Federal authorities in Nevada plan to gather up to 100 wild horses northwest of Ely due to worsening drought conditions.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is targeting the horses in the Cabin Spring area, which falls within the formally designated Triple B Herd Management Area. It plans to use hay and water to lure the horses.
The BLM says the worsening drought and horse overpopulation had created emergency conditions in the area that seriously threatened the wellbeing of the horses.
It said seven horses had already died and four more were euthanized due to poor body condition and/or acute injuries with a poor prognosis for recovery.
The agency said it had been closely monitoring drought conditions district-wide and had been supplementing the Cabin Spring horses with water, delivered through troughs.
However, water remained limited at the spring, which was the only perennial water source for 16 miles. As a result, wild horse health had declined, with the animals targeted in the muster having body scores of 1-3 on the Henneke nine-point scale.
It said wild horses with a score of 2 or less were at risk of death if they remained on the range, given the current conditions.
A veterinarian will be on call during the gather, which is expected to take between a week and a month.
Horses will be taken to the National Wild Horse and Burro Center at Palomino Valley, 20 miles north of Reno, Nevada, where they will be prepared for the BLM’s adoption program.