Snowed In and information on Diamond Complex wild horse roundup

Snow, snow, snow removal operation cancelled today

Snow, snow, snow removal operation cancelled today

Operations were canceled today due to snowfall. This is the fourth consecutive day of weather delays. The next two days also carry a high probability of delay or cancelation of operations.

NOAA forecast

NOAA forecast

Detail of weather warning

Detail of weather warning

At this juncture operations have stalled in the Ely district as we have been waiting to remove ten horses that are in a section marked “off HMA,” even though the area is not far from the boundary of the HMA that lies on the mountain. Given the heavy livestock grazing and drought effects within the HMA itself as those conditions are mitigated through snowfall and livestock restrictions the animals might likely move back to the HMA (also boundary line validity questions in this area are high).


Important note: in the inventory map please note the fence lines and boundary line placement of the HMA. There is serious impact to the ability of wild horses to utilize the resources within the Western area of the HMA. The areas directly to the West of the significant fence line are predominantly off limits, the areas to the East are the canyons utilized by livestock grazing and the fences are closed to keep the cows on the eastern side of the fence. Directly to the eat there is significant impact from years and years of over utilization by domestic livestock. The HMA boundary is the mountain ridge, (like the horses did not use both sides of that mountain range in 1971, hard to believe isn’t it?) Throw into the mix a year of significant drought, a lack of formal data on movement (and movement impacted by release of livestock) serious questions can be raised as to the significance of “off HMA” being a man-made condition imposed on the population and not a valid indication of a claimed “over population.” (WHE notation: One of the most significant problems in the program is the lack of formal data on a viable population, what resource that population requires and exactly when a population becomes “excess” has lead to an apparent arbitrary process of managing wild horses that in many instances seems to be based more on what permitees want than science).

more info: See WHE drought report on Diamond

It appears that the schedule for operations within the Complex managed by three different District offices (Ely, Elko, and Battle Mountain) will be adhered to. After the ten animals, that have been designated “important” (because the are “off HMA” and appear to be on an important permitees “property” that was not included in the HMA boundary lines), have been removed operations will move North into Elko. The third area to be targeted will be Battle Mountain.

Of note is an interview done during the Owyhee operation by Nevada NPR with WHE’s founder Laura Leigh. The BLM declined to be on the program but Nevada Assemblyman Pete Goicoechea, a permitee in the area currently under removal, spoke on air:

It is unclear how further weather delays will effect the operation. An adoption event was scheduled in Battle at the “trap side” for Feb. 2nd. It was expected that a holding area for weanlings would have been set up and Coggins drawn early in the week. As the temporary holding area is still located in Ely delays of that event are unclear. Please contact Shawna Richardson with the Battle Mountain district if you plan to adopt from the range and ask to be placed on a notification list:


It is unknown how further weather delays may impact the Swasey operation in Utah scheduled to begin on Feb. 11, 2013. Originally Sun J was the contractor chosen by BLM to complete that operation concurrently with Diamond. A few weeks ago BLM changed the start date of Swasey to begin after Diamond and changed the contractor to Cattoor, the one operating for BLM in Diamond. If you are planning to attend the Swasey operation it is suggested that you contact Utah BLM:

Help keep us in the field and the courtroom!

Help keep us in the field and the courtroom!


9 thoughts on “Snowed In and information on Diamond Complex wild horse roundup

  1. hi.u do know who lives in that atea one of her many homes.madeline pickett.from

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  2. This winter gather, along with all the others scheduled, make no sense to me. Not only does it put nutritionally-compromised animals at risk for developing a myriad of health issues, but what about the human factor? While I may not be the roundup contractor’s biggest fan (scratch that; I’m DEFINITELY not a fan…) it would be tragic if a helicopter crashed due to weather or any of a dozen other mechanical and technical issues inherent to machines and extreme cold.
    So why the big push?
    I can’t help but think the health and welfare of these animals is the very last concern. Nearly every wild animal I’ve researched tends to slow their lifestyle way down in the winter months to conserve physical resources; they eat less, they move less. They tend to cluster together and keep trailing to a minimum. Chasing semi-dormant wild horses in the dead of winter ’til they sweat and create their own individual weather patterns is about as far from ‘protection’ as you can get. I understand the seeming concern for the lack of forage, but this seems to fall along the same lines as being unable to love nature with a gun – it’s callous and thoughtless and let’s face it, expensive.
    Wouldn’t it be less costly (and safer for all concerned) to provide “hay stations” until Spring?
    This roundup – all these roundups…I can’t ever remember a year where they were conducted all year long and only then in dire emergencies.
    It makes no sense.

  3. Barbara & Lisa – excellent points (and comments)! I sometimes feel insulted by the comments/answers from the BLM – I find myself wanting to call them and say, “Please! Don’t piss on my leg and try to tell me it’s raining!” They are idiots and believe we advocates are idiots as well! Thanks for the info, Laura

  4. In these harsh months it is important that the Wildones save energy and resources..and chasing them down time and time again is stressful and face it..cruel!But of course the experts and professionals BLM employees and contractors know that..right?Either way in light of what has been uncovered with the selling for profit and killbuyers auctions it makes “No” sense to roundup any more of them at needs investigation by law makers now.I do not believe and hear all that I see coming out of BLM’S reports at has not been proven nor facts are checked..give me something to trust and believe American tax payers are still waiting.

  5. I can’t imagine being out in the elements to take the video documentation that you do Laura and if it were not for you doing this we would not be able to see the horrific conditions our Wild Horses are enduring. I for one can’t wait for it all to unfold and the BLM to crumble and these beloved animals be allowed to live out there lives on their land. Though it may seem like all is done in vain at times I believe staying the course you are on and keep fighting in court and in the field as you are doing will in the long run stop these unnecessary and costly roundups. Thank you WHE and Laura Leigh.

  6. It deeply saddens me that they always say that this is for the benefit of the horses. How can they continue to spew this dumb logic at us and expect us to believe it. I am so tired of hearing of horses dying from pneumonia, respiratory distress or supposed non-gather related injuries. I am tired of seeing sullen depressed sad horses living in manure filled cages where everything they hold dear, family and freedom, has been stripped from them, separated from their families and who knows where they end up. How on earth can this be for their benefit? Such a travesty, thank you Laura for everything you do.

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