Nevada’s Wild Horses and Burros
Welcome to the Silver State…home to nearly half the nation’s wild horses and burros.
These Living Legends move with the seasons within 83 Herd Management Areas on nearly 14.7 million acres of public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
Under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, BLM is required to manage wild horses and burros only in those areas (Herd Areas) where they were found when the Act passed in 1971. Through land use planning, BLM evaluates each herd area to determine if it has adequate food, water, cover and space to sustain healthy and diverse wild horse and burro populations over the long-term. The areas which meet these criteria are then designated as Herd Management Areas (HMAs).
BLM also evaluates each HMA to determine how much forage is available for use. The available forage is then allocated among wildlife, wild horses and burros and domestic livestock. The number of horses and burros which can graze without causing damage to the range is called the Appropriate Management Level (AML).
Wild horses and burros can quickly overpopulate an area. They have long life spans and are not very susceptible to predation or disease. Left unchecked, wild horse and burro numbers can double in four years. That can severely impact desert rangelands with scattered, small water sources like we have in Nevada.
To bring wild horse and burro numbers in balance with the available food and water, BLM gathers hundreds of excess wild horses and burros from Nevada ranges every year.
Once captured, excess animals are transported to BLM corral facilities where they are vaccinated to prevent illness or disease and given lots to eat and drink. BLM also assigns each animal a unique number – or freeze mark. Once they are ready, they are made available for adoption through BLM’s Adopt-A-Horse or Burro Program. More than 220,000 wild horses and burros have been adopted by private citizens since the program began in 1971. Nearly half of these animals came from Nevada! To find out more, check out the National Wild Horse & Burro Program website.
One of the few, the proud…one of Nevada’s newest members of the US Marine Corps Mounted Color Guard.