Diamond Aftermath: Who’s Counting Anyway?

Here are the totals based on data in the daily reports:

  • Horses gathered: 1,176 (1,196 in news release)
  • Deaths: 26 (not in news release)
  • Shipped: 1,153 (not in news release)
  • Returned: −3 (43 in news release)

That’s right, minus three horses returned (1,176 – 26 – 1,153).

The number removed is 26 + 1,153 = 1,179, compared to 1,139 in the news release.

The figures need to be audited.

RELATED: Diamond Roundup Over, Roundup Checks and Balances.

Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 21

The incident started on September 9.  Gather stats through September 29:

  • Horses captured: 426
  • Escaped: 4
  • Goal: 500
  • Deaths: 5
  • Shipped: Not reported

No horses were gathered on Day 20 due to trap relocation.  The Forest Service is reporting 429 horses captured but the sum of the daily results is 426.

The total number of foals and the number of horses held on site are not known.

The daily reports can be found here.

The operation may conclude later this week.

In the statement that was released when he signed the WHB Act, President Nixon noted that wild horses were being wiped out because they competed with domestic livestock, among other things.

That’s what’s going on here.

RELATED: Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 19.

South Steens Roundup Ends

The operation concluded September 28, according to the daily reports, with 218 horses gathered, no deaths and 218 horses shipped.  A news release has not been published but at least the numbers balance.

Foals accounted for 24.3% of the horses gathered.  Mares outnumbered studs by a factor of 1.6, not exactly what you’d expect for a herd that’s 50% males, 50% females.

The goal was 200 horses gathered.  The incident occurred on private lands at the south end of the HMA.

RELATED: South Steens Roundup Starts Next Week.

Frisco Roundup Concluded

The operation is complete, according to the daily reports, with 143 horses gathered, two deaths and 141 horses shipped.  The news release is pending (maybe) but at least the numbers balance.

Foals accounted for 17.5% of the horses gathered.  No horses were returned to their home range.

One death occurred yesterday due to a pre-existing condition.

The goal was 200 horses gathered.

The status of the mares fitted with GPS collars is not known.  Their purpose is described in Section 2.2.1 of the Final EA for wild horse roundups in the Frisco and Conger HMAs.

RELATED: Frisco Wild Horse Roundup Starts Next Week.

Diamond Roundup Over

BLM said today that the operation was complete, with 1,196 horses gathered, 26 deaths and 1,139 horses shipped.

The number of horses returned to their home range was 43, according to the news release, which is not possible given the previous data.

If 21 mares were treated with contraceptives prior to release, they would have to be joined by ten studs, for a total returned of 31.

The goal was 1,225 horses gathered with 60 returned.

RELATED: Diamond Wild Horse Roundup Starts Next Week

Fiftieth Anniversary ‘Celebration’ of WHB Act?

BLM has started a page to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the WHB Act.

A concept paper, posted with the WHBAB meeting materials from last week, identifies objectives and messaging for the year-long event.

All but one of the suggested activities can be classified as ‘off the range.’  The last item in the bullet list was captioned ‘Taking America to the Field.’

A preliminary timeline was also included.

Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 19

The incident started on September 9.  Gather stats through September 27:

  • Horses captured: 393
  • Escaped: 4
  • Goal: 500
  • Deaths: 5
  • Shipped: Not reported

No deaths occurred on Days 17, 18 and 19.  Another horse escaped the trap on Day 19, bringing the total to four.  The Forest Service is reporting 396 horses gathered but the sum of the daily results is 393.  Escapees are on the other side of the equation.

Animals gathered = Animals returned (escaped) + Animal deaths + Animals shipped

The daily reports can be found here.

The WHT is to be managed principally for wild horses.  Resources not assigned to horses go to wildlife.  No livestock.

RELATED: Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 16.

Diamond Roundup Day 18

The incident started on September 10.  Gather stats through September 27:

  • Horses captured: 1,111
  • Goal: 1,225
  • Deaths: 25
  • Shipped: 1,020

No deaths occurred on Days 16, 17 and 18.  The death rate is 2.3%.  Foals accounted for 18.2% of the horses gathered to date.

Body condition scores were not provided.  BLM reports 990 horses shipped but the sum of the daily transfers is 1,020.

The contractor is holding 66 horses on site.  Sixty will be returned to the Complex, including 30 mares treated with contraceptives.

The operation will likely conclude this week.  The Complex is managed primarily for livestock and Herd Management Area Plans aren’t going to fix that.

RELATED: Diamond Roundup Day 15Diamond Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick.

Frisco Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick

The pre-gather population in the Frisco HMA, currently subject to a roundup, was thought to be around 250 wild horses.  The HMA covers 60,367 acres in western Utah and has an AML of 60.

The horses allowed by plan require 720 AUMs per year.  The stocking rate allowed by plan is one wild horse per thousand acres.

The pre-gather population, corresponding roughly to 4X AML, required 3,000 AUMs per year with a stocking rate that’s four times higher than the standard.

There were 190 excess horses on the HMA when the gather started.  The need for this and other management actions, such as the application of PZP, is obvious.

The HMA intersects four grazing allotments.  The table in Section 3.2 of the Final EA for wild horse roundups in the Conger and Frisco HMAs provides allotment sizes, grazing seasons and permitted AUMs.  A map showing the allotments relative to the HMA was not provided.

Although cattle and sheep are allowed by permit, the calculations are based on cow/calf pairs only, for a direct comparison to wild horses.  The resource requirements of wild horses and cow/calf pairs are said to be equivalent.

