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The wild horses in the Onaqui Herd Management Area (HMA) are arguably the most visited and cherished mustang population in the country. The herd’s accessibility provides a unique experience for visitors and photographers who, in turn, share their photographs and stories of these iconic animals with an international audience.

In April, we launched a national campaign called ‘Save Onaqui’ with the goal to change the course of action for these beloved horses after the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced its intention to round up and remove 80% of them from our public lands. Read more on what unfolded here. 

Daily Roundup Reports

September 17, 2019

The helicopter took off sometime before members of the public arrived onsite, though the first sighting by our team was at 9 AM. One group of 6 wild horses were brought in and then the helicopter grounded around 9:20 AM for a few hours break. At 11:30 AM the contractors captured another group of 6 horses. The final run of the day was of a herd of 5 mustangs that were being brought in from a much farther distance than the previous runs. The helicopter succeeded in capturing 4 of the horses while 1 avoided the trap. The helicopter chased him for and additional ten minutes before dispatching wranglers on horseback who were ultimately unsuccessful. 

16 horses were captured and there were no deaths. The BLM met it's capture total, bringing in 203 wild horses total. However, BLM relayed that they would be going out one more day. Unfortunately, the BLM has the authority to do so, as the removal number of horses analyzed in the Environmental Assessment was much higher. 

September 16, 2019

AWHC's field representative was one of seven members of the public attending the roundup and removal of the Onaqui wild horses. We were told that there was a "red flag" warning for the day due to wind and that it would take approximately 2 hours to make it to the trap site. The public observation area was located about 3/4 away from the trap site, and our field representative had to climb on to the roof of his vehicle to see the operation.

The helicopter took off around 9:10 am, and 26 horses were captured coming in with body scores of 4's and 5's. The helicopter grounded at 9:30 am due to high winds and the operation concluded for the day. 

September 15, 2019

There was no public observation today as the operation was being conducted on the Dugway military proving grounds. We were denied our request to document.

According to BLM reports: 7 horses were removed. Body scores ranged from 3-5's. 

September 14, 2019

There was no public observation today as the operation was being conducted on the Dugway military proving grounds. We were denied our request to document. 

According to BLM reports: 39 horses were captured today. Body scores of the horses were 4's and 5's. One mare was euthanized after breaking a leg after the roundup.  

September 13, 2019

AWHC's field representative was one of approximately 6 people in attendance at the Onaqui roundup today. The public observation area changed, taking us to a remote portion of the HMA about 1.5 hours into public lands from the entrance. The public observation area was placed much closer to the trap site than the days prior at approximately 1/4 mile away. The helicopter took off between 9 and 9:30 am. The contractor tried 4 different attempts to push a herd of approximately 17 mustangs into the trap site, but each time the horses, lead by a defiant black stallion, evaded capture. The helicopter grounded to refuel for a short stint but took back to the air again with two more attempts to push this same herd into the mouth of the trap unsuccessfully. We couldn't help but feel glad for the strong-willed stallion who didn't give up. 

The roundup concluded early with no horses captured. Tomorrow, the operation is moving onto the Dugway Military Proving Grounds and there is no public access allowed for the weekend. 

September 12, 2019

AWHC’s field representative was one of approximately 6 people in attendance at the Onaqui roundup outside of Dugway, Utah today. The public observation area was the same as the day prior with the trap site barely in view because of distance. The helicopter took off early this morning around 7:30-8:00am and there were only two small runs before concluding early for the day. 

Tomorrow the trapsite will be moved to a new location.

Our representative traveled around the HMA and came across the well-known horses of Simpson Springs who did not appear to be stressed from the days operation. Our hearts break for the other horses who have lost their freedom and families over the last few days.

24 horses were captured and there were no deaths.

September 11, 2019

AWHC's field representative was onsite to document and witness the round up and removal of the Onaqui wild horse outside of Dugway, Utah. There were 45 members of the public, including media, that met BLM in the early morning on Wednesday. This is the largest crowd that AWHC team members have seen in attendance at a roundup, evidence of how cherished these horses are.

The weather was rainy and windy and the vast majority of the morning and into the early afternoon was spent waiting to see if the operation would actually move forward. The first helicopter run brought in about 10 horses, and the next looked to be about fifty or so. The helicopter grounded for a "break" to wait out the weather conditions and at that time, the vast majority of the public left, leaving just AWHC's representative and another member of the public to document the final runs of the horses.

There is no temporary holding at this operation. The horses are immediately being sorted and put onto trucks to be delivered to the Delta Wild Horse and Burro Corrals.

91 wild horses were removed, and there was one death after a black mare crashed into the panels, suffered a broken neck and had to be euthanized.