BLM Seeks Proposals for Wild Horse, Burro Population Control

BLM Seeks Proposals for Wild Horse, Burro Population Control

The BLM estimates that 40,605 wild horses and burros (about 33,780 horses and 6,825 burros) roam BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states.

Photo: Bureau of Land Management

As part of its continuing efforts to improve the national wild horse and burro program and in response to a recent National Academy of Sciences (NAS) study, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is seeking research proposals to develop new or improve existing ways of controlling the population growth of wild horses and burros that roam public lands in the West.

“We remain committed to making substantial improvements to the national wild horse and burro program and we know that some of the best ideas for effective contraception techniques will come from veterinarians, scientists, universities, pharmaceutical companies, and other researchers outside of the BLM,” said Joan Guilfoyle, division chief of the program. “The development and use of more effective methods to reduce population growth rates will lessen the need to remove animals from the range and improve the health of public rangelands, conserve wildlife habitat, and save taxpayers money.”

The BLM has issued a request for applications to alert veterinarians, scientists, universities, pharmaceutical companies, and other researchers of the BLM’s need to develop new, innovative techniques and protocols for implementing population growth-suppression methods. Specifically, the BLM is interested in finding experts to develop new or refine current techniques and protocols for either contraception or spaying/neutering on-range male and female wild horses and burros via surgical, chemical, pharmaceutical, or mechanical (such as intrauterine devices) means.

The submission deadline for applications is May 7. The link to the solicitation can be found at www.grants.gov/web/grants/search-grants.html?keywords=wild horse. The funding opportunity number is L14AS00048.

President Barack Obama’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2015 includes $80.2 million for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program, a $2.8 million increase over the fiscal year 2014 level. The additional funds will focus on research of population-control methods.

The BLM estimates that 40,605 wild horses and burros (about 33,780 horses and 6,825 burros) roam BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states, based on data compiled Feb. 28, 2013. Wild horses and burros have virtually no natural predators and their herd sizes can double about every four years, as confirmed by the recent NAS study. That study urged the BLM to make wider use of fertility control and found that, on average, the BLM undercounts the Westwide wild horse and burro population by 20% to 30%.

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