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Press Release: “BLM Tuscarora Emergency Rescue Gather Underway” July 17, 2010

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 17, 2010

BLM Nevada News
For immediate release: Saturday, July 17, 2010
Contact:  Doran Sanchez, 775-722-9796,

BLM Tuscarora Emergency Rescue Gather Underway

Reno, Nev. — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gather contractor began Tuscarora emergency rescue gather operations at 6:30 a.m. today, and by 8:30 a.m. had gathered approximately 107 excess wild horses. BLM staff, specialists and on-site U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian are treating the animals, which are suffering from water starvation/dehydration due to a lack of water. 

After U.S. District Court Judge, Larry R. Hicks, Reno, Nev., issued a decision ruling on Friday, July 16 in favor of the BLM and rescinded a temporary restraining order, the BLM gather contractor immediately reinitiated gather operations, and brought in 54 wild horses, which are suffering from water starvation/dehydration.  

One foal among the 54 wild horses was suffering from extreme water starvation/dehydration, and was humanely euthanized this morning.  The remaining 53 animals appear to be stabilizing. 

The gather contractor will continue to gather as conditions permit.  The BLM also is conducting fixed wing aerial reconnaissance to locate the bands and document the condition of the wild horses. 

BLM field staff and specialists reported on Friday, July 16 that the condition of the wild horses within the Owyhee Herd Management Area is critical and declining rapidly. For horses that are already down and unable to be trailed and are not responding to the helicopter, the BLM will attempt to humanely euthanize those animals, as recommended by the Review Team in their Interim Report to BLM Director Bob Abbey. 

The BLM continues to haul water via water tanker to water troughs and a reservoir located within one-fourth to one-half mile of the north Owyhee horses yet only a small group have watered based on tracks in the mud.  To date, the BLM has hauled more than 20,000 gallons of water. 

The BLM this morning shipped 75 studs to the Gunnison Prison Wild Horse Training Facility at the Central Utah Correctional Facility and 37 mares and foals to the Palomino Valley Center (PVC) regional adoption facility, located 20 miles north of Sparks.  The animals shipped today were gathered on Saturday, July 10.  These excess wild horses have stabilized from water starvation/dehydration, and the BLM staff, specialists and on-site veterinarian determined it was safe to transport the animals.

The Tuscarora gather area encompasses the Owyhee, Rock Creek, and Little Humboldt Herd Management Areas (HMAs) located in northern Elko County, Nev.  The BLM initiated gather operations within the Owyhee HMA on Saturday, July 10, and gathered 228 excess wild horses, but suspended operations on Sunday after it discovered that the wild horses had been suffering from a lack of water prior to being gathered.

Since gather operations began, 13 horses have died from water starvation/dehydration-related complications — not as a result of gather-related activities.  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 before they were gathered.  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.


3 Responses to “Press Release: “BLM Tuscarora Emergency Rescue Gather Underway” July 17, 2010”

  1. reveil39 said

    Tracie, do you know if observers are allowed at the round ups or not? (Besides Laura Leigh)

    • I don’t know for sure just yet, haven’t been able to talk with anyone out there as of yet today – which I didn’t really expect to because with the state of declining health the horses were in last evening I figured they would have their hands full. I did get word that Laura made it to the area safely last evening but no word yet on whether or not she was able to get any observing done. Soon as I get any further updates, I’ll do my best to keep you guys all in the loop.
      Right now, best I can say is that we all need to pray very hard for the horses – that they will find some kind of peace in all of the chaos, pray very hard for the vets – that their hands will work swiftly and nimbly as they work on the critically ill horses and that their judgements will not be clouded, and for the gather personnel – that they will be kind in their hearts and soft in their hands, and of course for Laura and any other persons who are on site – that they remain safe and sound.

  2. I found the comment that BLM was considering employing some fixed wing reconnaisance to be interesting. Maybe they’ll figure out that failure to monitor and evaluate conditions on their ranges is more costly in terms of horses lost, bad PR and their budget than their getting it right in the first place… especially on ranges where gathers are scheduled and they’re supposed to know what’s going on out there.

    I think we need to be asking BLM how they could prepare for a gather (conduct an assessment, find no environmental impact, design a gather and get it started) without knowing there wasn’t any water out there.

    It just boggles the mind.

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