A third wild horse has died during the ongoing helicopter roundup at the Owyhee Complex in Northern Nevada.
A mare described as being more than 25 years old died overnight at the holding facility due to displaced intestine, according to the Bureau of Land Management.
On Saturday, 55 mares, 43 stallions and 30 foals were captured, bringing the four-day total to 291.
Also on Saturday, 15 mares, 12 foals and three studs were trucked to the Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Center near Reno, Nevada, where they will be prepared for the BLM adoption program. Those not adopted will later be transported to off-range pastures.
The BLM plans to capture 680 wild horses in and around the Elko District’s Rock Creek and Owyhee Horse Management Areas. Of those, about 450 will be removed from the range.
A second phase of the roundup is scheduled to be held after Thanksgiving on the Winnemucca District’s Little Owyhee Horse Management Area. There, 920 wild horses are the be captured and 650 removed from the range.
Mares that are not transported will be treated with PZP-22 fertility control vaccine before release. So far, 10 horses have been returned to the range, according to the BLM.
The agency justifies the roundup as an effort to “remove excess wild horses in order to prevent further deterioration of Greater Sage grouse habitat within the Sagebrush Focal Area (in northern Elko and Humboldt Counties. Overpopulation of wild horses leads to the degradation of rangeland resources, which adversely impacts habitat for other species as well as the horses themselves.”