A high profile horse advocate who monitors wild horse musters across the American west believes federal authorities in Nevada have acted too slowly in helping mustangs affected by drought.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has launched a roundup of up to 100 horses in the Cabin Spring area, northwest of Ely, due to worsening drought conditions on the range.
The operation to capture the horses, who live within the formally designated Triple B Herd Management Area, could take up to a month.
Recently, the agency removed starving wild horses from the Cold Creek area near Las Vegas in an emergency operation.
The president and founder of Wild Horse Education, Laura Leigh, noted that seven wild horses in the Cabin Spring area had already died as a result of the drought.
Leigh said Nevada had been suffering moderate to severe drought for four years. Each year, districts had been sending an escalating issues report to the state, she said.
“For two years we have been meeting with the BLM state office warning of these types of events.
“These events should simply never have been allowed to escalate with no proactive action.
“Anyone that has spent any time on the range in this state saw the writing on the wall and began to seriously panic two years ago.”
Leigh said Wild Horse Education tried to get the BLM to act two years ago. At that time the group pushed for monitoring and fertility control.
Although seemingly receptive, the agency had taken very little action to address the group’s concerns, Leigh said.
“This summer the agency failed to address multiple factors that they were warned were going to lead to broad scale death on the range,” she said.
“What is coming may be of epic proportions. The agency moves so slowly that this winter will likely bring literal heartbreak to anyone that cares.”
She said Wild Horse Education had spent considerable time on the ranges in northern and central Nevada. It believes there are multiple areas that face these very same pending disasters.
“No real effort was made to curtail what could be curtailed, domestic livestock use,” Leigh continued.
“There were programs in place to compensate ranchers financially for any hardship. A price will be paid for a lack of forethought. It is more than tragic that burden continually falls on the back of the wild horse.”
Leigh was also critical of the BLM for not allowing public access to monitor the Cabin Spring roundup.