BLM expands off-range wild horse holding pens
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. — In support of the Bureau of Land Management’s mission to sustainably manage wild horses and burros on public rangelands, the agency announced that is has completed the necessary environmental analyses to award contracts for three new and one expanded off-range corral facilities in the states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
The four corrals, which will collectively hold 8,500 animals, will serve as short-term holding and preparation facilities for animals to be transferred to off-range pastures or adoption and sale locations throughout the country.
The final decision records for the three new facilities are subject to a 30-day appeal and are available for public review at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/2000037/510. The three facilities are located in Cañon City, Colo., Sutherland, Utah, and Wheatland, Wyo. The expansion of the fourth facility — in Axtel, Utah — was accomplished under existing environmental analysis and therefore is not subject to further appeal.
The facilities will be staffed by contractor personnel and overseen by BLM staff with the knowledge, skills and ability to safely and humanely handle wild horses and burros and provide appropriate veterinary care.
The BLM removes excess animals from the range to control herd sizes, which can double in population every four years since wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators that can control growth. These rapidly growing herds and the stress they place on the land requires BLM to remove more animals from the range than the agency can immediately place into private care. Off-range corrals provide needed capacity to hold these excess animals. As such, they are essential to BLM’s mission of maintaining healthy wild horse and burro herds on healthy rangelands.
As of March 1, 2020, the wild horse and burro population on public lands was estimated to be about 95,000, which is more than triple the number of animals the land can sustainably support in balance with other public resource values, including wildlife, recreation, livestock grazing, energy resource development and others. The agency currently holds approximately 50,000 wild horses and burros in a network of off-range corrals and pastures around the country. Many of these animals are awaiting placement into private care through adoption or sale. To learn more about the Wild Horse and Burro Program, visit http://www.blm.gov/whb.
The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. In fiscal year 2018, the diverse activities authorized on BLM-managed lands generated $105 billion in economic output across the country. This economic activity supported 471,000 jobs and contributed substantial revenue to the U.S. Treasury and state governments, mostly through royalties on minerals. ❖