ELY – On or about July 8, 2023, the Bureau of Land Management plans to begin a wild horse gather in and around the Antelope and Antelope Valley (east of U.S. Highway 93) Herd Management Areas (HMAs) located near Ely, Nev., using the helicopter-assisted method.
The Antelope and Antelope Valley HMAs encompass nearly 503,000 acres of public and private lands. The Antelope HMA has an Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 150-324 wild horses. The Antelope Valley HMA (east of U.S. Highway 93) has an AML of 37 wild horses. A helicopter survey conducted in March 2023 documented 2,122 wild horses within and directly outside the herd management areas – nearly eleven-times above the low end of the established management level.
The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 1,107 excess wild horses and treat up to 15 previously-treated mares in the Water Canyon area with the fertility control vaccine GonaCon Equine before releasing them back to the range. The mares are part of the 10-year Water Canyon Wild Horse Growth Suppression Pilot Program that provides the BLM the opportunity to determine the effectiveness of GonaCon Equine on a small group of wild horses in a controlled environment with the possibility of expanded usage in future years, depending on the program’s results.
The purpose of the gather is to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.
“We conduct gathers like this to ensure that rangeland and wild horse health are not at risk due to herd overpopulation,” said Robbie McAboy, Ely District Manager. “As always, we are committed to conducting safe and humane gather operations as we work to protect animal health by bringing herd size down to AML in order to help restore a thriving natural ecological balance on the range and protect it from further deterioration associated with horse overpopulations.”
By balancing herd size with what the land can support, the BLM aims to protect habitat for other wildlife species such as sage grouse, pronghorn antelope, mule deer and elk. Removing excess wild horses supports significant progress toward achieving the Standards for Rangeland Health identified by the Northeastern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council.
The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered. The BLM and its contractors are committed to using the best available science and handling practices for wild horses while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program.
All animals identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center, in Reno, Nev. Upon arrival to the facility, all animals will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sales Program.
Members of the public are welcome to view the gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Once gather operations have begun, those wanting to view gather operations must call the gather hotline nightly at (775) 861-6700 to receive specific instructions on each days’ meeting location and time.
The BLM is conducting the gather under the DOI-BLM-NV-E030-2017-0010-EA Antelope and Triple B Complexes Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on December 21, 2017. Access the Decision Record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy at https://bit.ly/42rqNJF.
Mares are being treated and released under the DOI-BLM-NV-L020-2015-0014-EA Water Canyon Wild Horse Growth Suppression Pilot Program Environmental Assessment decision signed on August 17, 2015. The Decision Record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy can be accessed at https://bit.ly/44NfVaH.
Gather reports and additional information will be posted on the BLM website at https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/nevada-ely-do/2023-antelope. For technical information, contact Ben Noyes, Wild Horse and Burro Specialist at (775) 289-1800 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.