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BLM Press Release, July 14, 2010 – BLM Takes Emergency Actions to Provide Water to Wild Horses

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 14, 2010

BLM Nevada News
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT                                                     
For immediate release: Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Contact:  Heather Emmons, 775-861-6594,
JoLynn Worley, 775-861-6515,                                        

BLM Takes Emergency Actions to Provide Water to Wild Horses

Reno, Nev. — Due to escalating drought conditions, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has implemented emergency actions to provide water to wild horses within the Tuscarora gather area, which encompasses the Owyhee, Rock Creek, and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas (HMAs) located in northern Elko County, Nev.  

The BLM gather contractor conducted an aerial flyover of the Owyhee HMA at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday morning, July 13, and located two large groups of wild horses: the Dry Creek group consisting of approximately 125 wild horses; and the Star Ridge group consisting of approximately 400 animals.

The Star Ridge group is located around a dry reservoir and making no attempt to move to the nearest water source located approximately 10 miles away at the South Fork Owyhee River.  The animals are considered at risk of dying from complications of water starvation/dehydration.  While some of the Dry Creek group has recently watered, the BLM remains concerned and will continue to monitor the group.   

“BLM Nevada considers this an emergency situation,” said Ron Wenker, BLM Nevada State Director. “Yesterday afternoon the BLM implemented a short-term emergency strategy to provide the animals water during the next four to five days in an effort to stabilize their health condition.”

The BLM installed six water troughs with a combined capacity of 3,000 gallons near and around a reservoir located about two to three miles from where the Star Ridge group is located, and used a water tanker to fill the troughs.  If the wild horses do not independently travel to this water, the BLM will assess having the gather contractor use his helicopter to gently and slowly guide the animals toward the water with the hope that they will drink.

“A large number of these excess wild horses could die if they are not gathered,” added Wenker. “Therefore, BLM Nevada’s goal is to gather these animals within four to five days after stabilizing their immediate water starved condition.” 

The BLM cannot sustain this level of support to provide water to the animals over the long-term because of the limited road access and the poor condition of roads in this area.  This drought condition scenario was considered and analyzed by the BLM in the environmental assessment prepared for the gather. 

The BLM also has organized a review team consisting of BLM and independent experts to analyze the on-the-ground conditions of wild horses and the public rangelands.  Team members include Mike Mottice, BLM Oregon/Washington Associate State Director (Team Leader); Tom Pogacnik, BLM California Deputy State Director, Natural Resources; Dr. Boyd Spratling DVM & BLM’s National Wild Horse Advisory Board; Eric Reid, Wild Horse/Burro Specialist, Fillmore, Utah; Dr. Klell Ekins, Equine DVM; and Robin Lohnes, American Horse Protection Association & BLM National Wild Horse Advisory Board.

BLM Nevada has been coordinating closely with Review Team members regarding the current drought conditions and related impacts on the wild horses.  The Team currently is in Nevada and will be assessing overall gather operations.  The Team will develop a report and provide recommendations to the BLM Director as to if and/or when planned gather operations should be resumed, and under what conditions.

The BLM continues to provide food, water and veterinary care for the 216 wild horses in the on-site temporary holding corrals.  No wild horses died on Tuesday and the health conditions of the animals appear to be stabilizing. Given the overall improvement of the condition of the animals that were gathered last Saturday, the BLM today shipped three truckloads with 88 mares and 41 foals (129) to the Palomino Valley Center (PVC) regional adoption facility, located 20 miles north of Sparks, Nev. 

The BLM initiated gather operations on Saturday, July 10, and gathered 228 excess wild horses.  To date, eleven horses have died from complications related to water starvation/dehydration or subsequent water intoxication.  Based on necropsies of the dead horses by the on-site veterinarian, the BLM has determined the mortalities were a direct result of a lack of water in the immediate areas occupied by the horses.  One horse was euthanized shortly after being gathered due to a fractured leg that occurred in the 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.



13 Responses to “BLM Press Release, July 14, 2010 – BLM Takes Emergency Actions to Provide Water to Wild Horses”

  1. Linda H said

    This is what the BLM should have been doing permanently all along. Lots of other arid herd areas do this. Have wells, catchments, etc. The horses they gathered were said to have high body scores, so it’s apparent they are getting plenty of food. Putting in water is a lot cheaper than roundups. It’s a win/win!

