Program Data

The Bureau of Land Management manages, protects, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (as amended by Congress in 1976, 1978, 1996, and 2004).  This law authorizes the BLM to remove excess wild horses and burros from the range to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands.  The BLM also manages the nation’s public lands for multiple uses, in accordance with the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act.  The Bureau manages wild horses and burros as part of this multiple-use mandate.

Below are key statistics related to the Wild Horse and Burro Program.  More complete information, including historical figures, can be found as part of annual Public Lands Statistics reported by the BLM.  In addition, information on how the Bureau estimates the on-range wild horse and burro population on BLM-managed lands can be found on our Science and Research page.

Download the Wild Horse and Burro Program Infographic

At a glance

Fiscal Year 2022

Nationwide population estimate: 82,384 as of March 1, 2022
Download the full 2022 population estimate data set
Total removed: 20,193
Total placed into private care (adoptions, sales, transfers): 7,793
Total fertility control treatments: 1,622
Total expenditures: $138.462 million

Fiscal Year 2021

Download the FY2021 Wild Horse and Burro Program Highlights Fact Sheet

Nationwide population estimate: 86,189 as of March 1, 2021
Download the full 2021 population estimate data set
Total removed: 13,666
Total placed into private care: 8,637
Total fertility control treatments: 1,160
Total expenditures: $112.273 million

Population Estimates

The BLM conducts routine population surveys to estimate the number of wild horses and burros roaming BLM-managed lands in the West. To support healthy conditions on public lands, the BLM determines what it calls the Appropriate Management Level (AML), which is the number of wild horses and burros that can thrive in balance with other public land resources and uses. Wild horses and burros that exceed AML are to be removed from the range, in accordance with the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, as amended. 

State Horses Burros Total Max. AML
Arizona 404 9,092 9,496 1,676
California 6,724 3,416 10,140 2,200
Colorado 1,873 0 1,873 827
Idaho 555 0 555 617
Montana 195 0 195 120
Nevada 41,853 4,717 46,570 12,811
New Mexico 272 0 272 83
Oregon 4,485 47 4,532 2,700
Utah 3,509 508 4,017 1,956
Wyoming 4,734 0 4,734 3,795
Total 64,604 17,780 82,384 26,785

For further details on BLM population estimates, download the complete 2022 HA and HMA Dataset (pdf). 
 
Fertility Control Treatments

Where practical and effective, the BLM applies safe and approved fertility control treatments to wild horses and burros living on public lands as a way to slow herd growth and reduce the need for removing excess animals.  In many herds where wild horses are approachable, BLM gets valuable help from volunteers who devote many hours to identifying animals and delivering vaccines by dart. Unfortunately, delivering any vaccine via dart is not a viable option for most wild horse herds because the animals tend to avoid human contact and the vast sizes of most herd management areas make it difficult to locate and approach individual horses. Animals in more remote herds where darting is impractical are first gathered, treated and then released back to their home range. 

As more wild horse and burro herds approach appropriate management levels, the BLM intends to increase fertility control treatments to help maintain herds at the target size. 

Fiscal Year PZP PZP-22 GonaCon IUD Total
2022 530 475 586 31 1,622
2021 673 155 324 8 1,160
2020 563 31 141   735
2019 549 59 52   660
2018 580 110 12   702
2017 422 355     777
2016 334 118 15   467
2015 286 183     469
2014 319 65     384
2013 199 310     509
2012 162 883     1,045

Learn more about the BLM's fertility control and science and research programs

Removals

Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, the BLM removes thousands of animals from the range each year as part of its efforts to control herd sizes. 

