compiled by Grandma Gregg

There are no “excess” wild horses and burros on their legally designated lands…



For the past 40 plus years the BLM management appears to be politically driven by financial stakeholders, i.e. livestock permittees, mining and energy corporations, large lobbying trophy hunting “clubs” and many more. But let’s face it … the only persons that have worked for 40 plus years for the extinction of wild horses and burros are those with a financial interest. This has been and continues to be unacceptable.

There are no “excess” wild horses and burros on their legally designated lands. In 1971 when the wild horse and burro protection law was unanimously signed by the Congress of the United States, wild horses and burros were found roaming across 53.8 million acres; known as Herd Areas. The American people are being misled by our government agencies that are mandated by Congressional Law to protect these animals. The wild horses and burros already have a place to live; and it is not in government corrals.   These animals and this land do not belong to the government or the Bureau of Land Management; the wild horses and burros and the land belong to you and me.

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has not established the true population numbers of wild horses and burros on their congressionally designated range lands and therefore there is no justification for any capture, removal, permanent or temporary sterilization of wild horses and burros. None.

In addition, the permanent or temporary sterilization of any wild horses or burros in conjunction with the Bureau of Land Management is in direct conflict with the recent National Academy of Science (NAS) report and recommendations. http://dels.nas.edu/Report/Using-Science-Improve/13511  The NAS findings clearly state that the BLM has failed to provide accurate estimates of the nation’s population of wild horses and burros.  Therefore, the NAS cannot conclude that a state of over-population exists and or provide a recommendation for artificial management considerations such as fertility controls to control populations for which the complex population dynamics are currently unknown.  The NAS institute said the report lent credence to accusations that the bureau [BLM] has been ignoring science and grossly mismanaging the wild equines.

Tresspass Sheep LawnmowerThis National Academy of Science report reviews the science that underpins the Bureau of Land Management’s oversight of free-ranging horses and burros on federal public lands in the western United States and the report goes on to say, “The Wild Horse and Burro Program has not used scientifically rigorous methods to estimate the population sizes of horses and burros, to model the effects of management actions on the animals, or to assess the availability and use of forage on rangelands.”

The NAS report continues:

  • Management of free-ranging horses and burros is not based on rigorous population-monitoring procedures.At the time of the committee’s review, most Herd Management Areas did not use inventory methods or statistical tools common to modern wildlife management. Survey methods used to count animals were often inconsistent and poorly documented and did not quantify the uncertainty attached to counts.
  • On the basis of information provided to the committee, the statistics on the national population size cannot be considered scientifically rigorous.The links between BLM’s estimates of the national population size and its actual population surveys – the data that underlie these estimates – are obscure. The procedures used to develop population estimates for the Herd Management Areas from counts of animals are not standardized and frequently not documented.

More than ever before, BLM field managers and wild horse and burro specialists are challenged to base management decisions on accurate and credible population estimates.

The Fort Collins Science Center who guides the BLM’s aerial population procedures states, “Because population estimates drive nearly all management decisions pertaining to wild horses and burros, accuracy is important.” “Given the demand for reliable information on which to base management decisions, wild horse and burro managers need standardized, tested, defensible, cost-effective, yet easy-to-use aerial population estimation techniques for wild horse and burro herds in a range of habitats and across a range of population sizes and densities. The accuracy and precision of current wild horse survey methods have not been rigorously tested. Thus, a statistically valid estimation technique is needed.

 Personal thoughts about wild horse and burro census taking:

  • The census numbers are important but what is also important is the documentation proving or disproving accuracy of BLM’s census and population counts.
  • What is required is objective science and not political pressure from government officials and for-private-profit corporations who realize the financial importance of these lands that were once believed to be worthless and are now found to be very valuable.
  • One easy and inexpensive example of providing proof of the BLM’s census counts would be the use of a video camera (such as a Go-Pro) on the helicopter.

Why has this not been done by BLM for wild horses and burros census? Is it because it would verify the inaccurate and inflated census counts of wild horses and burros that are reported by the BLM? The BLM’s aerial surveys are not scientifically supportable and not defensible and therefore not credible.

