BLM suspends wild horse gather in Sand Wash Basin until next year |

BLM suspends wild horse gather in Sand Wash Basin until next year

Wild horses captured in early November calmly await sorting by the Bureau of Land Management. Gathering of horses in Sand Wash Basin by BLM will be suspended temporarily during the holidays and will resume Jan. 3.
Sasha Nelson

— The Bureau of Land Management has suspended until Jan. 3 the bait-trap operation used to gather wild horses in Sand Wash Basin.

34 young horses gathered during the Sand Wash Basin wild horse bait and trap operation have been taken to BLM’s largest wild horse and burro holding facility in Canon City pictured.

“We are taking a break from the gather for the holidays until Jan. 3, when we will resume,” said BLM Public Affairs Specialist for the Northwest Colorado District, David Boyd.

Sand Wash Basin is located roughly 45 miles west of Craig and is home to nearly 600 wild horses, roughly twice the number allowed in the BLM management plan for the area.

To help control the horse population, BLM contractor Cattoor Livestock Roundup Company has been trapping horses using hay as bait.

They plan to remove 50 young horses from the herd and to treat 200 mares with PZP birth control.

In order to administer birth control, BLM must capture the mares, give them a fertilization vaccination and release them back into the basin.

Horses that are captured and do not need treatment or are not eligible for removal are released.

The gather started in early November, and so far, BLM has captured 117 horses, Boyd said.

They have released 83, including 12 mares treated with birth control, and a total of 34 young horses have been transported to BLM’s wild horse holding facility in Cañon City, Boyd said.

“Twelve of the 34 horses were shipped to Cañon City Tuesday — nine studs and three mares, all in good condition,” Boyd said.

BLM is receiving help from the Sand Wash Basin Advocacy Team (SWAT) — the on-range program of the Great Escape Mustang Sanctuary.

More information about adopting Sand Wash Basin horses is available from the SWAT Facebook page.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or or follow her on Twitter @CDP_Education.

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