Wild Horse & Burro

Wild horses and burros are non-native animals, protected by the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WHB Act). The proper management of these animals on federal land affects many ranchers across the West.

However, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has only been able to manage these populations to a limited degree due to litigation that makes management difficult to carry out. Because of these obstacles, the horse population is currently 42% above the scientifically-determined Appropriate Management Level (AML), which has led to overgrazing.

This overpopulation is leading to negative impacts on many species protected by the Endangered Species Act, such as steelhead fish and the Greater Sage Grouse. In fact, the horses themselves are suffering from starvation and dehydration, with many of them dying as colts on the range.

What PLC is Doing

PLC is working with the National Wild Horse and Burro Rangeland Management Coalition to promote effective management.

Together, the PLC and Coalition believes the BLM should:

  • Manage population growth through more effective fertility control methods;
  • Maintain “gathers” – a population management strategy – to help assure AML is reached on the range;
  • Reject conversion of livestock grazing permits to wild horse/burro use;
  • Limit establishment of preserves to private land;
  • Simplify adoption practices to encourage private care of animals; and,
  • Allow for full-title sale of horses to private owners.

You Can Help

  • Document any damage occurring due to horse overpopulation;
  • Contact your representatives in Congress to alert them to the issues; and,
  • Maintain open dialogue with your local, regional and state offices of federal land management agencies.