RBC I To protect the health of wild horses and rangelands, the Bureau of Land Management began an emergency wild horse gather on July 26 on the West Douglas Herd Area about 20 miles south of Rangely in Rio Blanco County. The BLM plans to remove the entire estimated population of 450 wild horses from the herd area, state and private land.
Extreme drought has limited forage production and water resources for wild horses, and the nearby Oil Springs Fire has burned critical summer habitat and limited access to water sources.
“This emergency gather will prevent further deteriorating body condition of the wild horses in the area due to limited food and water,” said White River Field Office Manager Bill Mills. “The removal of excess wild horses over the next few weeks will protect the rangelands and reduce impacts to sensitive animal species and adjoining private properties.”
Since 1975, the BLM White River Field Office determined the West Douglas Herd Area was not identified for the management of wild horses. The BLM will conduct gather operations using drive trapping which has been proven effective in these areas. The gather is expected to last approximately 19-25 days.
When possible, the media and public will be allowed to observe the gather when safety requirements have been fulfilled and without negatively impacting the agency’s ability to gather horses. The BLM has established the West Douglas Herd Area Gather Info Line at 970-673-7768 for an update on the next day’s gather activities, meeting times, and location.
For information about the West Douglas Herd Gather, visit https://blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/colorado/2021-west-douglas-herd-area-emergency-wild-horse-gather.
For more information on BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, visit BLM.gov/WHB.
PRESS RELEASE | Special to the Herald Times