LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A roundup of nearly 1,900 wild horses designed to reduce overpopulation in Elko and White Pine counties was completed Thursday by the Bureau of Land Management and included the deaths of 23 animals.

The agency’s Friday report on the roundup in an area about 60 miles north of Ely said 1,897 wild horses were gathered from public lands, with 50 mares expected to be treated with a population suppression vaccine and then released. A time and location for the release will be announced, the agency said.

Wild horses are gathered in a roundup in White Pine and Elko counties. (Bureau of Land Management)

Also, 50 stallions from the roundup that began July 15 will be released.

In addition to reducing population in an area that doesn’t have enough water and forage for the herd, the gather also prevents “further degradation” of public lands associated with excess wild horses and restores “a thriving natural ecological balance,” according to a news release.

“The gather was crucial to ensuring public land health, as well as the health of the horses. Both continue to be at risk due to herd overpopulation and exceptional drought conditions,” said Robbie McAboy, who manages the agency’s Ely district.

The animals from the roundup were taken to the Indian Lakes Off-Range Wild Horse and Burro Corral in Fallon and the Sutherland Off-Range Corrals in Sutherland, Utah, to be prepared for a Bureau of Land Management wild horse and burro adoption and sale program.

Wild horses not adopted or sold will be placed in long-term pastures where they will be humanely cared for and retain their “wild” status and protection under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.

Of the deaths, the agency said 17 were because of pre-existing or chronic conditions, including fractured legs, blindness or congenital tendon issues.

The six deaths referred to as acute/sudden in the report included a 6-year-old Palomino stallion and a 7-year-old bay mare that died unexpectedly because of broken necks and a sorrel foal with colic.