Craig Downer and Jesica Johnston’s Twin Peaks Flight 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 December 22, 2014. 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 and made possible through LightHawk.
During the aerial survey a total of 62 horses and 11 burros were counted along the 174 miles of transect strips flown within the Twin Peaks Herd Management Area boundary. In addition, several groups of approximately 90 trespass cattle grazing on public land were documented in the no grazing restricted area from the 2012 Rush Fire. These were found in the south-western section of the Twin Peaks Grazing Allotment #00701 in the Skedaddle mountain range.
Using the aerial strip transect method, the survey estimated the populations of wild horses and burros in the Twin Peaks Wild Horse and Burro Herd Management Area as follows:
(a) 447-593 wild horses (including some mules)
(b) 101-120 wild burros