BLM Seeks Public Input for New Strategy for National Wild Horse and Burro Program
The Bureau of Land Management is seeking in-depth public comment on a
newly proposed national strategy for the management of the BLM’s Wild
Horse and Burro program. The agency is encouraging all interested
individuals to comment on this national strategy during the next 60
days. The BLM will consider the public’s input as it prepares a
long-term strategy that will be presented in a detailed report to
Congress later this year.
The BLM does not administer any wild horses or burros in Alaska. The
BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program is accessible on the BLM’s national
homepage, www.blm.gov. This is where the public can find the strategic
proposal documents and provide the BLM with feedback.
As part of this new strategy, certain topics and options will be off the
table including euthanasia of healthy excess animals, or their sale
without limitation to protect the animals from slaughter. BLM Director
Bob Abbey said other difficult topics and even some controversial
options will be up for discussion. Among them: implementation of a
comprehensive animal welfare program; the potential reintroduction of
wild horses or burros into herd areas where they currently don’t exist;
increased use of fertility control or other methods to slow population
growth; opportunities to make more forage available for wild horses and
burro use; the establishment of preserves to care for unadopted wild
horses; the designation of selected wild horses and burros as treasured
herds; opportunities to place more excess animals into private care; and
continued emphasis on science and research to ensure the BLM is using
the best available science to manage our wild horse and burro herds now
and in the future.
The BLM estimates that nearly 38,000 wild horses and burros roam
BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states: Arizona, California,
Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, and Wyoming.
Another 35,000 wild horses and burros are fed and cared for at
short-term corrals and long-term pastures (none in Alaska).
Costs for the program, particularly for animals in holding facilities,
have risen dramatically in the last several years. In fiscal year 2009,
for example, approximately $29 million, or about 70 percent of the total
wild horse and burro program budget of $40.6 million, was spent on
animals held in corrals and pastures.
The BLM partnered with the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict
Resolution in preparing a detailed assessment and plan for public
outreach and engagement for a new strategy for the program. The BLM used
the Institute’s report to develop its Wild Horse and Burro Strategy
Development Document. Both documents are available on the BLM’s website
The BLM manages 253 million acres – more land than any other federal
agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is
primarily located in 12 Western states, including 75 million acres in
Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers
700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation.
The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity
of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future
generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as
outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy
production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other
resources on public lands.
# # #