Frisco HMA Calcs-1

The amount of Red Rock land falling inside the HMA is 20,769 × .08 = 1,662 acres.

The estimated forage available to Red Rock cattle inside the HMA is 801 × .08 = 64 AUMs per year, assuming the resource is evenly distributed across the parcel.

The total estimated land and forage available to livestock inside the HMA, computed as the sum of four components, are 54,483 acres and 2,959 AUMs per year, respectively.

Roughly ten percent of the HMA is free of privately owned livestock.

The Red Rock permittee would have to place 32 cow/calf pairs inside the HMA to graze off 64 AUMs in two months.  The stocking rate allowed by plan is 19.3 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres on that allotment.  It’s a concentrated animal feeding operation (CAFO) on public lands.

The stocking rates (densities) on the other three allotments are six to seven times higher than that allowed for wild horses in the HMA.

The total estimated number of cow/calf pairs inside the HMA, computed as the sum of four components, is 394.  The estimated stocking rate allowed by plan inside the HMA is 394 ÷ 54,483 × 1,000 = 7.2 cow/calf pairs per thousand acres.  The weighted average grazing season is 2,959 ÷ 394 = 7.5 months.

These management indicators are compared in the following charts.

Frisco HMA Charts-1

The HMA is managed primarily for livestock, with the horses receiving just 20% of the total authorized forage (excluding wildlife).  Sixty wild horses compared to 394 cow/calf pairs, on land set aside for wild horses.

Curiously, the HMA has a Herd Management Area Plan, developed in 2012.

The forage allocated to livestock would support an additional 247 wild horses, for a true AML of 307 (2,959 ÷ 12).  There were no excess horses on the HMA when the roundup started and there is no justification for a fertility control program.

RELATED: Frisco Wild Horse Roundup Starts Next Week, Rationale for AMLs?

South Steens Roundup: Looks Like Assateague Only Worse

Gather stats, through September 24:

  • Studs: 14
  • Mares: 35
  • Foals: 13
  • Deaths: 0
  • Shipped: 62

Foals accounted for 21% of the horses gathered.  No horses are being held on site.

Note that mares outnumber studs 2.5 to 1.  Do those numbers look like they came from a herd that’s 50% males and 50% females?  Limits computed from basic statistical formulas, with n = 49 and p-bar = .5, are 14 and 35.

The observed values are not outside the limits so it’s possible but not likely.  Additional data may bring the results in line with expectations.

In the latest census at Assateague Island, from March 2020, mares outnumbered studs 2.4 to 1.  The area was cited during public comments at this week’s Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board meeting as a model of wild horse management, which it is if you ignore the declining herd size and abnormal sex ratio, with effects continuing years after the fertility control program was shut off.

The census had been conducted five or six times a year but the reports have dried up.

RELATED: South Steens Roundup Day 3.

Frisco Roundup in Progress

The operation started September 21.  Gather stats through September 24:

  • Horses captured: 116
  • Goal: 200
  • Deaths: 1
  • Shipped: 107

One death occurred on Day 2 but no details were given.  Foals accounted for 19% of the horses captured.  Body condition scores ranged from 4 to 5 with a few 3s.

The contractor is holding eight horses on site.  The reports did not indicate if the 21 mares fitted with radio/GPS collars had been recovered.

RELATED: Frisco Wild Horse Roundup Starts Next Week.

Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 16

The incident started on September 9.  Gather stats through September 24:

  • Horses captured: 309
  • Escaped: 3
  • Goal: 500
  • Deaths: 5
  • Shipped: Not reported

No horses were captured on Days 14 and 15 due to helicopter maintenance.

Foals accounted for 15.9% of the horses gathered.  The number of horses held on site is not known.

Body condition scores were not provided.

The death rate is 1.6%.  One stud was put down after hitting a gate and four studs died as a result of castration, according to this week’s summary.

The daily reports can be found here.

RELATED: Devil’s Garden Roundup Day 13.

Diamond Roundup Day 15

The incident started on September 10.  Gather stats through September 24:

  • Horses captured: 1,041
  • Goal: 1,225
  • Deaths: 25
  • Shipped: 941

No deaths occurred on Days 14 and 15.  Foals accounted for 18.2% of the total.

Body condition scores were not provided.  BLM reports 904 horses shipped but the sum of the daily transfers is 941.

The contractor is holding 75 horses on site.  Sixty will be returned to the Complex, including 30 mares treated with contraceptives.

The death rate is 2.4%.

RELATED: Diamond Roundup Day 13Diamond Wild Horses Get Short End of Stick.

South Steens Roundup Day 3

The incident started September 21.  Gather stats through September 23:

  • Horses captured: 41
  • Goal: 200
  • Deaths: 0
  • Shipped: 41

To date, four studs have been captured, along with 28 mares and nine foals.  Foals accounted for 22% of the total and mares outnumber studs seven to one.

Low-information advocates will not see any problems in these data.

Body condition scores were not provided.  No horses are being held on site.

RELATED: South Steens Roundup Starts Next Week.

Community College to Foster Jicarilla Wild Horses

Mesalands Community College of Tucumcari, NM will enter into a partnership with the Forest Service to foster Jicarilla wild horses for adoption and use them to bolster the college’s farrier and animal science programs, according to a report posted this morning by the Quay County Sun.

A rancher and board member interviewed for the story supported the idea, noting that wild horses tend to overgraze the land if their numbers grow too large, but did not indicate if his livestock compete with the horses for food and water.