The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has begun selling the wild horses and burros under its care due to the new stipulations of the amended 1971 Wild Horse and Burro Act.

The first group to benefit from the new legislation was Wild Horses Wyoming, LLC. The group purchased 200 mares on March 1. Ron Hawkins, ranch operations partner with Wild Horses Wyoming, LLC, says, "I'm very pleased and proud that Wild Horses Wyoming is the BLM's first buyer of wild horses under the legislation passed by Congress. Out company is committed to the long-term care of these historic animals, and I urge the public to support us in our efforts to ensure good homes for these horses facing an uncertain future under the new law."

March 9 marked the sale of 13 wild horses to Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue in Lancaster, Calif. The rescue group already supports more than 130 wild horses on its ranch. Jill Starr, president of Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue, said, "I am thankful that the BLM is offering opportunities for the sale-mandated horses to be placed in caring homes and sanctuaries. They are making efforts beyond what the new law requires, which proves the BLM is really trying to help the horses. I am pleased to be able to offer sanctuary for some of the horses and their foals, and I wish we could do more."

The Rosebud Sioux of South Dakota purchased 105 mares and 36 stallions (141 total), and the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota purchased 96 mares and 24 stallions (120 total) on March 21. The BLM said the sale of 250 more horses to the tribes is expected to continue throughout the following weeks.

"As the BLM implements the new sale-authority legislation passed by Congress, we are pleased to announce our first sales to the tribes," said Kathleen Clarke, director of the BLM. "We look forward to completing more sales with tribes and all others interested in providing long-term care for the wild horses affected by the new sales authority."

The new wild horse and burro legislation that went into effect in December 2004 directs the BLM to offer for sale those wild horses and burros that are more than 10 years old or have been unsuccessfully offered for adoption at least three times. It is estimated this new law currently affects about 8,400 horses.

Wild horses and burros are currently being sold to groups and individuals on a case-by-case basis at a negotiated price, and are not being sent to public auction. Those interested in purchasing wild horses and burros can call 800/710-7597, or e-mail wildhorse@blm.gov.

About the Author

Marcella M. Reca Zipp, MS

Marcella Reca Zipp, M.S., is a former staff writer for The Horse. She is completing her doctorate in Environmental Education and researching adolescent relationships with horses and nature. She lives with her family, senior horse, and flock of chickens on an island in the Chain O'Lakes.

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