov/nv.
lands within the HA will be open to the public during gather operations, subject
to necessary safety restrictions, and the BLM will make every effort to allow
for public viewing opportunities. Due to the emergency nature of this situation,
the BLM appreciates advance notice from visitors wishing to attend the gather.
Visitors are encouraged to sign up prior to arriving by calling the Gather
Information Hotline (775) 861-6700 and leaving a message.
Seaman Herd Area Emergency Wild Horse Gather and its impacts are described and
analyzed in the Decision Record, which is available online at www.blm.gov/nv.
approximately 358,834-acre Seaman HA is located in Lincoln and Nye Counties,
about 35 miles south of Lund, Nevada. Seaman is a Herd
Area (HA), not a Herd Management Area (HMA). The horses found within the
HA are animals that historically have been there, but have never been able to be
totally removed from the area following the Land Use Plan decision in 2008 to
zero out or not actively manage them. HAs are those geographic areas where
wild horses and/or burros were found at the passage of the Wild Horse and Burros
Act in 1971. HMAs are those areas within Herd Areas where the decision has
been made, through Land Use Plans, to manage for populations of wild horses
and/or burros. Seaman was determined to be a Herd Area due to the lack of
suitable habitat, specifically inadequate forage or water. HAs, including
Seaman, lie within a Mojave Desert transition zone where trees and brush
comprise the primary vegetation; relatively few grasses or forbs are present and
water is limited.
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