The Bureau of Land Management announced today its tentative summer schedule for gathering wild horses and burros from overpopulated herds on Western public rangelands. The gathers are needed to bring herd sizes into balance with other rangeland resources and uses, as required by Federal law and approved land-use plans.
“With the new gather season starting in July, we must carry out these gathers in a fully transparent manner,” said BLM Director Bob Abbey. “That includes taking full ownership of what we do and by sharing both the positive and negative news with our various publics, whatever criticism may come our way.”
Abbey added, “Our work on a forthcoming new strategy for managing wild horses and burros is part of our commitment to a ‘new normal’ of doing business. Among other things, the strategy calls for greater reliance on population-suppression techniques, including increased application of the fertility-control vaccine known as PZP.”
The goal will be to treat more than 1,200 mares per year (over the current level of about 900 in FY 2011) through implementation of “catch, treat, and release” gathers. These gathers will be principally aimed at applying the fertility-control vaccine porcine zona pellucida (PZP) to mares. In some herds, the BLM will adjust sex ratios in favor of males to reduce the number of on-the-range pregnancies or potentially manage non-reproducing herds (such as geldings) in some Herd Management Areas.
The public and media are invited to observe the gathers. Observation points will be determined by the BLM in a manner that recognizes the need for good viewing sites, along with the need to ensure viewer and animal safety.
The approximate dates of the summer gathers are listed at the following link.
The BLM manages more land – over 245 million acres – than any other Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The Bureau, with a budget of about $1 billion, also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM’s multiple-use mission is to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. The Bureau accomplishes this by managing such activities as outdoor recreation, livestock grazing, mineral development, and energy production, and by conserving natural, historical, cultural, and other resources on public lands.