U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
For Immediate Release: June 5, 2007
Wild Horses and Burros Headed for Chico
Residents of the Chico area and the North Valley have the opportunity to add a wild horse or burro to their families, when the Bureau of Land Management offers animals for public adoption Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico.
Animals will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. Anyone interested can preview the mustangs and burros when they arrived at the fairgrounds Friday, June 22, at about 2 p.m.
The BLM will offer 30 horses, including 20 yearling fillies and colts and 10 mares and geldings between 2 and 5 years old. Adopters can also select from 10 burros.
The adoption event opens with an hour of silent bidding beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday. Animals not taken during bidding will be available for at $125 adoption fee.
“This is a great opportunity to adopt a young, healthy wild horse or burro, and to begin gentling and training it,” said Pardee Bardwell of the BLM. “These are intelligent, loyal and highly trainable animals.”
All available animals have received de-worming treatments and vaccinations for West Nile virus, rabies and common equine diseases. All have negative Coggins test results. Adopters receive complete health records for their animals so they can begin health care programs with their veterinarians.
To qualify, adopters must be at least 18 years old and have no convictions for inhumane treatment of animals. BLM staff members will interview all prospective adopters to be sure they meet the BLM adoption requirements.
Newly adopted horses and burros must be kept in corrals with at least 400 square feet of space per animal (20 feet by 20 feet), surrounded by a fence built of pipe or boards. Six-foot corral fences are required for adult horses.
Horses under 18 months old can be kept in corrals with five-foot fences, and four-and-a-half-foot corral fences are allowed for burros. Adopters must provide a two-sided, roofed shelter to provide protection from extreme weather.
“Adopted animals should be kept in this corral until they can be approached, handled, haltered and led,” Bardwell explained. “They can be moved to pastures after they have been gentled.”
Adopters must provide a halter and lead rope. BLM wranglers will halter and load adopted animals. Adult horses must be transported in stock trailers with side-swinging gates.
Title to adopted wild horses and burros remains with the federal government for one year. After providing a year of good care, adopters can receive title. The BLM or a representative will check on the condition of the animals during the adoption period.
“Adopters love their horses for pleasure riding and trail riding, back country packing, ranch work and competition. People train their burros for back country packing, pulling carts, and riding,” Bardwell said.
Wild horses and burros are protected by a federal law, the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The law recognizes the animals as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the west,” and requires the BLM to manage the wild herds.
The BLM periodically gathers horses and burros to control herd populations on ranges shared with wildlife and domestic livestock. Herd sizes are controlled to ensure there is sufficient feed and water for all range users and to ensure that natural resources are not over-used.
There are about 31,000 wild horses and burros roaming on public rangelands in the western states. More than 215,000 animals have been placed in private care since the BLM’s Adopt-a-Horse-or-Burro Program began in the early 1970s.
For additional information on the adoption event or wild horse management, contact the BLM toll free at 866-4MUSTANGS or Bardwell at (707) 468-4055. Information is also available online at www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.
Northern California Public Affairs 2950 Riverside Drive Susanville, CA 96130