In line with its commitment to maintaining healthy wild horses while managing for sustainable, working public lands, the Bureau of Land Management plans to begin gathering and removing wild horses on or after Aug. 6, 2018, from the Red Desert Wild Horse Complex in southwestern Wyoming.
The Red Desert Complex, which includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek herd management areas, is located in Sweetwater, Carbon, Fremont and Natrona counties west and south of Wyoming Highway 287.
Based on recent aerial surveys, the BLM estimates that the Red Desert Complex’s population is approximately 3,500 wild horses, while the appropriate management level is 480–724 horses. In addition, the horses are moving outside of their established herd management areas and causing impacts in areas not identified for their management.
The BLM Rawlins and Lander field offices will remove approximately 2,670 adult horses to return the population closer to the appropriate management level. Following the gather, select mares and stallions will be returned to the complex to ensure genetic variability and to preserve the New World Iberian Genotype present in the complex. All mares returned will be treated with fertility control.
While the gather is underway, public lands will remain open unless closures are deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Because of low-flying aircraft, all drone use will be prohibited within 20 miles of the immediate gather area. Occasional road closures may also be necessary to permit movement of wild horses during gather operations.
Members of the public are welcome to view the daily gather operations, provided that doing so does not jeopardize the safety of the animals, staff and observers, or disrupt gather operations. The BLM will escort the public to gather observation sites located on public lands. Those interested in participating must notify Sarah Beckwith at firstname.lastname@example.org or (307) 347-5207.
Participants must provide their own transportation, water and food. The BLM recommends footwear and clothing suitable for harsh field conditions and a four-wheel drive, high clearance vehicle. Public restrooms will not be available onsite.
Gathered wild horses will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Animals not adopted will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act. The BLM is committed to managing and protecting these living symbols of the historic and pioneering spirit of the West and will continue to care for and seek good homes for animals that have been removed from the range.