Helicopter Roundups Of Mustangs Safer Than Roundups Of Other Wild Species

Though the use of helicopters to gather feral mustangs has been controversial for years, a recent study has shown that these type of roundups are relatively safe for roaming horses in the Western United States, reports The Horse.

Dr. John Derek Scasta of the University of Wyoming reviewed 10 years of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) data and determined that the number of animal deaths (both naturally and those that were euthanized) related to the helicopter roundups were similar to bait-trapping, which is another method used to gather wild horses. He noted that either bait-trapping or the use of helicopters resulted in a significantly lower death rates than those found in roundups of other wild animal species.

To arrive at this conclusion, Scasta reviewed 70 captures from 2010 to 2019 that involved nearly 29,000 horses and more than 2,000 burros in nine Western states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming. Of these captures, 36 used helicopters to gather the animals and 34 used bait-trapping. In bait-trapping, horses enter a wide enclosure that contains feed or water, with no humans present. In helicopter-driven gathers, a helicopter flies above and behind the herd, pushing horses into an enclosure.

In total, 96 horses and four burros died or were euthanized during or after the bait-trap gathers; 268 horses died during or after the helicopter gathers, The Horse reports. The mortality rate was 1.7 percent for bait-trap gathers and 1 percent for helicopter gathers. The majority of the deaths related to the wild horse and burro roundups are related to pre-existing or chronic conditions, such as poorly healed injuries, lameness or blindness.

The numbers are far fewer than the deaths that occur on similar roundups of elk, deer and caribou, which have reported mortality rates of up to 20 percent. The animals are generally gathered for scientific research projects. Typically, anything over a 2 percent death rate is considered unacceptable in the scientific community.

Read more at The Horse.

The post Helicopter Roundups Of Mustangs Safer Than Roundups Of Other Wild Species appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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