“The current population of wild horses in the Conger Complex is far above the number the range can handle,” said Field Office Manager Mike Gates. “Our horses are healthy and we want them to remain healthy. We must manage the population at appropriate levels to maintain an ecological balance on the range.”
Beginning in Sept. 2010, the BLM plans to gather and remove an estimated 480 wild horses for placement in the adoption program or long-term pastures. An estimated 50 studs of the captured wild horses from the Confusion Mountain HMA will be returned to the range to adjust the sex ratio and slow population growth. Up to 30 of the Conger Mountain HMA wild horses will be released (about 20 studs of the captured wild horses will be returned to the range to adjust the sex ratio and slow population growth and about 10 mares will be treated with fertility control and returned to the range). This will bring the population of horses to appropriate management levels established through the Warm Springs and House Range Resource Management Plans.
The Confusion Mountain HMA is located in Juab and Millard Counties 30 miles north of Garrison, Utah, and encompasses approximately 293,000 acres, with a current population estimated at 368 wild horses (based on a Feb. 2010 population inventory). The Appropriate Management Level (AML) for the Confusion Mountain HMA has been established at 70-115 wild horses. This means that 250 horses will need to be removed during the gather to achieve AML.
The Conger HMA is located in Millard County 20 miles northeast of Garrison, Utah, and encompasses approximately 170,000 acres, with a current population estimated at 291 wild horses (based on a Feb. 2010 population inventory). The AML for the Conger HMA has been established at 40-80 wild horses. This means that 230 horses will need to be removed during the gather to achieve AML.
AML is determined through land-use planning efforts that involve public participation, vegetation inventories and allocation of forage in terms of animal unit months; the BLM determines the appropriate number of wild horses and burros that each Herd Management Area can support in balance with other uses of and resources on public land. Planning efforts include an inventory and the monitoring of all uses of the public rangelands. “Animals removed from the HMA will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program,” Gates said.
Those that are not adopted will be cared for in long-term pastures, where they retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The BLM does not send any horses to slaughter.
More details on the gather and opportunities for public visitation will be available soon from the BLM. The gather and impacts are described and analyzed in the Conger Mountain Complex Wild Horse Gather Plan Final Environmental Assessment (EA). The EA and the Decision Record are posted on the BLM website at www.blm.gov/ut . The BLM also will provide updates and information at the same web address on a regular basis throughout the course of the gather.
To learn more about the program or to obtain an adoption application, visit the BLM National Wild Horse and Burro website at http://www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov/ .