Earlier this month, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Council (Council) approved recommendations for reducing excessive populations of wild horses and burros on federal rangeland, including a resolution stating the agency should remove all “excess animals” within the next three years.
Additionally, the Council proposed that the agency phase out long-term holding facilities for animals removed from the range within the next three years. Also approved was a recommendation to create funding streams to significantly increase adoptions of horses and burros. The Trump administration has requested that Congress ease restrictions on selling excess animals, and allow euthanasia of remaining horses and burros.
Excess horses and burros have a significant, negative impact on western rangelands and the wildlife and communities that depend upon them. Horse and burro populations on public lands and facilities have grown from 25,000 in 1971 to over 118,000 in 2017, greatly exceeding appropriate management levels. The majority of feral horses and burros – about 72,000 – range freely on public land, while 46,000 are maintained in government-run corrals and pastures, costing taxpayers approximately $80 million per year.
For more information on wild horse and burro impacts, please visit the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition’s website.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?