Report unveils wild horse underpopulation on 800,000 acre Twin Peaks range

Northern California/Nevada Border Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Area Aerial Population Survey November 26th 2013


Craig C. Downer, Wildlife Ecologist

Jesica Johnston, Environmental Scientist

Catherine Scott, Photo Journalist

Abstract from the report:   An independent aerial survey was completed over northeastern California and northwestern Nevada for the Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Area on November 26th 2013. The objective was to estimate the population of wild horses (Equus caballus) and burros (Equus asinus) and to monitor the habitat recovery from the Rush Fire, which burned 315,577 acres in August 2012. The flight and pilot were arranged through the LightHawk organization.

During the aerial survey a total of 44 horses and 36 burros were counted along the 207 miles of transect strips within the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area boundary.

Using an aerial strip transect method, the survey estimates the populations of wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Area as follows:

(a) 351-459 wild horses (includes some mules)

(b) 230-287 wild burros

Over 300 photographs and continuous video footage were taken during the flight. Photos were taken by Craig Downer, Jesica Johnston and Catherine Scott, and video footage was courtesy of pilot Ney Grant. All this was made possible due to the coordination and support from LightHawk.

See the video flyover here:

Click here to read the full report

Click here to see the photos

Craig Downer is a member of the Protect Mustangs Advisory Board.