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BLM asks for help in identifying the shooter of two wild Onaqui Mountain Herd stallions

UTAH — The Bureau of Land Management, American Wild Horse Campaign, Onaqui Catalogue, National Mustang Association, and Red Bird Trust are asking for help in identifying the shooter of two wild horse stallions in Toole County.

The stallions were found by a member of the public on March 19 near Simpson Springs Mountain Road on the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area in Utah’s west desert. There is a reward of up to $22,500 for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect or suspects involved. Those with information are asked to call the BLM Utah Law Enforcement Tipline at 800-722-3998.

Wild horses are protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which declared them “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West” and also declared that “wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death and that they are an integral part of the natural system of the public lands.”

Horses from the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area walking off into the sunset. Photo: TownLift // Kevin Cody
Horses from the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area walk off into the sunset. Photo: TownLift // Kevin Cody

“Harassing, capturing or killing wild horses is illegal and punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a fine,” said Mike Gates, BLM West Desert district manager. “The BLM takes our responsibility seriously to protect these animals and is committed to holding accountable whomever is responsible for this unconscionable act.”

“AWHC is pleased to join with the BLM in offering a reward to bring justice for the violent and senseless killing of two iconic stallions who were members of the beloved Onaqui wild horse herd,” said Suzanne Roy, executive director of the American Wild Horse Campaign. “Shooting these protected animals is a serious federal crime and we stand ready to assist the BLM in any way possible to hold the perpetrators accountable under the full force of the law.”

Wild Horses of the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area.
Wild Horses of the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area. TownLift // Kevin Cody.

“Onaqui Catalogue Foundation is heartbroken to hear of the deaths of two well-known Onaqui stallions. We thank the community for rallying together to support efforts to bring justice for these illegal and unnecessary killings.”

“We have a standing reward anytime there is horse-related death such as these,” said June Sewing, National Mustang Association executive secretary. “We do what we can to help these horses; they need to be out on the open range.”

A wild stallion of the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area.
A wild stallion of the Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area. TownLift // Kevin Cody.

“Red Birds Trust is devastated to learn of the killing of at least two Onaqui stallions near the Simpson Springs recreation area,” said Jennifer Rogers, Red Birds Trust founder. “We would like to [support and offer an additional] reward for any information which is brought forth leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this senseless crime.”

The western desert in Utah might largely be a land of nothingness when looking at a map, but it is full of reasons to explore with the herd of wild horses a major one. The herd frequently lets humans in their vehicles get rather close, giving photographers and admires alike a premium location to experience being around them. Many of the stallions have scars and weathered looks in their battles against one another. The Onaqui Mountain Herd Management Area is just one of the 19 wild horse and burro herd management areas totaling nearly 2.5 million acres that are managed by BLM Utah.

 

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