BLM's Utah wild horse roundup complete

Posted: Feb 20, 2013

Written by

BRIAN MAFFLY, Salt Lake Tribune
Wild horses

The horses appear over a rise in the Whirlwind Valley, their hooves breaking through a blanket of crusty snow as they run north. The pace alternates between a gallop and canter as they trail a stallion in single file. A gray mare is pregnant and a foal appears to limp as it struggles to keep up.

Behind the band of wild horses looms a helicopter, arcing back and forth, urging the dozen animals toward a trap that will change their lives. The lucky ones will be adopted, but many will spend the rest of their days in government-sponsored captivity. These are the last moments the foals and yearlings will spend with their mares.

Thursday’s scene was part of the Bureau of Land Management’s roundup of the Swasey herd in Utah’s west desert. The area is a 120,000-acre patch named for 9,678-foot Swasey Peak, 50 miles west of Delta. After four days, BLM contractor Cattoor Livestock Roundup Co. completed the gather, capturing 257 of the 350 horses that had roamed this piece of desert.

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