- iStock / Benalbright
- The Bureau of Land Management will be offering people up to $1,000 to adopt wild horses, thanks to a new program aimed at addressing overpopulation on range lands across the West.
- There are currently around 82,000 wild horses and burros roaming the American West. While the population is up, adoptions are down, increasing the risk that these animals may starve.
- Those considering adoption should visit the BLM website or call 866-468-7826 to learn more about the adoption guidelines.
Calling all horse lovers: today may be your lucky day.
The Bureau of Land Management announced that they will be offering up to $1,000 to adopt a wild horse, “to encourage more adopters to give a wild horse or burro a good home.”
Under the agency’s adoption incentive program, adopters are eligible to receive $500 within 60 days of adopting an untrained wild horse and burro, and another $500 within 60 days of titling the animal. People interested in the program can adopt and maintain four wild horses or burros each year.
There are around 82,000 wild horses and burros on rangelands across the West – more than triple the number of animals that can be supported on that land, according to the Idaho Statesman. The reasoning behind the program is simple: the population is up, but adoptions are down, causing serious environmental impact. And, the combination of damaged land caused by grazing and the animals’ large numbers has resulted in some beginning to starve.
More than 4,600 wild horses and burros found good homes last year! To help find even more homes this year, we’re now offering up to $1,000 to adopt your own untrained wild horse or burro. Learn more: https://t.co/qoEY2xyl0i pic.twitter.com/ozWOfsjWbp
— BLM WHB Program (@BLMWHB) March 12, 2019
While the BLM generally captures wild horses and cares for them in corrals, the agency’s corrals are at capacity, BLM’s wild horse and burro national outreach specialist Debbie Collins told Boise State Public Radio. It typically costs the agency around $2,000 each year to care for a corralled horse. While the agency removed 11,472 animals from the wild last year, only 4,609 of them wre ultimately adopted or sold, the Idaho Statesman reported.
The agency hopes that by encouraging people to adopt untrained animals through the $1,000 incentive, they will have more space to capture and corral horses and burros from the wild. The BLM cares for around 50,000 unadopted and unsold animals each year, according to a statement from the agency.
Under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM is responsible for managing and protecting wild horses and burros. Congress declared the animals “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”
For those interested in adopting but are unsure of the commitment, BLM Deputy Director of Programs and Policy Brian Steed told the Reno Gazette-Journal that “the incentive is designed to help with the adopter’s initial training and humane care.”
“I encourage anyone who has considered adopting a wild horse or burro to join the thousands of owners who have provided good homes to more than 245,000 wild horses or burros since 1971,” Steed added.
Those considering adoption should visit the BLM website or call 866-468-7826 to learn more about the adoption guidelines. If you need even more persuasion, check out the agency’s Flickr page for adorable photos of successful wild horse adoptions.
“We’ve bonded so quickly and have become best friends,” an Idaho teenager said about her adopted mustang, Kilchii. “After the first week, every time I came to work with him, he would always come to the gate and wait to greet me.”