Emergency roundup ordered for starving horses near Las Vegas

Federal authorities announced plans Friday to round up as many as 200 wild horses to save them from starvation in the mountains outside of Las Vegas.

The Bureau of Land Management will launch the emergency gather Saturday near the small community of Cold Creek, in the Spring Mountains about 50 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Drought and overpopulation have left the horses with little natural forage and forced them to travel more than 10 miles between water sources, according to the federal agency.

Karla Norris, assistant manager for the BLM’s Southern Nevada district, toured the area with a veterinarian Wednesday. She said they saw almost 80 horses with conditions ranging from “exceptionally emaciated to thin.”

The veterinarian estimated up to half of the herd might not make it through the winter, Norris said. “Their body condition is just horrific.”

Hay and water will be used to lure the horses into corrals. The operation could last from a week to a month, with a veterinarian on site throughout.

Norris said they hope to collect the most emaciated animals, but the overall goal is to reduce competition for scarce resources in the BLM’s Wheeler Pass Herd Management Area, a 102,000-acre swath of public land surrounding Cold Creek.

Even after 200 horses are removed, more than 250 will remain in the area, she said.

The situation is a microcosm of what the BLM is dealing with across the West, where there are too many wild horses and not enough resources to manage them or places to keep them once they’re removed from the range.

A population survey in May counted about 470 adult horses in the Wheeler Pass Herd Management Area. Norris said the area shouldn’t have more than 66 horses, according to the BLM’s own “appropriate management level” for what the land can sustain.

The agency’s last roundup there in 2007 removed 101 animals, but a wild horse herd can double in size every four to five years, Norris said.

Rhea Little moved to Cold Creek 10 years ago because of her love of wild horses. She said she understands rounding up some of the animals to keep them from starving, but she’s skeptical of both the BLM’s tactics and its motives.

“I’m hoping I’m wrong, and they’ll be a little more compassionate,” she said.

Little also questions the agency’s figures. She puts the population at more like 300, and she predicted that seeing one will become a rare treat for Cold Creek’s 80 or so full-time residents once two-thirds of the herd has been hauled away.

“It’s a beautiful area, and it won’t be the same without our horses,” she said.

The animals that are rounded up starting Saturday will be transported about 60 miles to a temporary holding facility at the BLM-owned Oliver Ranch on state Route 159 in Red Rock Canyon, where they will be examined and provided with water and hay.

Once the horses are strong enough for a longer trip, Norris said they will be moved to a private ranch in Utah “because we don’t have any room in our BLM facilities.”

After four to five months of being fattened up and cared for, the horses will be trucked to a BLM facility to be offered for sale or adoption. Those that do not find homes will live out their lives at off-range holding pastures in the Midwest, Norris said.

The BLM cares for about 40,000 once-wild horses at facilities nationwide, she said.

BLM employees have observed horses in the Cold Creek area browsing on the bark of Joshua trees and other forage that lacks sufficient nutrients. Norris said it’s unusual and “not very healthy” behavior that speaks to the herd’s desperation.

“It’s like us being hungry so we’re eating paper,” she said. “They’re starving basically. They’re starving to death.”

A hotline with recorded information about the roundup has been established at 775-861-6700. Reports also will be posted on the BLM’s Southern Nevada District website at http://www.blm.gov/nv/st/en/fo/lvfo.html.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Find him on Twitter: @RefriedBrean

ad-high_impact_4
Local
Underground home was built as Cold War-era hideaway
The underground house at 3970 Spencer Street is one of the valley’s most unusual homes built 26 feet underground in 1978 by Girard “Jerry” B. Henderson, who, planned to survive the end of the world there.
Lip Smacking Foodie Tours takes you where the locals go
Donald Contursi talks about Lip Smacking Foodie Tours, which offers walking tours of restaurants on and off Las Vegas Boulevard with food samples and tidbits of history about the places they visit.
Bump stock manufacturers under fire
The Justice Department said last month that it had started the process to amend federal firearms regulations to clarify that federal law defines bump stocks as machine guns.
Art Bell’s Top 10 Shows
A selection of radio host Art Bell’s most popular shows.
Longtime Las Vegas attorney John Momot dies at age 74
Criminal defense attorney John Momot, who represented mob figures and even played himself in the movie “Casino,” has died.
David Copperfield in court after man injured during magic trick
The attorney for a British man who is suing illusionist David Copperfield said his client suffered serious injuries after being called on stage during Copperfield's show at MGM Grand.
5 things connecting Las Vegas and Marilyn Monroe
1. Marilyn Monroe, known then as Norma Jeane, obtained her first divorce in Las Vegas at the age of 20 on September 13, 1946. 2. According to some biographers, Monroe lived at 604 S. 3rd Street for four months during the summer of 1946. The house has since been torn down and is now the site of a parking lot. 3. In 1954, Monroe almost married Joe DiMaggio in Las Vegas but the wedding was called off last minute. The wedding was to be held at the Hotel El Rancho Vegas which was located on the southwest corner of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard. 4. Las Vegas has at least one road dedicated to the star. Marilyn Monroe Avenue is located in east Las Vegas and intersects with Betty Davis Street and Cary Grant Court. 5. There are currently more than 20 Marilyn Monroe impersonators for hire in the Las Vegas Valley.
Sir Richard Branson announces purchase of Hard Rock Hotel
Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, has acquired the Hard Rock Hotel with partners and plans to turn it into a Virgin-branded property by the end of 2019.
3 Centennial High School students killed in Calif. crash (Full)
Three Centennial High School students were killed Thursday morning in Southern California when their vehicle was struck by a suspected drunken driver while they were enjoying their spring break, according to a family member of one of the victims.
Retail Restroom Sexual Assault Suspect
Las Vegas police are asking for help finding a man they said groped a woman in a south Las Vegas Valley restroom. (Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department)
Calvary Christian Learning Academy, “There was no fair warning.”
Samantha O’Brien, whose three-year-old daughter attended the Calvary Christian Learning Academy daycare, found out Monday night when her daughter’s teacher called about the school closing.
TOP NEWS
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
Circular
You May Like

You May Like