NEWS RELEASE Tentative ADOPTION DATE SEPT. 28TH. POSSE GROUNDS.
August 23, 2013
Range Conditions and Wild Horse Population force BLM to gather 15- 25 wild horses from the Little Book Cliffs
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – The Bureau of Land Management has refined its wild horse removal estimate and is scheduled to begin gathering 15 – 25 wild horses from the Little Cliffs Wild Horse Range Sept. 3 to conserve range conditions for horses.
The BLM evaluated range conditions on Aug. 20 with assistance from a local wild horse volunteer group, Friends of the Mustangs. Based on that evaluation, the BLM determined that 15 – 25 horses need to be removed from the range to maintain conditions for the wild horses and the range. Horses to be removed will be five years old or younger.
"Current utilization is at or exceeding what healthy rangelands can sustain," said Wayne Werkmeister, associate field manager for the BLM Grand Junction Field Office. "We’ve not held a gather since 2007 because of favorable conditions and the success of fertility control. By removing 15-25 horses we can provide better winter forage for the horses and give the vegetation an opportunity for recovery."
The BLM has an established Appropriate Management Level of 90 to 150 horses for the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range. Current numbers place herd population at approximately 155 horses. Fertility controls began in 2002 cutting reproduction numbers nearly in half. With the help of the Friends of the Mustangs, the BLM hopes to continue fertility controls to lessen the need for future gathers.
This gather will employ a bait and water trapping technique not used before on this range. The BLM will not use helicopters for this gather but will allow the horses to move into corrals enticed by food or water. The BLM will periodically provide updates to the community and keep our website updated daily with gather information. For more information please go to: http://www.blm.gov/co/st/en/fo/gjfo.html.
The BLM is now preparing for the gather by introducing food and water in select locations throughout the range. No horses will be gathered prior to the start of gather operations on Sept. 3. Tentative date for vet date is Sept 26th. Tentative Adoption date is Sept 28th at the Mesa County Posse Grounds. Viewing will be available that prior week.
Contact: Chris Joyner, Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 210-2126
August 30, 2013
Contact: Christopher Joyner, Public Affairs Specialist, (970) 210-2126 Public Affairs support to media during bait trapping gather at Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range
WHAT: BLM Grand Junction Field Office will attempt to gather 15-25 wild horses from the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range beginning Sept. 3, 2013. WHEN: Sept. 3, WHERE: Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range WHY: The BLM began planning for the possible removal of horses from the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range months ago and published an Environmental Assessment. Public meetings were held and comments led the BLM to adjust gather plans and eliminate the use of helicopters as an option for this gather. The BLM, with the assistance of Friends of the Mustangs, evaluated range utilization on the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range on Aug. 20. The evaluated conditions led the agency to determine that 15-25 horses need to be removed from the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Range to ensure range and horse health. Bait trapping will be the method for gathering horses. The last gather on the Little Book Cliffs was in 2007. Bait trapping is a static gather method that relies on a horse’s interest in food or water placed in a circular corral. Once horses walk into the corral, a door is shut and the horses identified for removal are removed and relocated to the Mesa County Posse grounds to await a not-yet-scheduled adoption. Other horses are released back into the Wild Horse Range. It may take multiple days to gather a horse and gather locations must be free from visitors a minimum of five days before a trap is operational. For this reason, media will not be allowed at active gather sites that are within five days of trapping activity. Trap sites will be available for inspection after a site completes gather operations.
WHO: BLM Public Affairs will be available during normal business hours or by appointment to escort media to observation points where they may be able to see active traps. There is an instituted standoff distance of a minimum of 200 meters from active trap sites. This distance may be expanded if horses react negatively to visitors. The public lands associated with this gather will remain open, but visitors are asked to avoid trap sites. Visitors interfering with US Government Employees or volunteers attempting to perform their jobs will be subject to arrest and prosecution under 43 CFR 8365.1-4(a)(4). Please see attached map. Public Affairs will be positioned at a location annotated on the map. Cell coverage is sporadic but available at this location. Public Affairs will travel to DeBeque to conduct media interviews if reporters are unable to make it to the gather location.