The Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act gave the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the U. S. Forest Service the statutory authority to manage and protect wild horse and burros; Equus ferus and E. asinus, respectively) in designated horse management areas (HMAs; Public Law 92-195). The intent of the Act was to ensure healthy populations of free-roaming equids in ecological balance with multiple-uses on public lands. In 2001, the BLM set ecological balance at 26,960 free-roaming equids. As of 1 March 2018, the BLM estimated that 81,951 free-roaming equids now inhabit HMAs. This does not include an estimated 14,000-18,000 new foals or reflect removals during the fiscal year. The BLM gathers free-roaming equids from HMAs where the populations are impacting the range and animal health is compromised. Gathered animals are offered for adoption. The BLM has placed more than 240,000 wild horses and burros into private care since 1971.The Palomino Valley Wild Horse and Burro Center (PVC), near Reno, Nevada is the largest BLM preparation and adoption facility in the country. Most of the PVC animals are available for adoption; however, some animals may not be immediately available if they have not completed the adoption preparation process. If not adopted, the BLM must care for them for the remainder of their lives. In 2018, the BLM spent $49.8 million, 61% of its $81.2 million budget, to care for animals in holding facilities. This tour will provide participants insights into BLM adoption programs and off-range management of free-roaming equids.
Organizers: Terry Messmer, Alan Shepherd
Supported by: TWS Rangeland Wildlife and Wildlife Damage Management Working Groups, Nevada Chapter of the Wildlife Society, Jack H. Berryman Institute, Utah State University