The Bureau of Land Management has concluded its 2020 Red Desert Complex wild horse gather operation early, due to winter weather conditions and for the safety of staff, the public and the horses.
A total of 1,970 horses were gathered during the 35-day operation, which began on Oct. 10, 2020. The gather could continue at a later date to return wild horse populations to within appropriate management levels.
The Red Desert Complex, which includes the Antelope Hills, Crooks Mountain, Green Mountain, Lost Creek and Stewart Creek herd management areas, is located in Sweetwater, Fremont, Carbon and Natrona counties west and south of Wyoming Highway 287.
Based on recent aerial surveys, the BLM estimated that the Red Desert Complex’s population was nearing 3,000 wild horses, while the appropriate management level is 480–724 horses. In addition, horses were moving outside of their established herd management areas and causing impacts in areas not identified for their management. The BLM conducted the gather as part of its commitment to maintaining healthy wild horses while managing for sustainable, working public lands.
Select mares and stallions were returned to the complex to ensure genetic variability and to preserve the New World Iberian Genotype present in the complex. All mares returned were treated with fertility control.
Horses humanely gathered through this operation will be available for adoption through the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program. Animals not adopted will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burro Act. The BLM is committed to managing and protecting these living symbols of the historic and pioneering spirit of the West and will continue to care for and seek good homes for animals that have been removed from the range.
For more information and to view daily reports from the gather, visit https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/wyoming/2020-Red-Desert-Complex.