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August 9, 2012
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Desatoya wild horse gather starts next week

The Bureau of Land Management will begin gathering horses from the Desatoya Herd Management Area on Aug. 16.

The BLM will gather approximately 450-525 wild horses. As many as 127 wild horses will be released back to the range following the gather. The gather area is located approximately 70 miles east of Fallon within Churchill and Lander counties.

Public observation opportunities will be offered each day of the gather. Anyone interested in observing the gather should call the Desatoya Gather information line at 885-6101 for the meeting location and time.

A population inventory conducted in July 2011 documented 543 wild horses within and 14 wild horses outside of the area. It is projected that 651 horses will be the population at the time of the gather. The appropriate management level for the area is 127-180 wild horses. Based on the inventory, and monitoring data showing impacts from an over-population of the area, the BLM has determined that removal of the excess wild horses is necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance.

Of the approximate 127 wild horses released back to the range, an estimated 51 mares will receive a 22-month immunocontraceptive vaccine treatment prior to release. This vaccine will extend the time between gathers, and reduce the number of excess wild horses that would need to be removed in the future. The sex ratio of the released animals will be dependent on the sex ratio of the gathered wild horses. Approximately 65 percent or more of all released wild horses would likely be stallions to achieve a 60 percent male sex ratio within the HMA (including animals not gathered).

Following the initial helicopter gather, the BLM intends to use continuous annual bait/water trapping over the next 10 years in order to administer the fertility control vaccine and remove small numbers of excess wild horses in order to achieve and/or maintain the AML range and sex ratio.

The gather will be conducted in close coordination with the Nevada Department of Agriculture's Brands Division. The brand inspectors will verify that all gathered animals are wild horses and burros as defined by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Once verified, the brand inspector will provide the BLM a certificate to transport the animals.

Without this cooperation and coordination, the BLM would not be able to remove the excess wild horses which, if not removed in a timely manner, would result in degradation of our native rangelands. The NDOA also may take jurisdiction of any estray, branded, or abandoned domestic horse(s) under the State of Nevada estray laws.

The gathered animals will be transported to the Palomino Valley Center near Reno, Nev., and the Gunnison, Utah facility where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Unadopted horses will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanly cared for and retain their "wild" status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not sell or send any horses to slaughter.

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The Record Courier Updated Aug 9, 2012 03:08PM Published Aug 9, 2012 02:55PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.