The Bureau of Land Management is tasked to maintain the delicate balance between protecting wild horses and burros while conserving rangelands. Unfortunately, the current population of 81,950 wild horses and burros is more than three times the size public lands can support.
Since the economic downturn in 2008, adoption rates have decreased but the BLM is hoping to address overpopulation and increase wild horse and burro adoption rates through a new incentive program.
Potential adopters must provide adequate water, food, shelter and fencing to secure the wild horse or burro. Interested parties must pay a $25 adoption fee and fill out direct deposit paperwork.
“We will take your paperwork back home, enter it into the system, and as long as everything’s good, we’ll deposit $500 within 60 days of the adoption,” said Debbie Collins, the BLM’s wild horse and burro specialist. “The second $500, if everything has gone well within the year, once the person has applied for title and it has been issued, they would get that second $500. So, it’s a total of $1000 but it’s a year apart.”
Collins hopes the program will lead equestrians to consider adopting wild horses and burros, saying that they are trainable and loyal when given a chance.
“You’re getting an animal that has all the capability of other horses to be trained," she said. "It’s not just that they can be trained, it’s the connection that they seem to have with you that a domestic horse hasn’t had. These horses have had to find a way to exist as they could in the wild, and now they come into this domestic world and see someone reaching out to take care of them. They respond tenfold in loyalty and compassion.”
There is a BLM adoption site in Delta, Utah. Interested parties can call (866) 468-7826 or visit blm.gov/whb.