Feds plan wild horse roundup for late January | RecordCourier.com

Feds plan wild horse roundup for late January

Staff Reports
A pair of wild horses standing alongside Dump Road in 2006.
Shannon Litz | R-C file photo

More than 330 wild horses living in the Pine Nut Mountain herd management area will be rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management beginning in late January.

The BLM’s Carson City District, Sierra Front Field Office has issued the decision to gather 332 wild horses and remove approximately 200 excess wild horses within and outside the Pine Nut Herd Management Area.

As many as 132 wild horses will be released back to the range following the gather. The gather area is located south of Dayton and east of Carson City and Gardnerville within Lyon, Douglas, and Carson City Counties. The gather is scheduled to begin late January 2015.

A population inventory completed in August 2014 documented 332 wild horses. The appropriate management level for the area is 119-179 wild horses. Based on the inventory, and monitoring data showing impacts from an overpopulation of the area, BLM has determined that removal of the excess wild horses is necessary to achieve a thriving natural ecological balance.

“Excessive grazing from wild horses has not only degraded the sage-grouse habitat, but has also removed and reduced the number of native grass plants in areas, which affects the overall availability of forage grasses in the area and has reduced the number of wild horses that can be supported by current range conditions,” officials said.

Of the approximate 132 wild horses released back to the range, an estimated 66 mares will receive a 22-month Porcine Zona Pellucida 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.

Federal officials tested using birth control on a band of horses living in Fish Springs rather than rounding them up.

The band of horses was the topic of public meetings last summer where most residents said they would prefer the horses remained.

The Fish Springs band is several miles south of the Bureau of Land Management’s herd management area for the Pine Nut Mountains.