Pickups rolled over the sagebrush-filled landscape leading to the public observation site on one September day of the Diamond Complex Wild Horse Gather.
For the next five to eight hours on Sept. 10, helicopters coaxed wild horses from their homes in the Diamond Mountain Range into the custody of the Bureau of Land Management.
The day’s events were repeated throughout the duration of the multi-day gather in an area north of Eureka in the Diamond Mountain Range.
By the time the effort ended Sept. 29, the BLM gathered 1,196 wild horses and removed 1,139 horses, the agency said in a news release. Forty-three horses were released back onto the range, where some 300 wild horses still remain.
The gather’s purpose, according to the agency, is “to prevent undue or unnecessary degradation of the public lands associated with excess wild horses and to restore a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship on public lands, consistent with the provisions of Section 1333(b) of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.”
Besides wild horses, cattle also graze the rangelands, which are habitat for wildlife such as pronghorn antelope, sage grouse and mule deer.
“It’s a balancing act,” BLM spokeswoman Jenny Lesieutre said.
Gathered horses were taken to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals in Reno, where they will be readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption program. Horses not adopted or sold will stay in BLM custody in long-term pastures, where they will be “humanely cared for and retain their ‘wild’ status and protection” under the 1971 act.