RENO, Nev. – Federal officials confirmed Wednesday that 34 wild horses died or were euthanized during a roundup of animals from parched rangeland in Nevada, sparking fresh criticism from horse protection advocates pressing the Obama administration to suspend such operations.
Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman JoLynn Worley said 1,224 wild horses were collected in pens during the Tuscarora wild horse gather that concluded Monday outside the Rock Creek Herd Management Area, or HMA, in northeastern Nevada’s Elko County.
In addition to the 34 horses that died, two more were put down after they were found injured by a contractor herding more than two dozen wild horses away from a steep cliff, Worley said Wednesday.
The BLM characterizes its ongoing horse and burro roundups as emergency operations made necessary by drought and overpopulation on public and private lands.
For a week in mid-July, the agency hauled 46,000 gallons of water to dehydrated herds in a neighboring HMA.
Opponents say the policy aims to make room for livestock grazing and energy interests in a region where they claim much larger herds of mustangs once flourished.