    • sandra longley said

      And..horses will not eat if they cannot drink…so this means these horses have been without water maybe 2 days..a day driving them down there and a day standing there..confused and know that same look they have at the corrals when they have been driven in…

      • sandra longley said

        Add to the fact they were driven and does not take long to become dehydrated…if they have not been drinking..then they have not been eating..and if thats the can they be scoring a 4/5 body condition according to the BLM.???Do you know a fairy tale when you hear it?

  2. Morgan Griffith said

    couldn’t have said it better Linda

  3. Something’s fishy here because horses normally sense where the water is and go to it. Is there a strong fence preventing this?

    • betty said

      OPne of the reasons given for this round up earlier was to prevent the horss from breaking down fences. Perhaps the fences are around water?

  4. Donna Buscemi said

    Is it also possible that if they are severely dehydrated already they know better than to travel a long distance?

    This water shortage surely is no surprise to the contractor and the BLM. And if the BLM was truely managing the land and “caring”/”protecting” the mustangs- then providing water should have already been a part of their management plans.

    Everything with them is a day late but never a dollar short! Don’t they see that they bring all the bad press and feelings from us on themselves? Really hate to say “we told ya so” but…

  5. sandra longley said

    I am not convinced-nor have I seen proof there is a water shortage..certainly not this time of year and with only 2 weeks of summer weather..I believe those water sources being refered to as dry were in the spring grazing areas..horses move upland to their summer areas as do ALL wildlife in normal miogratory patterns..I believe the horses were pushed to areas they had already abandened, there are 23 sources of water on this HMA and those horses know where everyone is and at what time of year to move..This has been an abnormally wet, cold and long spring…not the year to have an “emergency not for a minute accept what BLM has said…it defys common sense and knowledge of wild animal behavior.

    • sandra longley said

      You know i can see this happening next year..after older herd mares have been removed, and familys disrupted and not does not assume the role of “herd mare” until she is of sufficient age and experience to move the herd on years of experience…Trust me a herd mare remains just that until she willing gives up that posistion..challenges go on in the pecking order below her..but a herd mare is respected by the band. The blm puts all horses at risk by removing or killing the older mares..and you can invision the resulting chaos and disaster that ensues on the range after these gathers.

      • Yes, Sandra, We know that, but BLM has no respect or concern for life or well being of the Wild Horses and Burros, let alone honoring their family units, bands and herds in the proper ratio and balance.

  6. PULL THE PLUG on BLM until they stop operating on the level of a TWO year old child – completely lacking rational thinking or good judgment.
    Even my handicapped child knows that animals need fresh water, food and family, every day. She has Cerebral Palsy and is developmentally delayed, yet she knows and understands these simple, basic principles of life. Why can’t BLM with their billion-dollar expenditures and teams of “experts” and “contractors” figure out something that a retarded child knows, and helps facilitate (making sure her pets ALWAYS have adequate food, water, shelter and care). She puts her own wants aside to be sure her pets are cared for… Unlike BLM who goes out of their way, and spends billions of tax dollars, to CAUSE mayhem, suffering, brutality and fractured family units to thousands of innocent living beings. Will somebody please STOP the long, LONG trail of BLM inexcusable, outrages crimes against Nature and ripping off the American people? PULL THE PLUG on BLM!! They have been operating, far too long, on the level of a TWO year old child – lacking rational thinking or good judgment – only wanting to do their own thing, their own way!!

    • P.S. Even children know it is despicable to use “mean treatment” – violence, force, terror – against defenseless living beings, yet some still do. Aren’t we taught from an early age to do no harm – besides being morally wrong, it also brings harm to ourselves: “Do to others as we want others to do to us”?? Perhaps the BLM staff, management and contractors never had the benefit of learning these basics, or else they would KNOW to never allow (or purposely DO) criminal treatment against the wild horses and burros, who the law specifically says they are to PROTECT. These living beings did nothing to deserve being terrified, brutalized, have their families torn from them, be imprisoned in deplorable conditions, starved, and suffering thirst, or die an agonizing death from thirst or injuries sustained from the brutalities of the roundups. Eventually people will be treated the same as they have treated others. That will be good for people who have treated others fairly and with compassion … but a dreadful time for those who have deliberately perpetrated evil and harm against other living beings.

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