Wefare CattleThere is NO reason for these wild horse and burro removals and destruction procedures … because there are NO excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. In 1971, when Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, these animals were found roaming across 53,800,000 million acres. That amount of acreage could support more than about 250,000 wild horses and burros but even after 22,200,000 acres were stolen from the American people by government agencies the remaining 31,600,000 acres could support more than 100,000 wild horses and burros today. It is currently independently estimated that less than 20,000 wild horses and burros are living on their legal land today and yet the government continues its aggressive removal and destructive management toward total wild horse and burro extermination.

Here are a few examples of BLM’s burro population census from the BLM published annual herd statistics (note the inflated and biologically impossible annual increases highlighted in yellow):

Lava Beds, NV
Burros Population Per BLM Herd Stats
Year       (March 1st) BLM AML     10-16 Increase /Decrease % Change
3/1/2016 350 0 0%
3/1/2015 350 310 775%
2014 40 7 21%
2013 33 11 50%
2012 22 0 0%
2011 22 2 10%
2010 20 0 0%
2009 20 0 0%
2008 20 2 11%
2007 18 2 13%
2006 16 14 700%

McGee Mts., NV

Burros Population Per BLM Herd Stats
Year       (March 1st) BLM AML     25-41 Increase /Decrease % Change
3/1/2016 36 -88 -71%
3/1/2015 124 64 107%
2014 60 10 20%
2013 50 5 11%
2012 45 -61 -58%
2011 106 10 10%
2010 96 53 123%
2009 43 4 10%
2008 39 7 22%
2007 32 3 10%


Bull Frog, NV
Burros Population Per BLM Herd Stats
Year       (March 1st) BLM AML       55-91 Increase /Decrease % Change
3/1/2016 204 0 0%
3/1/2015 204 116 132%
2014 88 12 16%
2013 76 -42 -36%
2012 118 -6 -5%
2011 124 4 3%
2010 120 19 19%
2009 101 26 35%
2008 75 43 134%



Wheeler Pass, NV
Burros Population Per BLM Herd Stats
Year       (March 1st) BLM AML         20-35 Increase /Decrease % Change
3/1/2016 190 1 1%
3/1/2015 189 25 15%
2014 164 27 20%
2013 137 -45 -25%
2012 182 -28 -13%
2011 210 35 20%
2010 175 148 548%
2009 27 4 17%
2008 23 4 21%



Chemehuevi, CA
Burros Population Per BLM Herd Stats
Year       (March 1st) BLM AML       97-108 Increase /Decrease % Change
3/1/2016 890 148 20%
3/1/2015 742 524 240%
2014 218 46 27%
2013 172 29 20%
2012 143 24 20%



Big Sandy, AZ
Burros Population Per BLM Herd Stats BLM AML       111-139
Year       (March 1st)   Increase /Decrease % Change
3/1/2016 1201 166 16%
3/1/2015 1035 135 15%
2014 900 146 19%
2013 754 504 202%
2012 250 41 20%
2011 209 27 15%
2010 182 -2 -1%
2009 184 25 16%
2008 159 22 16%



These outrageous and biologically impossible population increases are not the occasional “bookkeeping error” this is FRAUD and by stating these population increases; the BLM is in violation of a federal crime known as title 18 – making false statements (see below).

 If any employee of the Department of Interior / Bureau of Land Management has stated to you otherwise, then they are in violation of Title 18 (18 U.S.C. § 1001). Making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001) is the common name for the United States federal crime laid out in Section 1001 of Title 18 of the United States Code, which generally prohibits knowingly and willfully making false or fraudulent statements, or concealing information, in “any matter within the jurisdiction” of the federal government of the United States, even by mere denial 18 U.S. Code § 1519 – Destruction, alteration, or falsification of records in Federal investigations

Current through Pub. L. 114-38. (See Public Laws for the current Congress.)

US Code Per the US Department of Justice, the purpose of Section 1001 is “to protect the authorized functions of governmental departments and agencies from the perversion which might result from” concealment of material facts and from false material representations.

