Ken Calvert

Wild Horses and Burros

BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program


As you may know, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is responsible for managing our nation’s wild horses and burros on approximately 27 million acres of public lands across 10 western states.


The goal of the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program is to ensure healthy wild horses and burros on thriving public rangelands, using all management tools available to them as authorized by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act.


To promote healthy conditions on the range, the BLM determines what it calls the Appropriate Management Level (AML), which is the number of wild horses and burros that can thrive in balance with other public land resources and uses.


Wild horses and burros that exceed AML (which is 26,715) are to be removed from the range, in accordance with the 1971 law. The current estimated on-range wild horse and burro population, as of March 1, 2017, is 72,674, an 8 percent increase over the 2016 estimate of 67,027. That means the current West-wide on-range population exceeds AML by nearly 47,000. In addition, the BLM is caring for more than 46,000 horses in either short-term corrals or long-term pastures off the range.


Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. According to BLM projections, if it is unable adopt out or transfer to other government agencies a significant number of the wild horses and burros in holding, it will cost the agency approximately $1 billion to feed and care for the horses currently in its holding facilities during their lifetime.



How YOU Can Help!


The BLM offers wild horses and burros that were removed from the range for adoption into private care. Since 1971, the BLM has adopted out more than 235,000 wild horses and burros nationwide. Potential adopters can attend an off-site adoption event, visit a BLM adoption center, or participate in an Internet Adoption event. For general questions on adopting a wild horse or burro, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.