“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 (RFA) 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 the spaying/neutering of on-range male and female wild horses and burros. The methods may be surgical, chemical, pharmaceutical, or mechanical (such as intrauterine devices). The submission deadline for applications is May 7, 2014.
The President’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 FY 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) are roaming BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states, based on the latest data available, compiled as of February 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 urged the BLM to make wider use of fertility control and found that, on average, the BLM undercounts the Westwide population of wild horses and burros by 20 to 30 percent.