There are no excess wild horses and burros on their legally designated land. These animals and this land do NOT belong to the government … the wild horses and burros and the land belong to you and me.


  1. I’m looking at the Big Sandy HMA’s numbers from 2012 to 2013 and, to get that kind of increase, EVERY donkey in 2012 would have had to be a pregnant mare, a mathematical impossibility. Even then, that would leave you with just 500 animals in 2013 unless several of those mares had twins. Plus, if you take in the guesstimate increase in 2014, none of the animals died. That would be extremely unlikely if not impossible.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. A couple of thoughts. First, unless an HMA is perfectly fenced, it is common for horses to wander in and out of them, including domestic stock (and dumped horses, too) so a simple number of horses counted in an area cannot logically be equivalent to a reproduction rate. To get that, you need to carefully identify ages of horses. I don’t see in the BLM numbers shown anything that indicates a count of that year’s foals, only total horses.

    My other thought is a question about how the reproduction rate is estimated. If (as is natural) approximately half of each year’s foals are male and half female, and as we know only one stallion controls reproduction on his harem, we then have as significant number of male horses who do not reproduce, some probably ever.

    So in any given total population count, one has to cut that in half to estimate how many are mares, and reduce that even further to account for fillies not yet sexually receptive. Further factors are death loss of foals (8-10% per biologist Bob Bauer’s work, among others), death from old age or predation (smaller but still happening), and simple infertility due to age in some instances.

    My question is how the BLM determines the reproduction rate – is it based on the total population and observed simple increase in numbers, or is it accurately based on counting only adult, fertile, reproducing mares? If you begin with only half the population, a 20% increase in that half is NOT equivalent to a 20% increase in the reproductive rate of the entire population. It is only 20% of 50%, in my crude example, and doesn’t include any death loss or random abortions.

    We should be using the precautionary principle here, and before further exterminations/sterilizations/eliminations occur we should demand much better accounting and calculations. The stakes are just too high now, as a result of over 40 years of inadequate methodology. We should also be demanding long-term storage of DNA from any horses sterilized or euthanized, to be kept for future genetic diversity.


  3. Icy-
    First, let me provide you with the BLM link to their Wild Horse and Burro herd stats so you can look for yourself. http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/whbprogram/herd_management/Data.html
    Second, the examples given are all for burro data – not horses.
    Third, horses and burro bands do move within and without their unfenced herd areas but unless hundreds of burros as shown in these examples (such as the 310 burros moving ON to the Lava Beds HMA in one year), moved onto an HMA, the general flux would be negligible.
    Fourth, as you said, “a simple number of horses counted in an area cannot logically be equivalent to a reproduction rate” … but the point is BLM is NOT counting these wild horses and burros. They are falsifying these so-called populations without any scientifically supportable or credible documentation. Their population increases are based on the numbers that are required to justify their request for funding for roundups and other “management” decisions.
    More information on wild horse population increases (and by the way, data and independent research on burros showed that wild burro populations increased even less than wild horses):
    Hope this helps you.


    • Thanks, GG. I have been looking at inconsistencies in some other HMA (with no burros), which brought up the questions. One shows three completely different population counts in the same EA, for the same year!

      Liked by 1 person

      • The point is that they can NOT capture/remove/sterilize our wild horses without PROVING they are “excess” and they can NOT prove it because there are NO excess.


      • But sadly -GG, they haven’t had to prove ANYTHING – apparently the GAO report doesn’t even make a dent in their “don’t have to follow the law” excuse! We get so few good results from the court cases & even when there is one – by the time the ruling comes down – the horses have already been rounded up (altho in that case they could just be turned back out!) or adopted.


  4. PS … therefore they falsify the population increases … which is a federal crime (title 18) punishable by fines and prison.


