36 CFR § 222.64 - Use of helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and motor vehicles.

§ 222.64 Use of helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft and motor vehicles.

The Chief, Forest Service, is authorized to use helicopters, fixed-wing aircraft, and motor vehicles in a manner that will ensure humane treatment of wild free-roaming horses and burros as provided by the following paragraphs:

(a) Prior to using helicopters in capture operations and/or using motor vehicles for the purpose of transporting captured animals, a public meeting will be held in the proximity of the territory where the capture operation is proposed.

(b) Helicopters may be used in all phases of the administration of the Act including, but not limited to, inventory, observation, surveillance, and capture operations. In capture operations, helicopters may be used to locate the animals involved to assist ground crews in moving the animals and for related purposes, such as, to transport personnel and equipment. The condition of the animals shall be continuously observed by the authorized officer and, should signs of harmful stress be noted, the source of stress shall be removed so as to allow recovery. Helicopters may be used in round-ups or other capture operations subject to the following procedures.

(1) Helicopters shall be used in such a manner that bands or herds will tend to remain together.

(2) Horses or burros will not be moved at a rate which exceeds limitations set by the authorized officer who shall consider terrain, weather, distance to be traveled, and condition of the animals.

(3) Helicopters shall be used to observe the presence of dangerous areas and may be used to move animals away from hazards during capture operations.

(4) During capture operations, animals shall be moved in such a way as to prevent harmful stress or injury.

(5) The authorized officer shall supervise all helicopter uses as follows:

(i) Have means to communicate with the pilot and be able to direct the use of the helicopter; and

(ii) Be able to observe effects of the use of the helicopters on the well-being of the animals.

(c) Fixed-wing aircraft may be used for inventory, observation, and surveillance purposes necessary in administering the Act. Such use shall be consistent with the Act of September 8, 1959, as amended (18 U.S.C. 41 et seq.). Fixed-wing aircraft shall not be used in connection with capture operations except as support vehicles.

(d) Motor vehicles may be used in the administration of the Act except that such vehicles shall not be used for driving or chasing wild horses or burros in capture operations. Motor vehicles may also be used for the purpose of transporting captured animals subject to the following humane procedures.

(1) Such transportation shall comply with appropriate State and Federal laws and regulations applicable to humane transportation of horses and burros.

(2) Vehicles shall be inspected by an authorized officer prior to use to ensure vehicles are in good repair and of adequate rate capacity.

(3) Vehicles shall be carefully operated to ensure that captured animals are transported without undue risk or injury.

(4) Where necessary and practical, animals shall be sorted as to age, temperament, sex, size, and condition so as to limit, to the extent possible, injury due to fighting and trampling.

(5) The authorizing officer shall consider the condition of the animals, weather conditions, type of vehicle, and distance to be traveled when planning for transportation of captured animals.

(6) Unless otherwise approved by the authorized officer, the transportation of wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be limited in sequence, to a maximum of 24 hours in transit followed by a minimum of 5 hours of on-the-ground rest with adequate feed and water.