BLM Ends Colorado’s Helicopter Roundup Of Wild Horses
The helicopter roundup of wild horses in northwest Colorado has come to an end.
Hundreds of Wild Horses Gathered In Roundup
The Bureau of Land Management on Thursday announced the effort to round up hundreds of horses in the Sand Wash Basin is completed. The horse gathering, however, will continue outside the Sand Wash Basin Herd Management Area on both private and public lands to round up scattered bands of horses that are residing outside the HMA.
The BLM used helicopters to trap more than 600 horses in the round-up in Moffatt County. The BLM says 50 of the horses will be released back into the area this weekend after the mares are treated for fertility control. The rounded-up horses are being readied for adoption.
The wild horse round-up has not been without controversy as horse advocates have called the round-up inhumane and unnecessary. They believe recent monsoonal moisture has restored watering holes and that the land can support more than the 163 horses the BLM was targeting as a herd size. There has also been concerns about possible injuries to the horses during the roundup - and even death.
The controversy was evident from comments posted on the BLM's Facebook page with the round-up being characterized as "utterly inhumane", "complete animal abuse" and "barbaric."
How the Roundup Is Conducted
For the roundup, temporary corrals are constructed to create a holding area. The BLM says the horses are grouped and slowly funneled to the corrals at "a pace of the slowest wild horse". A domestic horse is released to encourage the horses to follow it into the trap. A helicopter then lowers in elevation to "encourage the wild horses to continue to move toward the corral."
Two Horses Have Died
The BLM says it does everything it can to ensure wild horses are treated humanely and that all operations will comply with the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Program. The BLM has reported the death of two horses. One was determined to have a pre-existing condition and one that had a pre-existing leg injury not related to the gathering.
Colorado Governor Praises the End of the Roundup
On Thursday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis praised the end of the effort saying "While I wish this roundup hadn’t even started, I’m encouraged by the opportunity to chart a more humane course for our state’s beloved wild horses."
BLM Wild Horse Roundup
Amazing Pictures of Wild Horses of Sand Wash Basin in Colorado