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BLM Temporarily Suspends Tuscarora Wild Horse Gather

The Bureau of Land Management in the United St...

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Heather Emmons:  775-861-6594

Reno, Nev.–The Bureau of Land Management announced today that it is temporarily suspending the Tuscarora wild horse gather operations in Elko County, Nev., after BLM staff determined that gathered horses were dehydrated after seven gathered wild horses died from dehydration-related complications because of insufficient water in the area. The BLM also announced that the Tuscarora gather operations, aimed at removing horses from overpopulated herds, will remain on hold until an assessment has been completed to determine how to best proceed in light of the current condition of these horses.

“Our agency is committed to the humane treatment of wild horses and burros, both on and off the range,” BLM Director Bob Abbey said. “Toward that end, I am suspending further Tuscarora gather operations until the situation concerning the initial stage of the Tuscarora gather is analyzed and thoroughly understood, and the options for minimizing mortality of horses weakened by dehydration can be assessed.”

The Tuscarora wild horse gather encompasses the Owyhee, Rock Creek, and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas (HMAs) located in northern Elko County. The BLM initiated gather operations in the northern portion of the Owyhee HMA at 6:30 a.m., Saturday, July 10. By 9 a.m., the BLM contractor had gathered 228 wild horses, consisting of one group of approximately 32 horses located within a mile of the on-site temporary holding corrals, and a second group of approximately 196 horses located about eight miles from the corrals.

On arrival it was noted the horses were “drawn up,” or lacking fill from water. They were, however, generally in good body condition with most scoring 4 to 5 on what is known as the Henneke body condition scale. The horses were provided with hay and water through the afternoon and evening. One horse was euthanized shortly after being gathered due to a fractured leg that occurred in the temporary holding corrals.

The morning of July 11, four horses were found dead in the pens and several horses were exhibiting signs of colic and brain swelling which was subsequently attributed to water starvation/dehydration and subsequent water intoxication. Gather operations were stopped at that point, and BLM staff, specialists, the gather contractor and the on-site U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian began treating the horses. So far, seven horses have died from complications related to water starvation/dehydration or subsequent water intoxication. It was determined this was a direct result of a lack of water in the immediate areas occupied by the horses. The BLM brought in extra water, tank trucks and troughs to the temporary holding site to ensure that all gathered animals have ample water available. Electrolytes were provided in each pen and affected animals were examined and treated as indicated by the veterinarian on site.

The private contractor conducted an aerial flyover of the immediate area Sunday morning, July 11, and located two large bands of wild horses. One band, approximately 100 to 150 horses, is staying close to a nearly dried-up water hole. The second band, approximately 150 to 200 horses, is located approximately eight to 10 miles from the nearest water source. Both of these bands are presently at risk of mortality from dehydration if they do not reach other water sources. The BLM is unable to bring water into this area because the area where these bands are located is not readily accessible by road. The BLM will carefully monitor the two bands of horses during the next few days to determine whether they are independently moving to other water sources or can be encouraged to reach such waters on their own. The BLM will also continue to provide food, water and veterinary care for the animals in the on-site temporary holding corrals.

As more information becomes available it will be posted at the website: For further comments and questions, the public may call 1-866-468-7826.

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12 replies »

  1. This is nuts. Blaming insufficient water, and not stampeding them however many miles in 100+ heat indices? Just how stupid does BLM think the American people are?

    Nobody would run horses, especially baby foals, in this heat, unless they wanted to kill them, or didn’t care. The deaths were a predictable outcome, not an anamoly to blame on the horses being too stupid to move where BLM wanted them.

    BLM press release … did BP’s Tony Hayward write it?

    The American people have had enough. Give us our horses back, and fire the whole lot of these corporate Jennys for corruption and animal cruelty.


  2. I wonder if they could use helicopters with the big buckets – the kind used to drop water on forest fires – to get water into that shrinking waterhole or other catchment basins. I know it would be disruptive, but if the other copters (2?) could be used to SLOWLY herd the horses to a safe distance while the water was carefully dropped, maybe it could work.

    Firefighters have been very successful using this method on the bosque fires along the Rio Grande. Of course, they have the river as a source to pick up water. Are there any bodies of water within a reasonable distance? Evidently, sometimes a syphon is used if the water source is too shallow to dip the bucket..

    There are allot of buckets with different capacities. This company manufactures some of the largest, but it also takes the proper sized helicopter for pickup and delivery.



  3. It was insanity to begin this raid, the only sanity occurred after what was predictable happened. We told them this would happen, everyone told them yet they had to sacrifice at least 7 lives so they could say it was their idea and they are such humanitarians. BLM spies let it be known, and I’d say this to your face any day, you are ignorant of even the basics of horse management. What about the occurrences did you not see coming? Were you so beholding to oil, mining and cattle that you said damn the torpedoes full speed ahead. Horses died miserable horribly painful deaths. Brain swelling???!!!!! You know what that must have felt like and you left them to their own devices over night so you could come and bulldoze them out in the morning. God forbid you should have left them alone in the first place but………….what the heck I’ll stop my rant, you’d have to have a heart and soul to get it anyway. I spit on all of you, killers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  4. You know what? These jerks are certifiable ASSH****!

    Why don’t you BLM horse whackers go ask the many equine knowledgeable persons that have repeatedly tried to work with you what the problem is?

