Maintaining Range and Herd Health
How wild horses and burros are managed differs from how most other species are managed on public lands. Wildlife species, such as deer, are usually controlled through a combination of hunting and natural predators. Livestock use on public lands is intricately managed and controlled through grazing permits. Because wild horses and burros are protected from hunting, and because of a lack of natural predators, if left unmanaged herds can double in size in just four to five years and quickly outgrow the ability of the land to support them. Maintaining herd size at the appropriate management level is the best way to ensure healthy horses and burros on healthy rangelands.
Why does the BLM manage wild horses and burros?
The BLM manages wild horses and burros as required by the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Without natural predators that can control population growth, wild horse and burro herds increase rapidly on public lands and can quickly overwhelm the food and water available to them, and cause damage to the land that can take centuries to recover. These impacts occur in areas regardless of whether wild horses and burros share the range with permitted livestock or other wildlife. Management is necessary to ensure healthy horses and burros can thrive on healthy public rangelands for generations to come.
Learn more about how BLM manages wild horses and burros below.