Fish Springs herd not up for gather | RecordCourier.com

Fish Springs herd not up for gather

A wild mare and her foal in the Pine Nut Range in 2017.

A round-up of nearly 600 wild horses in the Pine Nut Mountains scheduled to start this week won't include the Fish Springs herd.

Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Lisa Ross confirmed a gather proposed for this week won't include the roughly five-dozen horses who live in the southern portion of the Pine Nuts.

The bureau announced it planned to gather horses in the management area near Carson City. The gather was originally scheduled to begin on Wednesday but has been postponed due to the weather.

"Excessive grazing from wild horses has already degraded sage grouse habitat and reduced the amount of native grass both inside and outside the area," Ross said in a statement issued last week.

Of the 775 horses estimated to be on the range, the BLM plans to take 575 with the help of a helicopter. The horses will be transported to the Palomino Valley corrals.

"This massive roundup is the BLM continuing the status quo of rounding up and stockpiling wild horses rather than working with locals to humanely manage wild horses on the range," said Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates board member Deniz Bobol. "We urge the BLM to reduce the scale of this roundup and work with local groups to humanely manage the horses in the area with birth control as supported by the vast majority of local residents and Americans."

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Dosing horses with PZP, a horse contraceptive, was piloted in Fish Springs by the BLM and the Pine Nut Wild Horse Advocates. Bolbol said the advocates are moving forward and hope to expand their partnership with the BLM.

Minden resident Craig C. Downer said the Pine Nuts have space for more than 1,500 horses, well above the level 118-179-horse level.

A wildlife ecologist with the Wild Horse and Burro Fund, Downer said his book, "The Wild Horse Conspiracy," has proof wild horses "restore nutrient-rich and moisture-retaining humus to soils and disperse and aid germination for a wholesome variety of seeds. These benign ecological roles are played by horses to a greater degree than ruminant herbivores, such as cattle, sheep and deer, and, thus, horses help ruminants. And in a wild-horse-containing ecosystem, more balanced interspecific relations benefit the threatened Sage Grouse. I have observed this. Why are established interests ignoring these greater perspectives?"

He said the horses help prevent catastrophic wildfires by eating grasses that would otherwise become tinder for wildfires.

Downer said the horses have a right to be on the range under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.