Federal authorities in Nevada plan to gather wild horses in the 28,000-acre Little Fish Lake herd management area early next month which they say are threatened by a lack of forage.
The helicopter muster, scheduled for February 8, will target 150 wild horses in the area, which is about 70 miles northeast of Tonopah.
Fifty horses will be released back into the area, with all mares being treated with the birth control agent Porcine Zona Pellucidae (PZP-22).
About 100 horses will be taken to the Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse & Burro Corrals in Ridgecrest, California, where they will be prepared for adoption by the public.
About 100 horses will remain in the herd management area after the operation.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) says drought conditions have persisted throughout Nevada since 2012, leading to pending emergency conditions in Nye County that seriously threaten the health and well-being of the wild horses.
“BLM has been monitoring drought and forage conditions within the herd management area,” the bureau’s Tonopah Field Office, within the Battle Mountain District, said in a statement.
“The US Drought Monitor shows the herd management area is in severe drought which, coupled with overutilization by wild horses, has left the HMA with limited available forage for the winter.”
Lack of vegetation and range impacts from overpopulation by wild horses was also affecting important habitat used by greater sage-grouse, the office said.
It said it intended to offer public viewing opportunities for the operation.