September 25, 2019 – Almost 300 Horses Lose Their Homes as Roundup on the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory Continues
In the first 20 days of the helicopter roundup on the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory (DGWHT), 290 horses have been permanently removed from their federally-protected habitat. Yesterday, 8 of the 24 removed were domestic horses.
The U. S. Forest Service is targeting 500 horses in this year’s helicopter roundup, which started September 5, 2019. It has a 30-day $636,142 contract with Sun J Livestock, Inc, courtesy of American taxpayers.
The Modoc Forest Service has reported no deaths or injuries; body condition scores averaged 4, which translates into good/excellent condition for wild horses,
Trap sites on the DGWHT have been moved several times, including to Logan Slough that includes a grazing allotment where the Modoc Forest Service has recently allowed the return of 300 privately-owned cow/calf pairs. During the five days of trapping at Logan Slough, 122 horses were removed.
On two days during the operation, September 16th and 19th, the contractor had not been able to capture any horses. In its press releases, the Modoc Forest Service has offered this highly questionable explanation: “Released horses from the 2016 gather have been mixed in with groups being moved to traps. These horses are educated about what to expect and often end up leading the herd out of the trap or otherwise challenging helicopter pilots.”
The agency has also cancelled roundup operations on several days as a result of high winds, fire, and muddy roads that prevented access of the trailers to the trap site.
All horses are transported to the U.S. Forest Service’s Double Devil corrals to be sorted. Younger horses, including mare/foal pairs, are being shipped to the BLM Litchfield corral for adoption; older horses will remain at Double Devil for adoption or sale.
Members of the public can still observe the remaining days of the roundup and removal on a first come-first serve basis. Please call 530-233-8738 to make reservations or for more information.