    Oh, that’s right. Range conditions via NOAA and advocates say water is fine, but when you asshats run them into the gound (notice the careful and repeated distance comments by Beat Living Mustangs [BLM]) that there ain’t enough water out there!

    Interesting comment. Let’s see…not enough water, that’s why we’re rounding them up, but they are dying from not enough water (NOT YOUR ROUNDUP SH*T…yeah right and the chickens with teeth thing), but we (BLM) didn’t give them water before the round up because we know they are dehydrated (like the freaking equines can’t find it on their own and if they couldn’t they wouldn’t be there in the first place) and WHOOPS…they are dropping dead.

    I hope you JERKS are reading this…but you and your contracting idiots have violated every piece of educated instruction I have ever received from my AG college

    But you DOI have been attending the school of special interest. BTW, via EWA the LATimes put out a scorcher about how the Obama Administration is doing the stifle the science square dance….very good read.


  5. well…let’s see…if a mountain fire can be put out by helicopters carrying water. ..I’m pretty sure if these water deprived horses needed water a helicopter could lift a HUGE trough of it in to them… probably a lot cheaper then rounding them up,running them in 90 degree + weather…and KILLING them…



  6. Oh yeah, but all of these horses over this vast area have to go —- Posthaste.

    You see, some of the horses had left one of the HMAs in this Complex,and were further South in the big Barrick Goldstrike Squaw Valley allotment, dead in the path of the Ruby/BP pipeline, which runs through the Barrick allotment outside the Rock Creek HMA.

    THAT’s what the summer death herding is all about. Wouldn’t want an El Paso Ruby BP dynamiting operation to have to be held up by a horse, or anything like that. Time is money, doncha know? Wouldn’t want to slow down industrial destruction of the planet and profiteering for any little nuisances like failed Blow Out preventers — or live animals.


  7. hi everyone, i would like to be heard myself. first i would like to say it is a good feeling to know that there are people who would like to see our wildlife allowed their givin rights to coexist. i find it very scarey how society has determined we are the only creatures with any purpous on this planet. i own a cattle business and know that my chosen industry is largely to blame for hoarding all the range land and, killing off natural predators who manage herd size the way it was intended. that being said i belive there are answers that can solve the problems and i think it will take willingness for a little give and take on both sides. from the blm it will take an opening of the leaderships mind(whitch is unlikely to happen until someone is fired and someone new takes over). simplicity is key, it is a marathon not a sprint. why should these animals be foced to haul ass where they’re going, that alone causes most of the problem. advocates against roundups need to chose their battles, right wrong or indifferent these gatherings will not stop until another viable solution is determined. if i had it my way we as people would stop encroaching relentlessly into their homelands or at the very least share. i personally belive that i can and am ivestigating the possability of doing, a better job gathering the horses. i think they can be influenced in the direction stopping at predetermined rest stops along the way while never forcing a full run , at the begining i belive their natural fear will incite some running, but by keeping our distance and just influencing them rather than forcing the our hand i belive they will leisurly head the desired direction. it is also my opinion that animals not adopted out need to be rereleased with other same herd members to where they came from. i belive i can do this and sure i would want to be paid, but our govt. spends untolled money on the stupidest things to make our elected officials comfortable every day, anyone who bitches about cost ought to maybe ask where their tax dollars have been spent in the last twenty four hours. attacking the blm will not save a mustang tommorow in fact it will likely put up walls, somehow the people who care about these animals need be incharge of their wellfare just like the people in charge of the national parks. so i guess my real reason to write is i want a shot at helping my personal favorite icon in a way that i am capable, i can think like a horse, i care, and i would like to see the issues resolved, if anyone knows how to send the blm a roundup bid and proposal here is my real e-mail i will not sign up for any webcasts and would prefere not to be personally attacked for my opinons but if you must be sure to leave me your adress for a response.


    • Hi Phil. Glad to make your “virtual” aquaintance. You make some very sensible points and I was happy to read them. Question is, would the BLM read them or give them any credence?

      My position is that the entire wild horse and burro program has been a failure for many, many years due to a complete LACK of managment of the herds. As a rancher, would you allow your cattle to breed indiscriminately over a span of 4-5 years on limited feeding grounds without ANY removals? What kind of management is that?

      I contend the BLM Wild Horse & Burro Program has perpetuated and continues to perpetuate it’s own crisis. They should have been managing on a minimally intrusive but continung basis all along – balancing removals with adoption demand. Now they’re in a pickle and everything’s an “emergency”, valid or not.

      Also, as you’ve said, we shouls be returning to nature’s predator/prey natural balance. Ma Nature knows what she’s doing. All humans have done is muck it up.

      Anyway, please stay with us. We need perspectives like yours!


  8. Phil, I have no problem with your comments or how you worded them. That is a huge point. Others have come on to this blog and attacked and insulted, you have chosen not to do this which I appreciate. We would like to see an end to the raids but like you stated this probably won’t happen soon. We have tried and tried again to work with the blm, given proposals, politely asked for info. Phil unfortunately it doesn’t work with them we get stomped on every time. Like you said someone needs to get fired or the wh&b program needs to be removed from blm entirely. I don’t know how to submit a bid to a government agency, I would suggest calling BLM headquarters or your local blm office to see what info they can give you, an internet search can be done but you have to plow through a lot of layers. Is there anyway we could work with the cattle ranchers? Please be aware that with energy making more money for the blm and feds than grazing leases they will most likely be coming for you next and if you are a small ranch your probably first on their hit list. We need to pull together in spite of the blm doings.


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