The US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management, or BLM as it’s known, has a lot of responsibilities. None the least of which is their wild horse and burron adoption program. Wild horses and burros are defined by federal law as unbranded, unclaimed, free-roaming horses or burros found on public lands in the United States. Most wild horses and burros living today are descendants of animals that were released or escaped from Spanish explorers, ranchers, miners, the U.S. Cavalry and Native Americans. The problem is, as their numbers increase, resources get stretched thinner and thinner, creating the need for the adoption program.
Wild, free-roaming wild horses can be found on public lands across 10 western states. Wild burros roam rangeland in California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Oregon. Pursuant to the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM and U.S. Forest Service manage wild horses on subsets of public lands where the animals were found upon passage of the Act in 1971. These areas are known as Herd Management Areas. There are adoption centers all over the western US, and adoption events are held nation-wide throughout the year.
Adopting a wild horse or burro can be athoroughly rewarding, but it isn’t for the faint of heart, and the adoption guidelines are fairly strict. https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/adoption-and-sales/adoption-faq Most of the animals have had limited exposure to humans, shelter, trailers and other common experiences we often don’t think about. Adoption and relocation can be a sensory overload for a formerly wild animal, extra love and patience should be at the top of your “to do” list. Not every animal is going to be the ideal adoption candidate, but for those who’ve been welcomed into new homes, their success stories are heart-warming. See some for yourself on their Flickr page, https://www.flickr.com/photos/mypubliclands/sets/72157674369054370
Wild horse or burro adoption may not be for everyone, but it’s a fantastic option to research when your considering adding a new member to your family. Following in the lines of “don’t just shop, adopt!” There are plenty of animals in need of loving homes and kind families to care for them.
For more information about the BLM and Adoption Program, go to their website, https://www.blm.gov/programs/wild-horse-and-burro/about-the-program. Maybe wild hearts can’t be broken, but wild horses and burros can love and be loved, when given the opportunity.