CASPER, Wyo. — The Bureau of Land Management Wyoming plan to remove about 2,400 wild horses from the Red Desert Wild Horse Complex by Oct. 6.
BLM Wyoming began to gather wild horses and burros in August 2018, but said on Wednesday that their efforts “concluded early when off-range corrals reached maximum capacity.”
The Red Desert Wild Horse Complex has a population of about 3,000 wild horses. BLM Wyoming says the “appropriate management level is 480–724 horses.”
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“In addition, the horses are moving outside of their established herd management areas and causing impacts in areas not identified for their management,” the release adds.
After gathering approximately 2,400 wild horses, BLM Wyoming say that “select mares and stallions will be returned to the complex to ensure genetic variability and to preserve the New World Iberian Genotype present in the complex. All mares returned will be treated with fertility control.”
“Gathered wild horses will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program,” the release adds. “Animals not adopted will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they retain their ‘wild’ status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act.”
The Red Desert Complex is includes Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek Herd Management Areas. It is located in Sweetwater, Fremont, Carbon and Natrona Counties to the west and south of Wyoming Highway 287.
“While the gather is underway, public lands will remain open unless closures are deemed necessary due to safety concerns,” BLM Wyoming adds. “Because of low-flying aircraft, all drone use will be prohibited within 20 miles of the immediate gather area. Occasional road closures may also be necessary to permit movement of wild horses during gather operations.”
“Opportunities are available for the public to observe gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands.”
Observers are required to provide their own transportation, food and water.
“The BLM recommends a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle,” the release adds.
COVID-19 guidelines include the following, according to BLM Wyoming:
- Always stay at least six feet from others. Avoid gathering with others outside of your household.
- Bring hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol as restrooms will not be available.
- Do not attend the gather if you are sick, recently exposed (within 14 days) to someone with COVID-19 or are not feeling well.
“Those interested in participating must notify Sarah Beckwith at email@example.com or 307-347-5207,” the release adds. “For more information and to view daily reports once the gather is underway, visit www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/wyoming/2020-Red-Desert-Complex, or contact Tim Novotny at 307-328-4200 or Clay Stott at 307-332-8400.”