Science and Research
Using Sound Science to Inform Management of Wild Horses and Burros
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) uses the latest science in its efforts to ensure that viable numbers of wild horses and burros can thrive on healthy public rangelands. For example, the BLM uses science to monitor rangeland vegetation, soils, water, wildlife habitat, and the effects of wildfire. Additionally, the BLM is implementing science and research recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences’ 2013 report to the BLM:
- To more accurately estimate wild horse and burro populations, the BLM implemented better population survey methods in 2014. Each year, one-third of all Herd Management Areas will be surveyed using methods developed by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).
- In addition to the aerial surveys using USGS methods, the BLM is researching other ways to accurately estimate population size (see Spotlight on Research below).
- Research began in 2014 to evaluate the effectiveness of new formulations of SpayVac, a Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP) based contraceptive vaccine.
- To better understand public preferences for the management of wild horses and burros, the BLM is conducting a socio-economic research project that will include focus groups and a national survey.
- The BLM will launch research projects in 2015 to develop new and more effective tools for controlling wild horse and burro population growth.