Day 2 of the Fifteenmile Roundup in Wyoming
We observers are on top of our rock formation after a very steep and treacherous long climb, and we are 1.5 miles from the trap where we cannot see the trap or the run into it despite our requests yesterday. We saw two groups come in, one with 45-50 horses that ran right in front of us, bays and pintos and three foals, one small sorrel with his mom bringing up the rear. Five broke off and had to be move back to the trap. Then a bit of a wait and another group behind rock formations and draws and we barely got a glimpse before they were moved into the trap – we are guessing 50. We had a bit later start today (2 hours later) because they loaded and shipped 127 horses to Rock Springs Corrals before the helicopter first took off. It is colder and more windy today.
the helicopter brought in a group of 15-20 wild horses from behind where the trap is hidden by the hills – we saw them from quite a distance. There was a lone bay stallion who had walked all the way down the same distance the others were running – perhaps he is lame. The helicopter brought the group in then went back for the line stallion and he did not push him hard, stayed well back and brought him in slowly.
Next they brought a group of 30-40 mostly bays and we spotted a lone pinto foal, after all the rest went into the trap. He was small and scared and fast. First they tried to push him with the helicopter then he ran round the vehicles then 5 wranglers came out to get him after he ran away from the wrangler on horseback. They picked him up and carried him in, he looked ok. We will ask about him when we go look at the horses. Then the helicopter went out again bringing 35 stunning pintos in at a run. We are done for the day except the potentially 2 hour wait to see the horses in temporary pens.
When we went to the temporary pens we found out that 217 horses had been brought in today by the helicopter and two young horses had died. We are waiting to hear what cause of death was. The foal that had been separated from its mother was reunited with her and in good shape. As we walked around the horses seemed calmer, even the stallions. They had a “keeper” pen for the mares and a “keeper” pen for the mares – the plan is to roundup and bring in 700 horses, almost all that they estimate are in and outside of the HMA then release 100 of them, skewing the sex ratio to 60 mares and 40 stallions. A normal mix in a Herd Management Area is 50-50 mares to stallions, and the idea is to slow population growth. In my experience, most notably in the nearest HMA in McCullough Peaks where the did approximately 33 stallions to 67 mares, this causes massive instability and chaos in the family bands, and lots of fighting and injuries in the stallions. This is no way to control population of wild horses.
When I asked why are they not giving birth control, such as PZP to the mares as they have them right there in the pens, easy to administer they said they are using this herd as a control group as it has never had any horse in this herd given birth control of any kind.
Tonight there is snow moving in so we are prepared to go out but weather may halt the roundup for a day, we will not know until we meet at the BLM office in the morning.