Day 3 of the Fifteenmile Wild Horse Roundup in WyomingOctober 22, 2019
Fifteenmile Wild Horse Roundup Leaves Dangerously Few Wild Horses in a Unique HerdOctober 28, 2019
I am once again at the BLM Worland office parking lot waiting to go out to the Fifteenmile roundup near Worland. It is my understanding that we are once again returning to the observation point that is 1.5 miles away from the trap where we have no actual view of the trap so cannot see any difficulties that the horses encounter there, such as the three deaths that have occurred there so far. It is impossible to see the condition of the horses as they come in, and I have made repeated requests to be moved to a closer spot where we can see the horses come into the trap and my requests are falling on deaf ears.
We are on top of the steep muddy hill 1.5 miles from the trap waiting for the helicopter to bring horses. We were told BLM thinks there are only 50-70 wild horses left inside the Herd Management Area and they are expecting to be capturing outside the HMA tomorrow.
One group of 7 horses was pushed in with the helicopter at a very great distance – it was hard for us to see through the sage but I think it may be the little family I spent time with the day before the roundup. The helicopter headed out again. We were told the pilot said he was only able to see 20 horses left inside the Herd Management Area. I guess they want to get every last horse they can except the palomino stallion that jumped out of the corrals yesterday.
We watched or rather heard since for most of the run we could not see anything because of washed and rock formations, but heard the helicopter hovering in place for a long time and going very slowly over a family of 7 wild horses (a gray, 4 dark ones and two pintos which looks like the family I spent time with the day before the roundup). wild horses before they went into the trap at the Fifteenmile wild horse roundup in Wyoming. Now the helicopter pilot is going after a last family of 5 – got to get every last one within the HMA. The cold dark clouds are moving in.
Three more wild horses are being.driven toward the trap. I think these are the last horses of the day, the last inside the Herd Management Area. Tomorrow they will capture horses outside the HMA. We will wait to get a look of the horses in temporary holding – that wait can be a few minutes to a couple of hours.
We ended up waiting 3 hours before we were led around the pens to see the horses.we learned that 18 were captured today. Three wild horses were euthanized, all coming in with pre-existing conditions, two with very bad infections, one of which was in a knee, and one mare who was old with a very low body score of 1-2. Three others of those captured included a mule, and two domestic horses who were turned over to the brand inspector.
The capturing within the Herd Management Area is at an end, and next they will set up traps to capture the wild horses outside the herd management area, all of whom will be permanently removed. They will not consider returning any of the horses outside the HMA for fear they will again stray outside.
After they have captured the outside the HMA horses, they will release the 100 wild horses back into the Herd Management Area. They will release 40 mares and 60 stallions, skewing the sex ratio away from the normal 50-50 in hopes of slowing reproduction. But this can often make for more fighting between stallions and less stability for the families.
Also to ensure genetic viability, leading geneticist for wild horses, Gus Cothren says there needs to be at least 150 breeding age adults. And that is in a 50-50 herd mix. They are not releasing enough horses to maintain the best level of genetic viability.
Also they will not be giving the mares PZP birth control. They say they want to have this herd be a “control” group, never having had birth control, but if they wanted to study the herd, and have it be a control group, they should have studied it and left the horses out there instead of dooming them to yet another helicopter roundup in a few years.
Most of these horses will be available for adoption and the older horses for sale in January in Rock Springs at the Rock Springs BLM corrals.