As part of its responsibility to manage, protect, and control wild horses and burros, the Bureau of Land Management is soliciting bids for several new long-term (pasture) facilities located in the continental United States. One solicitation is for pasture facilities holding 200 to 1,000 wild horses; the other is for facilities holding 1,000 to 5,000 wild horses. Both solicitations, which are open for 60 days, are for dry mares, mares in foal, and geldings. Each pasture facility must be able to provide humane care for a one-year period, with a renewal option under BLM contract for four one-year extensions.
The BLM manages wild horses and burros as part of its overall multiple-use land management mission. Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the Bureau manages and protects these living symbols of the Western spirit while ensuring that population levels are in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses. To achieve this balance, the BLM must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control the size of herds, which have virtually no predators and can double in population every four years. The current free-roaming population of BLM-managed wild horses and burros is more than 36,000, which exceeds by some 9,400 the number determined by the BLM to be the appropriate management level. Off the range, there are nearly 32,000 wild horses and burros cared for in either short-term (corral) or long-term (pasture) facilities. All animals in holding are protected by the BLM under the 1971 law.
After wild horses and burros are removed from the range, the Bureau works to place younger animals into private care through adoption. Since 1971, the BLM has placed more than 220,000 horses and burros into such care through the adoption process, in which the adopter may gain the title of ownership after providing one year of humane care. Under a December 2004 amendment to the 1971 wild horse law, animals over 10 years old, as well as those passed over for adoption at least three times, are eligible for sale, a transaction in which the title of ownership passes immediately from the Federal government to a buyer committed to long-term care. Since that amendment took effect, the BLM has sold more than 3,300 horses and burros.
For more information about the BLM’s wild horse and burro adoption and sales programs, see the BLM’s Internet Home Page (www.blm.gov).
The BLM manages more land – 256 million surface acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including 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, and cultural resources on the public lands.