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Working for better management options and cohabitation through compromise and communication for the American Wild Mustang

BLM Press Release: Tuscarora Emergency Rescue Gather Operations Continue, July 18, 2010

Posted by Texas Mustang Project on July 18, 2010

For immediate release: Sunday, July 18, 2010
Contact:  Doran Sanchez, 775-722-9796,
Tuscarora Emergency Rescue Gather Operations Continue
Reno, Nev. — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) gather contractor resumed emergency rescue gather operations today and by 12 noon had gathered a total of 142 excess wild horses, including 57 mares, 23 foals and 62 studs.
The contractor brought the first group of 77 excess wild horses from the Star Ridge area in at 9:30 a.m.  The animals are in very poor condition as a result from water starvation/dehydration-related complications, and currently are receiving food, water and veterinarian care by BLM staff, specialists and the on-site U.S. Department of Agriculture veterinarian.
The contractor brought in a second group of 65 excess wild horses from the Chimney Creek area at approximately 12 noon.  From initial observation, this group of animals appears to be in better condition than expected.
The 192 wild horses gathered yesterday also appear stable, which may indicate they were drinking from the water 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.  No horses in this group died overnight.
The BLM has hauled more than 30,000 gallons of water during the past week, including 800 gallons of water to the Bookkeeper Spring area. The BLM has been coordinating with local ranchers who own the water rights and who are
allowing the BLM to use their water/water sources (reservoirs and wells) to provide water to the horses.  The ranchers also have opened gates to allow horses access to water.  There are no cattle within this immediate area.
Of the 616 excess wild horses gathered to date, 18 animals have died, of which 16 resulted directly from pre-existing water
starvation/dehydration-related complications, severe congenital deformity and physical injuries – not from gather-related operations: 13 died as a direct result of water starvation/dehydration-related complications, including one foal transported to the Palomino Valley Center (PVC) on Wednesday, July 14; a 20 plus year old blind stud with broken teeth and two
2-3 month old foals with deformed and crippled front legs and incurable lameness were humanely euthanized Saturday, July 17; one horse was euthanized shortly after being gathered on Saturday, July 10 due to a fractured leg that occurred in the temporary holding corrals; and one horse died today from a neck injury that occurred in the temporary holding
This morning the contractor shipped 37 studs to the Gunnison Prison Wild Horse Training Facility at the Central Utah Correctional Facility, and 49 mares and 42 foals to the PVC.
The 75 studs shipped Saturday, July 17 to the Gunnison Facility arrived 6:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.  Utah State Veterinarian Dr. Bruce King was on site when the horses arrived.  All the wild horses made the trip and unloaded without incident.  The animals were placed in small pens and will be monitored closely. Grass hay and unlimited water was provided to each pen.
The 37 horses shipped to the PVC yesterday (13 wet mares, 4 dry mares, 8 foals and 12 studs) arrived at approximately 6:00 p.m.  No immediate health concerns were noted upon arrival. All animals unloaded from the trucks in stable condition and were placed in pens where there was grass hay and water with and without electrolytes.
The BLM is currently conducting daily fixed wing aerial reconnaissance to locate the bands and document the on-ground conditions of the wild horses and the public lands.  BLM specialists have reported seeing some horses down in certain areas within the Owyhee Herd Management Area.  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 from the ground, as recommended by the Review Team in their Interim Report to BLM Director Bob Abbey.
The BLM reinitiated emergency rescue gather operations 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 that had temporarily stopped gather operations.
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.
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.


12 Responses to “BLM Press Release: Tuscarora Emergency Rescue Gather Operations Continue, July 18, 2010”

  1. Lisa LeBlanc said

    The blind stallion & the two infants with foreleg deformities – will there be any further investigation into the the causes?
    It would seem to be a logical step in asserting range health (or possible water contamination?).
    Not lookin’ to cast aspersions, lay blame or wax sarcastic. The roundups are a done deal, but infirmities such as this are rare, and it might be of interest to all concerned to make sure the causes aren’t environmental.

