Update: This story has been updated to amend the deadline for written public comment to July 2, 2020.
BATTLE MOUNTAIN – The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Nevada has scheduled a public hearing for June 25 from 5 to 6 p.m. as is required by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act. The purpose of the hearing is to gather public comment on the use of helicopters and fixed wing aircraft to estimate wild horse or burro population size and the use of helicopters to gather and remove excess animals. The hearing will also consider the use of motorized vehicles to transport gathered wild horse or burros, as well as, to conduct field monitoring activities.
Nevada’s statewide wild horse and burro population is at more than 400 percent the approved management level, exceeding 51,500 animals. The appropriate level is closer to 12,811 animals. According to the BLM, an overabundance of wild horses and burros above prescribed management levels may cause resource damage resulting in limited forage and water availability, which reduces the number of animals that the land can support.
The BLM said helicopter and motorized vehicle usage is critical in managing these wild horse and burro populations through monitoring populations, gathering and transporting the animals for adoption or sale. However some critics say such practices terrorize the animals and can exacerbate overpopulation problems.
Since legislated removals began in 1976, the BLM Nevada has removed more than 161,196 wild horses and burros from Nevada’s rangelands. Over 5,477 of those animals have been adopted or sold locally; the majority of animals gathered in Nevada shipped to other states for adoption, sale or older animals are sent to off-range pastures to live out the remainder of their lives.
The hearing is at the Lander County Courthouse located at 50 NV-305, Battle Mountain, Nevada 89820. For the health and safety of participants, wearing of masks during the public meeting will be mandatory and all other CDC and Nevada health guidelines will be followed.
If you cannot attend the hearing, written comments must be mailed to the BLM Battle Mountain District Office, attention: Jess Harvey, 50 Bastian Rd, Battle Mountain, NV 89820 and must be received by close of business on July 2, 2020, to be considered.