Greener pastures for wild horses

Feb 10, 2012
by WLJ

As part of its duty to manage and protect wild horses and burros, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is soliciting bids for new, publicly accessible pasture facilities that provide a freeroaming environment.

BLM seeks one or more long-term pasture facilities capable of providing humane care to 400 to 2,000 wild horses for a one-year period, with a renewal option under BLM contract for nine oneyear extensions. The solicitation is open until April 10, 2012, and is entirely reserved for small businesses under the North American Industry Classification System.

Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, BLM manages and protects these living symbols of the Western spirit while ensuring population levels are in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses.

To make sure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands, BLM must remove thousands of animals from the range each year to control the size of herds, which have virtually no predators and can double in population every four years. The current free-roaming population of BLM-managed wild horses and burros is 38,500, which exceeds by nearly 12,000 the number determined by BLM to be the appropriate management level. Off the range, there are more than 45,000 wild horses and burros cared for in either short-term corrals or long-term pastures.

All these animals, whether on or off the range, are protected by BLM under the 1971 law.

BLM’s bidding requirements are posted in solicitation L12PS00118, the details of which are available at — WLJ