“With the new gather season starting in July, we must carry out these gathers in a fully transparent manner,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “That includes taking full ownership of what we do and by sharing both the positive and negative news with our various publics, whatever criticism may come our way.”
Among other things, Abbey added, the BLM’s strategy calls for greater reliance on population-suppression techniques, including increased application of a fertility-control vaccine.
The goal will be to treat more than 1,200 mares per year (more than the current level of about 900 in fiscal year 2011) through implementation of “catch, treat, and release” gathers. These gathers will be principally aimed at applying the fertility-control vaccine porcine zona pellucida (PZP) to mares. In some herds, the BLM will adjust sex ratios in favor of males to reduce the number of on-the-range pregnancies or potentially manage non-reproducing herds (such as geldings) in some Herd Management Areas.
The public and media are invited to observe the gathers. Observation points will be determined by the BLM in a manner that recognizes the need for good viewing sites, along with the need to ensure viewer and animal safety.
The approximate dates of the summer gathers are listed online at www.blm.gov.