According to MSN.com the Bureau of Land Management announced that they will be offering up to $1,000 to adopt a wild horse, “to encourage more adopters to give a wild horse or burro a good home.”
Under the agency’s adoption incentive program, adopters are eligible to receive $500 within 60 days of adopting an untrained wild horse and burro, and another $500 within 60 days of titling the animal.
People interested in the program can adopt and maintain four wild horses or burros each year.
More than 4,600 wild horses and burros found good homes last year! To help find even more homes this year, we’re now offering up to $1,000 to adopt your own untrained wild horse or burro. Learn more: https://t.co/qoEY2xyl0i pic.twitter.com/ozWOfsjWbp— BLM WHB Program (@BLMWHB) 12 March 2019
There are around 82,000 wild horses and burros on rangelands across the West – more than triple the number of animals that can be supported on that land, according to the Idaho Statesman.
The reasoning behind the program is simple: the population is up, but adoptions are down, causing serious environmental impact. And, the combination of damaged land caused by grazing and the animals’ large numbers has resulted in some beginning to starve.
While the BLM generally captures wild horses and cares for them in corrals, the agency’s corrals are at capacity, BLM’s wild horse and burro national outreach specialist Debbie Collins told Boise State Public Radio.
It typically costs the agency around $2,000 each year to care for a corralled horse. While the agency removed 11,472 animals from the wild last year, only 4,609 of them were ultimately adopted or sold, the Idaho Statesman reported.
The agency hopes that by encouraging people to adopt untrained animals through the $1,000 incentive, they will have more space to capture and corral horses and burros from the wild. The BLM cares for around 50,000 unadopted and unsold animals each year,according to a statement from the agency.
Under the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM is responsible for managing and protecting wild horses and burros. Congress declared the animals “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.”