Fiscal Year Horses Burros Total
2022 16,971 3,222 20,193
2021 11,748 1,918 13,666
2020 9,181 1,643 10,824
2019 6,126 1,853* 7,979
2018 9,749 1,723 11,472
2017 3,735 474 4,209
2016 2,899 421 3,320
2015 3,093 726 3,819
2014 1,689 168 1,857
2013 4,064 112 4,176
2012 7,242 1,013 8,255

*Includes 2 mules

Adoptions

The BLM offers wild horses and burros that were removed from the range for adoption into private care. Since 1971, the BLM has adopted out more than 270,000 wild horses and burros nationwide. Potential adopters can attend an off-site adoption event, visit a BLM adoption center, or participate in an Online Corral Adoption event. For general questions on adopting a wild horse or burro, visit the Frequently Asked Questions page.  

Fiscal Year Horses Burros Total
2022 5,515 1,154 6,669
2021 5,698 1,671 7,369
2020 3,311 1,430 4,741
2019 3,774 1,356 5,130
2018 2,459 699 3,158
2017 2,905 612 3,517
2016 2,440 472 2,912
2015 2,331 300 2,631
2014 1,789 346 2,135
2013 2,033 278 2,311
2012 2,232 351 2,583
Sales

In 2004, Congress amended the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (the so-called "Burns Amendment") to direct the BLM to sell certain wild horses and burros "without limitation" to any willing buyers animals that are either more than 10 years old or have been passed over for adoption at least three times. It has been and remains the policy of the BLM to NOT sell or send any wild horses or burros to slaughterhouses or to "kill buyers." Learn more about the Sales Program

Fiscal Year Horses Burros  Total
2022 608 490 1,098
2021 717 542 1,259
2020 1,093 326 1,419
2019 1,531 429 1,960
2018 1,201 250 1,451
2017 518 64 582
2016 179 32 211
2015 88 180 268
2014 23 64 87
2013 22 43 65
2012 320 82 402

 

Transfers

Since 2017, Congress has provided authority to the BLM in its annual appropriations bills to transfer excess wild horses and burros to other government agencies for use as "work animals." 

Fiscal Year Horses Burros  Total
2022 20 6 26
2021 9 0 9
2020 3 0 3
2019 7 0 7
Animals Trained

In an effort to place more animals into private care, the BLM partners with non-profit organizations, volunteers, and state and county prisons to train wild horses and burros prior to being placed into a good home. Trained animals tend to have a higher rate of adoption by the public than untrained.

Fiscal Year Horses Burros Total
2022 1,682 378 2,060
2021 1,973 756 2,729
2020      
2019 936 515 1,451
2018 1,096 383 1,479
2017 1,430* 324 1,754
2016 1,001 224 1,225
2015 1,020 79 1,099
2014 652 108 760
2013 481 16 497
2012 656 11 667

 

*Includes one mule

Off-Range Holding

All off-range (unadopted or unsold) wild horses and burros, like those roaming Western public rangelands, are protected by the BLM under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, as amended. These off-range horses and burros are fed and cared for in either off-range corrals or pastures. The BLM maintains a monthly holding facilities report, which can be found by clicking on the Public Lands Stats tab below. Access the most recent FY2023 monthly facility report. The total capacity of all BLM off-range holding facilities is 82,753 animals. 

Data below is current as of November, 2022. 

Facility Type Horses Burros Total
Off-Range Corrals 20,322 2,931 23,253
Off-Range Pastures 39,896 0 39,896
Public Off-Range Pastures 1,220 0 1,220
Total Off-Range Population 61,438 2,931 64,369
Program Expenditures

FY2022

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $137.093 n/a
Total Expenditures* $138.462 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $83.438 60%
Gathers and Removals $12.186 9%
Adoptions $12.308 9%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $30.530 22%

FY2021

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $115.745 n/a
Total Expenditures* $112.273 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $72.359 64%
Gathers and Removals $4.587 4%
Adoptions $14.231 13%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $21.096 19%

FY2020

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $101.555 n/a
Total Expenditures* $91.191 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $56.978 62%
Gathers and Removals $7.043 8%
Adoptions $9.807 11%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $17.364 19%

