BLM: Summary Report to Congress


REVIEW – View full Report

• The need for decisive action to reverse the harm to western landscapes and the wild horses and burros occupying them.

• By the early 1990s, the BLM began on the ground use of available vaccines in Nevada and expanded to other States throughout the 1990s.

• As of March 1, 2019, the BLM estimates a minimum population of slightly more than 88,000 wild horses and burros within the 177 Herd Management Areas (HMA) on public lands.

• By 2040, the BLM estimates the on-range populations of wild horses and burros could increase to over 2.8 million If nothing were done to reduce the annual growth rate of these herds.

• The BLM estimates that wild horse and burro herds will continue to grow for the initial four to six years after this plan is enacted.

• For the subsequent twelve to fifteen years, as a result of population growth suppression, removals, and private care placements proposed in this report, wild horse and burro herds would decrease significantly as off-range holding increases.

Specific actions for the above section can be seen below


This analysis assumes annual removals of 18,000 –20,000 wild horses and burros after an initial year of increasing capacity as further described in this strategy.

Most gathered mares are pregnant and even if treated will still give birth to that foal.

Factors for Success

1. Increase the number of corral facilities by 3-4 with about 8,000 new spaces.
2. Annually increase the amount of long-term pasture holding space by about 12-14,000 in the first six years, then about 9-11,000 until AML is achieved.
3. Increase the number of contractors that perform gathers
4. Provide additional removal support staff from other BLM support staff (15-20 additional, including Law enforcement, Public Affairs, Wild Horse Specialists, etc.)
5. Increase other BLM personnel to support gather operations, staffing for transportation logistics, and other key areas.

Population Growth Suppression

The BLM has relied primarily upon Porcine zona pellucida (PZP), which has a 90 percent efficacy rate, but is only effective for one year.

The BLM has been funding research into the effectiveness of the vaccine GonaCon. It has an efficacy rate of 30-40 percent in the first year; however, if a booster is applied within 6-18 months of the initial treatment, its efficacy rate increases up to 90 percent for the next 4-5 years. This would result in an estimated cost of about $12,000 to keep a mare infertile for a lifetime using this vaccine and assuming that the mare could be re-captured every 5 years.

The BLM plans to significantly expand the use of GonaCon.

Factors to Success detail found below

Permanent Sterilization

While gelding (i.e., castration) is used on virtually all stallions removed from the range, it is rarely used as a population growth suppression technique for herds on the range. Due to the reproductive nature of wild horses and burros, over 80 percent of males in a herd would have to be gelded to stabilize population growth.


The BLM is prohibited from euthanizing healthy wild horses and burros by the annual Department of the Interior appropriations acts.

Sale without Limitation

The BLM is prohibited from implementing a strategy to include sales of wild horses and burros without limitation by the annual Department of the Interior appropriations acts.

Off-Range Care Off-range Corrals

The BLM has two different types of off-range corrals: preparatory and maintenance. Preparatory facilities receive animals directly from the range. The animals become acclimated to living off the range; receive vaccine and dewormer treatments; obtain their identifying freezemark and/or microchip; and stallions are gelded in these facilities.

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Don McDowell, Arizona native, is an avid outdoorsman and has been an active bass pro fisherman for over 16 years and in the past 15 years has developed his own radio show promoting bass fishing and conservation efforts for bass fishing that escalated to nominations with several bass groups and organizations. In the past 12 years, Don has pursued his conservation agenda through AZBFN-TBF as Conservation Director and with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, in the spring of 2014 redesigned his website to include those efforts highlighted below and has increased the AZGFD exposure, public education of the AZGFD and Commission issues on his radio show and website soliciting local and national support for Arizona. 2014 has seen the founding of SRT Outdoors, Inc., 501 C3 organization, “Not for Profit, for Conservation” which is concentrating on grants for mitigating the effects of Gizzard Shad on Roosevelt lake thorough habitat enhancement, Florida Strain Bass stocking, lakes bottom mapping, etc. and feral hog research.

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