LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — More than 1,200 wild horses will be rounded up using helicopters and taken off the Diamond Complex range in north-central Nevada beginning on Sept. 10.

The operation, which will last 20-25 days will reduce the number of horses on public and private lands — 258,000 acres — back to levels closer to what the land can support, according to Bureau of Land Management officials.

“The gather is critical to ensuring the health of rangelands within the complex as well as the wild horses in the area, both of which are at risk due to herd overpopulation and severe drought conditions,” said Doug Furtado, Battle Mountain District Manager.

Guidelines for the area — north of Eureka in the area around Diamond Peak — set the appropriate herd size as 123 to 210 horses. Current estimates are close to 1,500 horses on the range, not including foals born this year. After the roundup, about 300 horses will remain.

Wild horses on the Diamond Complex range. (Bureau of Land Management)

“We are committed to conducting safe and humane gather operations as we work to protect animal health by reducing overpopulation and bringing herd size more in line with what the resources of the area can support.”

The BLM plans to gather approximately 1,225 wild horses, remove 1,165, treat up to 30 mares with the fertility control vaccine, PZP-22, and release them back to the complex with an equal number of studs. The BLM will conduct gather operations using the helicopter-assisted method. Once gather operations are complete, approximately 300 wild horses will remain in the HMA.

All horses identified for removal will be transported to the Palomino Valley Off-Range Corrals, located in Reno, Nevada. Upon arrival to the facility, all animals will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program.