Wild Mustangs released

A group of wild horses run free after 26 are released by the BLM onto the 11,000 acre Sands Basin Herd Management area southwest of Homedale, Wednesday, June 13, 2018. The mustangs are being returned home after nearly all of the Sands Basin HMA was burned by the 279,144-acre Soda Fire in 2015.

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The Bureau of Land Management is seeking contractors to provide corral space for wild horses and burros gathered from public rangelands in the West, the agency announced Tuesday.

The BLM will award contracts to facilities in western Nevada and southwestern Idaho that can accommodate 500 to 3,500 wild horses and burros in safe, humane conditions.

The animals will stay in the corrals short term until they’re transferred to off-range pastures or adoption and sale locations elsewhere around the country. Facilities must be staffed by personnel with knowledge, skill and ability to safely handle wild horses and burros and be capable of providing appropriate veterinary care, according to the release.

Bids will be accepted through April 9. Learn more at blm.gov/whb.

The agency’s budget for the Wild Horse and Burro Program was $85.5 million in fiscal year 2019.

As of March 1, 2019, the wild horse and burro population on public lands was estimated to be 88,090, which is more than triple the number of animals the land can sustainably support in balance with other wildlife and uses of the land, according to the release. The BLM is legally required to maintain healthy wild horse and burro herds on healthy rangelands as part of its mission.

The BLM removes animals from the range to control the size of herds, which double in population every four years because wild horses and burros have virtually no predators that can naturally control population growth. These rapidly growing populations and the stress they place on the landscape requires BLM to remove more animals from the range than the agency can immediately place into private care. Off-range care facilities provide needed capacity to hold these excess animals, while providing veterinary care and preparing them for adoption, according to the release. They provide key support for BLM’s mission of maintaining healthy wild horse and burro herds on healthy rangelands.

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