Nevada – Burros
Burros are amazing equids which play a very important role in desert ecosystems. Like wild horses in the West, many wild burro herds are under the control of the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Wild Horse and Burro Program.
Like the wild horses, wild burro herds endure brutal roundups and other inhumane treatment. A BLM plan for the “Lake Mead Complex” (near Las Vegas) would zero out wild burros from two of three habitat areas. According to the plan, a very minimal number of burros would remain in the third area. Adding insult to injury, the BLM would like to capture and remove all wild horses living in the same area.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Roundups (CO & WY)
Colorado’s well-known Sand Wash Basin wild horses are also a BLM target for mass roundup and removals. Their herd management area (HMA) is just over 157,000 acres of taxpayer funded public land. It is estimated that just over 900 wild horses call this area their home. The BLM’s proposal calls for removing just over 770 wild horses which leaves barely 169 horses remaining.
The Sand Wash Advocate Team (“SWAT”) has worked tirelessly implementing a PZP program for population control in this area. But the BLM still intends plans for their mass removal. The current plan allows for ongoing use of PZP, but wants to allow the use of untested (and dangerous) IUDs as alternative population control.
The BLM is also targeting wild horses in an area known as the Wyoming Checkerboard. This would be a massive helicopter roundup with the intent of removing about 3,500 wild horses. That number is approximately 40% of Wyoming’s entire wild horse population. The horses currently live on about 3.5 million acres in the southern part of the state.
The plan would gut the population to just over 1,500 wild horses left to roam free. The BLM’s proposal includes population control measures to treat, then release 290 mares with PZP and use unproven/untested IUDs. An alternative plan being considered calls for the surgical sterilization of 100 mares, castration of 100 stallions, and would skew the sex ratio of the population to 60% stallions and 40% mares (leading to negative behavioral effects).
U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Round Up Plan
Wild horse and burro herds not under the management of the Bureau of Land Management fall under the direction of the U.S. Forest Service (USFS). The Forest Service models its management plans after those of the BLM.
Currently, the USFS wants to allocate taxpayer money (up to $18 million) to fund 6 to 8 years of wild horse helicopter roundups in the Devil’s Garden Wild Horse Territory. This herd is located in California’s northeast corner (Modoc National Forest). The Forest Service plan would reduce the wild horse population to a fraction of its current size so that commercial livestock grazing on these public lands would be increased.
Speak Up for Wild Horse and Burro Herds
Contact your elected officials to let them know the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service need to provide on-the-range management of the horses, use safe, humane population control methods such as PZP, and work with public-private partnerships to put the welfare of the equines first.