FY2019

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $80.555 n/a
Total Expenditures* $85.549 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $57.648 67%
Gathers and Removals $3.695 4%
Adoptions $8.163 10%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $16.043 19%

FY2018

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $75 n/a
Total Expenditures* $81.226 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $49.812 61%
Gathers and Removals $6.195 8%
Adoptions $8.255 10%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $16.922 21%

FY2017

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $80.555 n/a
Total Expenditures* $82.567 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $48.627 59%
Gathers and Removals $4.216 5%
Adoptions $7.913 10%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $21.329 26%

FY2016

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $80.555 n/a
Total Expenditures* $78.298 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $49.428 63.1%
Gathers and Removals $3.061 3.9%
Adoptions $7.375 9.4%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $18.434 23.5%

FY2015

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $77.245 n/a
Total Expenditures* $75.174 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $49.382 65.7%
Gathers and Removals $1.834 2.4%
Adoptions $6.314 8.4%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $17.645 23.5%

FY2014

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $77.245 n/a
Total Expenditures* $67.9 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $43.235 63%
Gathers and Removals $1.2 2%
Adoptions $4.6 7%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $18.865 27%

FY2013

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $71.836 n/a
Total Expenditures* $76.1 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $46.165 61%
Gathers and Removals $4.8 6%
Adoptions $7.5 10%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $17.035 22%

FY2012

Budget Category Dollars (in millions) % of Expenditures
Appropriations $74.888 n/a
Total Expenditures* $72.4 n/a
Off-Range Holding Costs $42.955 59%
Gathers and Removals $7.8 11%
Adoptions $7.1 10%
Other Activities (monitoring, etc.) $14.545 20%

 

* Expenditures include funding sources from multiple program areas related to wild horse and burro management.

Historical Data

Historical Program Data and Public Lands Statistics

This table contains links to data related to on-range population of wild horses and burros, adoptions and removals by fiscal year.  Some data are preliminary and subject to revision before the end of the fiscal year. Download prior year wild horse and burro accomplishments fact sheets: FY2018FY2019 and FY2021

Population Completed Gathers Adoptions, Sales and Removals by State Office HAs and HMAs Data Off-Range Monthly Facility Reports
2022 - not available 2022 2022 - not available 2022 2022
2021 - not available 2021 2021 - not available 2021 2021
2020 2020 2020 2020 2020
2019 2019 2019 2019 2019
2018 2018 2018 2018 2018
2017 2017 2017 2017 2017
2016 2016 2016 2016 2016
2015 2015 2015 2015 2015
2014 2014 2014 2014 2014
2013 2013 2013 2013 2013
1996-2012 2009-2012 1996-2012 2005-2012 2011-2012

B-Roll Footage

Links to YouTube. 

Wild Horses and Burros on the Range (Nevada) - 307 MB

Wild Horses on the Range (Wyoming) - 34 MB 

Wild Horses on the Range (Nevada) - 73 MB

Wild Horses on the Range (Utah) - 126 MB

Wild Horses and Burros on the Range (California) - 67 MB

Wild Horse Gather Operation (Utah and California) - 241 MB

Releasing Wild Horses back into HMA - 220 MB

Wild Horses Arriving at Off-Range Pasture - 113 MB

Wild Horses on Off-Range Pasture (Spring) - 160 MB

Wild Horses on Off-Range Pasture (Fall) - 80 MB

Wild Horse Inmate Training Program (Colorado) - 280 MB

Releases

All video files in this archive are "public domain" images. You are free to use these videos without a release from the Bureau of Land Management. However, the videos must not be used to imply BLM endorsement of a product, service, organization or individual without permission from the BLM.

Credit

Credit video to the Bureau of Land Management. 

Contact

For questions or higher-quality files, please contact wildhorse@blm.gov or 866-468-7826 .

Points of Contact

Jason Lutterman, Public Affairs WH&B Program, 775-861-6614

BLM Press Office: BLM_Press@blm.gov