CASPER, Wyo. — The Bureau of Land Management say that one of their missions is to “sustainably manage wild horses and burros on public rangelands.”
There were about 95,000 wild horses and burros on public lands as of March 1, 2020. BLM says that is “more than triple the number of animals the land can sustainably support in balance with other public resource values, including wildlife, recreation, livestock grazing, energy resource development and others.”
The BLM said on Thursday, Aug. 19 that they that they currently hold about 50,000 wild horses and burros “in a network of off-range corrals and pastures around the country. Many of these animals are awaiting placement into private care through adoption or sale.”
They are looking to add more corrals to add capacity to their program. The BLM announced Thursday that they have “completed the necessary environmental analyses to award contracts for three new and one expanded off-range corral facilities in the states of Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.”
“The four corrals, which will collectively hold 8,500 animals, will serve as short-term holding and preparation facilities for animals to be transferred to off-range pastures or adoption and sale locations throughout the country,” the BLM said.
The new facilities would be located in:
- Cañon City, Colorado
- Sutherland, Utah
- Wheatland, Wyoming
The public has 30 days to review and appeal the plans for the new facilities. Records relating to the BLM’s plans can be found online.
“The expansion of the fourth facility – in Axtel, Utah –was accomplished under existing environmental analysis and therefore is not subject to further appeal,” the BLM said.
The BLM says that a contractor would provide staffing for the facilities. Oversight would be provided by “BLM staff with the knowledge, skills and ability to safely and humanely handle wild horses and burros and provide appropriate veterinary care.”
“The BLM removes excess animals from the range to control herd sizes, which can double in population every four years since wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators that can control growth,” the BLM adds. “These rapidly-growing herds and the stress they place on the land requires BLM to remove more animals from the range than the agency can immediately place into private care.”
“Off-range corrals provide needed capacity to hold these excess animals. As such, they are essential to BLM’s mission of maintaining healthy wild horse and burro herds on healthy rangelands.”
This article originally appeared on Oil City News. Used with permission.