    • I was wondering about those myself. “Deformed” and “Crippled” are usually the terms used when you are describing something akin to birth defects or congenital anomalies. If this is in fact the case and not adjectives being used to describe a trauma assessment, then I would certainly hope so! One foal could be called a fluke. Two foals is not a coincidence.

    • Oh! Forgot to reply about the blind stallion… Sorry, long day…
      The blindness is more likely than not a result of the dehydration. The process is a little long and drawn out to explain but the short version is something like this:

      dehydration -> not enough water in the blood -> “sludge-like” blood = decreased circulation
      dehydration -> not enough water in the muscles -> production of lactic acid -> build up in the blood
      lactic acid + dehydrated blood + some circulation = burned blood vessels & nerves


      • Aleta Pahl said

        just tell me why a federal agency uses private land for official federal government business? Does the BLM pay these private individuals for this use of their land adding more unneccessary costs to the taxpayers? It seems to everyone that has seen how BLM works, that this use of private land is intentional so observers cannot see that happens and which horses die or killed for some reason or another. There are sinister truths out there and The BLM hides and hides and lies and lies.

        • That’s just the thing… None of us know for sure right now. One side says one thing, the other side says another. I don’t think that they are paying the private landowner for their use, I think they just have permission and have to clean up their mess when they leave.
          Yes, there are sinister truths and sinister lies out there… Where they come from I don’t know… Lord knows I wish I did.
          At this point, the only thing I can go off of is what is being told to all of us… Unless I get some other concrete evidence to the contrary, I can’t say differently. If you have it or know where it is, please – by all means, please – send it our way and I promise I will track it down. But I simply cannot go on something that doesn’t have hard facts and evidence behind it. It doesn’t do the horses any good to chase rabbit trails and get sidetracked with theories. We’ve all seen that outcome too many times before.

  2. Lisa LeBlanc said

    With the blindness – and not knowing if it was trauma-induced, AND the foreleg deformities AND the reluctance to drink or seek out other sources of water – it seems worth further investigation.
    Again, no blame or recriminations.

    • Agreed. There were necropsies performed on the initial casualties but I haven’t found out yet if the latter casualties were necropsied. I would hope that they were just for the fact of their deaths, but more so because of the circumstances surrounding the deaths.
      The reluctance to drink or seek out other sources of water could be explained by the severity of their dehydration. When an Equine becomes dehydrated, the spiral downhill goes pretty rapidly. This is 1000 – 2000 pounds of body that requires a lot of processes every milisecond to continue its primary functions. More so in a Wild Equine – because of their smarts and experience with such conditions – the Equine’s body will go directly into conservation mode once that fine line is crossed that says, “Hey, you’re running out of fuel here bud. Might want to find a gas station.” So the Equine says, ok, I gotta get to the next pit stop, but I gotta do it the right way so that I actually make it to the pit stop.
      Just like when you’re in your car driving in the desert, and you unexpectedly run out of gas, you shut off your AC, don’t make any unnecessary fast accelerations, and keep your speeds at the bare minimum to make it out but not to decrease your miles per gallon. But these conservation measures can only last so long, and eventually if you don’t find a gas pump, you will run out of gas. So you stop before you are completely dry to conserve what you have left for emergencies. Then your car is basically running on battery power only, only using the gas to start up for a minute or two and let the alternator recharge the battery. You don’t move any further, you don’t venture out.
      These horses – again, from what I understand at this point – were basically in the same situation.
      Big difference here? The horses were at their Last Stand. They had used their “reserve tanks” and didn’t have anything left to seek out water. While your car and you could remain ok for some time the way that you were, the Equine’s mind would begin to suffer the same effects described in my previous reply. Dementia, delerium, and altered mental status. They didn’t know there was water there because at that point, more likely than not, they didn’t even know what water was and certainly didn’t have the mental faculties left to smell the water from 2-3 miles away. They couldn’t move. They couldn’t find the water. They were at their Last Stand. That was it.

    • Scratch all that Lisa… At least in regards to this particular stud… Just got word that this stud was blind due to having one eye. Not sure of the circumstances, but was told that he only had one eye when he arrived at the trap site.
      Also was told that the two colts had “knocked knees” but no other details. Blasted cell phone batteries run out too fast!

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