Horse roundup in mountains near Las Vegas draws protesters

The U.S. Forest Service provided this photograph of a distressed horse.
The U.S. Forest Service provided this photograph of a distressed horse.(KOLO)
Published: May. 11, 2018 at 6:04 PM PDT
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Protesters gathered at a community fire station to protest federal plans to trap about 200 wild horses in a mountain area northwest of Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management officials began the horse roundup Thursday, several days ahead of a planned Monday start.

Spring Mountains National Recreation Area manager Donn Christiansen told about 50 people at the fire station in Cold Creek late Wednesday that the horses were suffering effects of drought and couldn't remain on a hardscrabble range unable to support them.

Crowd members called the roundup cruel, unnecessary and dangerous for pregnant mares and newborn foals.

Officials said it could take up to 10 days to capture all but about 50 of the horses living around Cold Creek.

(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

U.S. Forest Service press release

USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management to

Begin Gathering Starving Wild Horses Near Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS, May 9, 2018 – Due to the availability of the Gather Contractor, the wild horse emergency gather activities will now start in the Cold Creek area of Wheeler Pass Joint Management Area (JMA), on Thursday, May 10, with afternoon set-up. The Forest Service, the lead agency on the gather will host a community meeting to provide information on the gather tonight, Wednesday, May 9, at 6 p.m., at the Cold Creek Volunteer Fire Department, 28431 Cold Creek Road, Cold Creek, Nevada, before the gather begins.

The USDA Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) retained the contractor to gather 200 wild horses in the Cold Creek area. These animals lack adequate forage and many are at risk of dying without immediate intervention. The gathered horses that are healthy enough to withstand the travel will immediately be transported the holding facility in Ridgecrest, California.

The gathered horses that are not able to initially make the trip to the Ridgecrest holding facility will immediately be moved to a temporary holding facility where they will receive health assessments and feeding. Once medically cleared by on-site veterinarians the horses will be transported to a BLM holding facility in Ridgecrest, California, where they will be made available for adoption or transferred to BLM short-term corrals or long-term pastures.

“The contractor was available earlier than originally planned, which buys us time to help the Cold Creek horses survive,” said Bill Dunkelberger, Forest Supervisor for the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest “Every day counts for these horses.”

To reduce stress on the horses and ensure the success of the gather, so the Forest Service and BLM requests no drones or helicopters fly within a five-mile radius of the gather. Because of the need for wild horses to adjust to the corrals in a quick and safe manner, only essential wild horse personnel will be allowed at the gather sites during initial operations. Depending on the animals' adjustment, public viewing through an escorted tour of the temporary holding facility may be arranged at some point during the gather. A qualified veterinarian will be on-site during all gather operations.