The Bureau of Land Management’s March 2021 to 2022 population estimate for wild horses and burros on the public lands they manage has been reported as 86,189 and 82,384 respectively.
Before this report, the total number of wild horses and burros was said to have increased from over 37,000 in 2012 to an estimate of over 95,000 in 2020.
The BLM has a stated goal to get to an “Appropriate Management Level” (AML) of just over 26,000 total wild horses and burros over 177 “Herd Management Areas” (HMAs) in 10 Western states where they are allocated by law to roam freely.
Unfortunately the BLM’s yearly population estimates are the only range-wide figures currently available. They are very much viewed with doubt by many wild horse advocacy groups and individuals. The figures reported by the BLM appear to tie in with the plans they continue to come up with to decrease wild horse and burro populations in the wild.
What is known for certain is that over the past four fiscal years, the BLM has removed just under 44,000 wild horses and burros from their legally allocated ranges. And that just over 3,200 have been provided with fertility control.
Additionally, the BLM intends to get rid of “at least” 19,000 wild horses and burros from taxpayer funded lands in the current fiscal year. Their plan allows for providing about 2,300 with some form of fertility control.
It’s clear that the BLM wants to continue brutal roundups which are excessive and inhumane. At this time over 60,000 captured wild horses and burros live in “off-range” holding facilities, with just over 21,000 of these held in overcrowded government corrals. In 2021, the BLM spent over $72 million to warehouse horses in off-range holding facilities.