Info regarding the controversial Calico Gather, taken from the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program website:
The goal of the BLM gather action is to reach a population level of 600 to 900 wild horses in the Calico Mountain Complex of five herd management areas in the Black Rock Desert. That population range is what has been determined to be the appropriate number of wild horses that can be supported as healthy viable herds by the amount of forage and water available on these rangelands.
The current population is about 3,040 animals, which is 5.5 times the low range AML of 572 horses and about three times the land's full carrying capacity, or high range AML, of 952 horses.
The gather is consistent with the provisions of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which mandates that the BLM will remove excess wild horses to achieve a population within the established appropriate management level (AML), to protect rangeland resources from further deterioration associated with the wild horse overpopulation, and to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple use relationship in the area.
Monitoring studies indicate that the overpopulation of wild horses is causing resource impacts within the Complex, such as moderate to heavy use of rangeland vegetation and damage to sensitive riparian areas, which are springs, streams and seeps. The gather also will help ensure that there will be sufficient water and forage for the remaining 600-900 wild horses and burros, wildlife, and permitted livestock.
The BLM will remove approximately 2,500 excess wild horses from the Complex, adjust the male/female sex ratio to 60/40 percent, and administer fertility control measures on mares that will be re-released within the Complex.
For Gather Updates, Photos from the Gather, Questions and Answers, Contact and visitation information, Fact Sheets, and News / Press Releases, please visit this link:
The Calico Gather
BLM photo by Kurt Golgart