On October 9 – 11, the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board held a meeting to approve a suite of recommendations on horse and burro management for the BLM.
The panel, which is composed of nine members representing a wide array of interests, voted to recommend that the BLM use nonlethal management options for wild horse and burro population control purposes where possible, including fertility control and increased adoptions. These recommendations represent a change in direction from the panel’s 2016 vote encouraging the agency to employ lethal management strategies to bring horse and burro populations in line with Appropriate Management Levels (AML). The panel also encouraged the BLM to phase out long-term holding over the next three years, and to create funding mechanisms to maximize adoptions and/or sales of horses and burro, both domestically and internationally.
In advance of the meeting, the National Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition (Coalition) submitted written testimony encouraging the Board to advance a number of recommendations to the BLM, including:
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 129,000 in 2018, greatly exceeding AML. The majority of feral horses and burros – about 82,000 – range freely on public land, while 48,000 are maintained in government-run corrals and pastures, costing taxpayers approximately $82 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?