RBC | The White River Field Office began conducting gather operations to capture wild horses in the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area on June 16 in an effort to reduce the population of wild horses to the appropriate management level to protect the health of the herd and the range. The appropriate management level for the Piceance-East Douglas Herd Management Area is 135 to 235 wild horses, and the population is currently over 1,385 wild horses.
The gather will happen in two stages. Bait trap operations, where horses are drawn in by food and water, will begin on or about June 16 in an effort to gather malnourished horses. Drive-trap gather operations, which use both horseback riders and helicopters, will begin on or about July 15. The gather was originally scheduled for September of 2022, but the poor condition of the horses and range conditions coming out of the winter is driving the new schedule.
“We saw some horses really suffering in March and April,” said Elijah Waters, Northwest District Manager, Bureau of Land Management Colorado. “We were getting quite a bit of feedback from the public to do something, and we felt like the best option was to gather as soon as we could for the horses in poor condition and for the horses that will remain and need forage before going into next winter.”
“It is imperative that we bring the population of wild horses to within the appropriate management level to preserve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship in that area,” said Bill Mills, Field Manager, White River Field Office.
The horses will be transported to the BLM wild horse holding facility in Utah to be adopted, sold, or provided long-term care in off-range pastures.
A BLM wild horse virtual information meeting on this gather is scheduled for June 15 at 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time. Please visit https://blm.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_c6JZuRO5QaGO39ZVMWu5tQ for information on how to register.
The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild horse gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered. The BLM and it’s contractors will use the best available science and handling practices for wild horses while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy.
For information about the Piceance-East Douglas Gather, visit: PEDHMA (inside HMA boundaries): https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2003177/510.
For more information on BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, visit BLM.gov/WHB.
PRESS RELEASE | Special to the Herald Times