BLM sends 237 wild horses to ranch at earthquake central

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LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — There wasn’t enough water and rangeland was showing it. Two springs had dried up. The horses in the Red Rock herd wouldn’t survive forever.

In an operation that finished today, The Bureau of Land Management rounded up 237 horses and trucked them to the Ridgecrest Holding Corrals in California.

Yes, THAT Ridgecrest.

A month ago, Las Vegas was still talking about the 6.4-magnitude earthquake, and the 7.1 earthquake hadn’t even hit yet. Searles and Ridgecrest were thrust into the attention of all Las Vegans.

Is it safe for horses?

Stop to think about why the BLM would do the gather in the first place. A lot of these horses were going to die, according to BLM spokesman John Asselin. He points out that the horses were being taken from a place where there wasn’t enough food and water to a place where there was plenty.

The initial plan was to put out food and water in a bait and water trap. The water was enough. Horses from two bands in the Red Rock Herd Management Area 20 miles east of Las Vegas needed no more incentive.

Asselin said there was very little damage at the Ridgecrest corral from the pair of earthquakes, and the care that the horses are getting now far outweighs the alternative.

“And earthquakes happen all over the place,” he said.

A Los Angeles Times report confirms what Asselin said about the Ridgecrest facility. Grant Lockie, facility manager, said damage was minimal and the animals were no worse for wear.

“They just moved around and then they stopped and went right back to eating, and everything was good,” Lockie said.

What about their nerves, though? Aren’t animals sensitive to earthquakes?

History is full of theories about animals predicting earthquakes, but even with daily aftershocks shaking the area, an interested visitor couldn’t find a pattern.

In an article for Psychology Today, Dr. Eric Haseltine recounts his trip to the area to see horses’ behavior for himself. He couldn’t nail down anything more than anecdotal evidence that horses know when quake are coming.

Dogs, yes. The jury is still out on horses.

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