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Finding Practical Solutions


Our Foundation seeks practical solutions that bring together diverse perspectives, creating a shared space for collaboration. Amidst passionate stakeholder opinions on wild horse and burro management, it’s easy to feel discouraged. Yet, after extensive engagement, dialogue with BLM officials, and participation in relevant meetings, there are several common-ground solutions that offer hope for consensus on managing America’s wild horses and burros.

Too many wild horses and burros have been removed from their native ranges and are being held in off-range facilities.  When we started in 2001 there were approximately 10,000 horses and burros in holding.  Now (October, 2023) there are approximately 61,000!  

Following, is a summary the BLM provided regarding its off-range holding program:

Off-Range Holding Stats

Besides the point that these horses and burros should be on their native ranges, it costs the US tax payer a lot of money to take care of animals that have been removed.  The BLM spent $108,512,000 (or 69% of its wild horse and burro budget) in Fiscal Year 2023 for off-range holding costs!

An important way to reduce the number of horses and burros being held in off-range holding is to increase the number of adoptions. In the past 5 years the BLM adoption program has re-homed approximately 30,129 horses and burros, which is about 6,000 animals per year.  At this average, it would take approximately 10 years to eliminate all of the horses and burros being held in off-range facilities.

However, more horses and burros are added each year as the BLM continues to primarily use gathers and removals to controls herd sizes.  The following screenshot was taken of the BLM’s summary of removals for the past 5 years:

BLM - removal stats

Of course, the compounding problem is that wild horse and burro herds can grow at a rate of 15-20% per year.  Having few natural predators, herds can double in size every 4-5 years.

Following, is a simple graph we put together showing how a herd can grow in size.

20% herd growth rate


An obvious solution is to control herd growth rates and eliminate (or greatly minimize) the need to gather and remove animals.

Since 2015, our Foundation has collaborated with the BLM to administer contraceptives to the Onaqui Mountain Herd, with plans to extend this approach to other herds.

We administer the contraceptives by darts, which are shot from a CO2-powered rifle.  Remote darting is much easier on the horses than treating them during a helicopter gather.