National Wild Horse and Burro Program

"The Bureau of Land Management’s top priority is to ensure the health of the public lands so that the species depending on them – including the nation’s wild horses and burros – can thrive.   To achieve that end, the BLM’s wild horse and burro program must be put on a sustainable course that benefits the animals, the land, and the American taxpayer."

BLM Director Bob Abbey
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Wild Horse and Burro Program News Update

Presdent's Budget Calls for Substantial Increase in Wild Horse Program

President Obama’s FY 2011 BLM budget proposal requests $75.9 million for the wild horse and burro program, a $12 million increase over the FY 2010 level of $63.9 million. The budget proposal makes a separate, but related, land-acquisition funding request of $42.5 million for the purchase of land for one wild horse preserve. More...

A new video (right) tells the story of the BLM's Wild Horse and Burro Program. Video files may take a while to download, depending on your connection speed.  Click the blue triangular button to start each video.  If no video appears, refresh the page.

The BLM protects, manages, and controls wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands. The BLM manages these living symbols of the Western spirit as part of its multiple-use mission under the 1976 Federal Land Policy and Management Act .

About the Program

The BLM estimates that nearly 37,000 wild horses and burros are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states. Wild horses herd sizes can double about every four years. As a result, the agency must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control herd sizes. New research on fertility control may provide alternatives.

Secretary Salazar's Initiative

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar has proposed a national solution to restore the health of America’s wild horse herds and the rangelands that support them by creating a cost-efficient, sustainable management program that includes the possible creation of wild horse preserves on the productive grasslands of the Midwest and East. The initiative has received wide support from local and state agencies as well as advocacy groups. 

The Calico Gather

In December 2009, the BLM began a gather in the Calico Mountains of northern Nevada, with the goal of keeping 600 to 900 horses in the complex.  To reach that number, about 2,500 excess wild horses would be removed.  The gather is expected to continue until late February 2010. 

In the News

Secretary Salazar's Initiative and the Calico Gather have created a considerable amount of publicity about the wild horse program. Local as well as national news organizations have commented on the program.  State wildlifle agencies have joined wilderness and wildlife groups, such as the National Wildlife Federation, in support.

What Can I Do?

Providing a home for a wild horse or burro is a challenging and rewarding experience. For qualified individuals, this is a unique opportunity to care for, then own, a "Living Legend" -- a symbol of American history -- namely, a wild horse or burro. If you can't adopt but still want to help, the program encourages people to volunteer, serve on advisory committees, and make donations.

More Information about the Wild Horse & Burro Program

During the 1950s in Nevada, Velma B. Johnston, later known as Wild Horse Annie, became aware of the ruthless and indiscriminate manner in which wild horses were being gathered from the rangelands.  Today, the BLM manages a program that includes adoption, research, and management of this unique American resource in a humane manner.

BLM State Wild Horse Program Links




Eastern States




New Mexico