BLM Decides on Wild Horse Growth Suppression Program

The BLM will treat mares in the Water Canyon, Nevada, area with a fertility control vaccine to reduce population growth.

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The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Nevada’s Ely District, Schell Field Office, has released a finding of no significant impact and decision record based on the analysis provided in the final environmental assessment for the Water Canyon Wild Horse Growth Suppression Pilot Program.

Under the 10-year program, the BLM will gather and treat wild horse mares in the project area with a fertility control vaccine to reduce the herd’s population growth while minimizing the number of animals that need to be removed from the area.

The goal of the project is to maintain a healthy population of 25 to 30 wild horses in the Water Canyon portion of the Antelope herd management area (HMA) in eastern Nevada. The management number is based on range conditions, water availability, and acreage comparisons, as well as seasonal movement of the animals during the summer and drier winter months. The current estimated population in the Water Canyon portion of the Antelope HMA is 66 wild horses.

Under the project plan, the BLM will start gathering the horses through a bait- and water-trap or with helicopter assistance in late September or early October and continue to gather until objectives are achieved in the project area. The BLM will treat up to 15 mares with a fertility-control vaccine (GonaCon-B) and release them back into the project area along with an equal number of male wild horses. The BLM will monitor the treated mares and apply a booster every 20 to 24 months to maintain the vaccine’s effectiveness. The BLM plans to remove 30 to 40 excess wild horses and offer them to the public for adoption through its Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program

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