LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to gather nearly 200 wild horses and more than 350 wild burros in the area surrounding the Spring Mountains.
The plan includes previously used trap sites near Blue Diamond and just south of SR 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump in an area known as Mt. Potosi/Cottonwood Canyon, as well as a trap site between Kyle Canyon Road (SR 157) and Lee Canyon Road (SR 156) northwest of Las Vegas. Animals will be herded into the traps — possibly using helicopters, under procedures allowed in the plan.
The roundup is expected to begin in June, with a goal of reducing the wild horse population from around 280 down to 63-99, and taking the burros from around 550 down to 103-192.
The plan is part of the BLM’s 10-year Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Plan, approved and released on Tuesday.
None of the trap sites are within Red Rock National Conservation Area.
Several other trap sites are near Pahrump and Indian Springs, to the north and west of the mountains. The BLM calls the four areas that are part of the range the Red Rock Herd Management Area (HMA), the Wheeler Pass HMA, the Johnnie HMA and the Spring Mountains Wild Horse and Burro Territory (WHBT). The range covers 784,000 acres in Clark and Nye counties.
The roundup follows previous controversies over the use of helicopters after video showed a horse with a broken leg struggling to get away from a low-flying helicopter in a roundup farther north of Las Vegas near Ely. U.S. Rep. Dina Titus introduced a bill in March to outlaw the use of helicopters in wild horse roundups.
Also included in the 10-year plan is the bureau’s plan “fertility control” to prevent more pregnancies in the herd.
There are also procedures outlined to euthanize animals that are severely injured.
The roundups are part of the BLM’s effort to reduce the number of animals on the range. The BLM says the range cannot support the number of animals that are already there, and gathering some will make life easier for the wild horses and burros that remain.
Wild horse advocates have been vocal critics of BLM policies, saying that they favor ranchers who graze cattle on public lands rather than the wild herds.