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Oywhee emergency horse muster at an end

July 21, 2010

The emergency muster of horses from the Oywhee herd management area in Nevada is over, with 410 horses gathered.

A dried up water hole in the Owyhee area.
The muster resumed on Friday after a judge lifted a temporary restraining order, after the Bureau of Land Management warned an estimated 500 horses in the area were at risk of dying from a lack of water.

The bureau had trucked thousands of gallons of water into the area, filling temporary troughs and reservoirs in a bid to get the animals to drink.

It hoped to hydrate the animals enough to make their removal in a helicopter-driven muster safer.

The muster had started on July 10, but around a dozen horses died in the days following from complications arising from dehydration.

An aerial investigation revealed the 500 horses at risk of dehydration.

The emergency muster began on Friday afternoon, with the gathering of 54 horses. On Saturday, the bureau contractor brought in 192 horses, followed by another 142 on Sunday.

Monday's effort saw 22 horses brought in.

The final death toll, as of today, stood at 21, a majority from dehydration-related complications.

Operations are now being relocated to the Squaw Valley area within the Rock Creek and Little Humboldt herd management areas, which, along with Oywhee, from part of the Tuscarora complex.

The bureau is targeting up to 1200 wild horses located in the three areas, including about 425 wild horses located outside the Rock Creek area.

The bureau estimates there are about 1550 wild horses in the gather area and any horses gathered above targeted removal numbers will be released.

The appropriate management level range for the areas is 337 to 561 horses. Mares released back to the range would be vaccinated with a fertility control vaccine.

The Cloud Foundation has criticised the summer muster plan and had warned of the risks posed by the Nevada heat.

It said fences had prevented horses from reaching traditional water sources.



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