  5. FINDING COMMON GROUND (a few excerpts)
    Marjorie Farabee

    It is impossible to come to a solutions based approach to improving our public lands because the nefarious interests of powerful politicians push science and logic aside in favor of profit. Through choice of language, and doctored data intended to deceive the public, special interests have influenced the destructive management choices being made on our public lands. Presenting undeniable data, and proof of the environmentally sound practice of leaving nature alone vs current management practices that science, data and observation prove has been disastrous for our public lands, cannot alone enact positive change. The profiteers do not want solutions, they want unfettered access to our public lands to satisfy their greed. To this end, they spend enormous amounts of money supporting politicians who can be bribed or have a vested interest in ignoring science and the public’s will. BLM (Bureau of Land Management) employees are promoted who tow the line making the agency itself corrupt from top to bottom. In other words, our wild horses and burros are being managed by hungry wolves.

    There are guidelines the welfare ranchers are supposed to follow to protect our public lands from degradation. It is in their lease, yet BLM employees who try to uphold the contract do not last long. They must make a choice to throw their integrity in the trash and do as they are told, or quit. Only the corrupt survive.


  6. FINDING COMMON GROUND (a few excerpts)
    Marjorie Farabee

    And we have BLM administrators who are compromised by this system and their own personal interests, who squeeze BLM employees from the top. None of them will listen to logic, facts or public opinion. The decision makers are quite happy to manipulate data, to the point where it is systemically accepted by employees all the way into the field. They comply and produce numbers meant to trigger a roundup. They could use a GO-Pro on their aerial counts to backup their numbers, but they don’t. They cannot produce proof of the numbers they turn in, but they could. Their field notes show a huge discrepancy between what they photograph and write down and the actual number they turn in. FOIA records showed that the Black Mountain aerial flight produced written and photographic documentation for a little over 200 burros, yet they stated they counted 1378. This number was turned into 2000 by Senator John McCain demonstrating how unreliable the BLM estimates of wild burros and horses really is. It is shameful and a crime against all of us. This pattern of inflating our wild horse and burro herds is pervasive across all of our HMA’s (Herd Management Areas).

    This is what saving our public land’s health, and the wildlife that lives there, has come down to. This is what we are up against. We have dirty politicians who use their position to profit from our public lands, we have extremely wealthy ranchers and other special interests, intimidating BLM employees and buying off politicians. And we have BLM administrators who are compromised by this system and their own personal interests, who squeeze BLM employees from the top. None of them will listen to logic, facts or public opinion.

    The stench comes from the top.


  7. The BANK$

    In Supreme Court documents, the State Bank of Southern Utah confirmed that financial institutions hold an estimated $10 billion in loans and related credit transactions to the public land ranching industry, with the grazing privileges alone worth approximately $1 billion.

    The majority of BLM and Forest Service grazing fees are not deposited to the U.S.
    Treasury, but instead are diverted to the “Range Betterment Fund” to pay for fencing,
    water developments, and related infrastructure to support continued livestock grazing
    (see below).

    The Forest Service “escrow waiver” program is further described in M. Salvo. 2002. “Mortgaging Public Assets: How
    Ranchers Use Grazing Permits as Collateral.” Pages 271-273 in G. Wuerthner and M. Matteson (eds.). WELFARE
    5 T. Jones and M. Salvo. 2006. “Mortgaging Our Natural Heritage: An Analysis of the Use of Bureau of Land
    Management Grazing Permits as Collateral for Private Loans.” Distributed report. Forest Guardians, Santa Fe, NM;
    Sagebrush Sea Campaign, Chandler, AZ.
    6 Mortgaging Our Natural Heritage: 5.
    7 Mortgaging Our Natural Heritage: 5.
    8 Brief of Amici Curiae State Bank of Southern Utah in Support of Petitioner, Public Lands Council v. Babbitt, 529
    U.S. 728 (2000).


  8. The United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that despite congressional direction, BLM’S decisions on how many wild horses to remove from federal rangelands have not been based on direct evidence that existing wild populations exceed what the range can support.
    BLM could not provide GAO with any information demonstrating that federal rangeland conditions have significantly improved because of wild horse removals.
    GAO Report 1990


  9. Observation to GG’s most excellent report:

    The Bureau has an unfortunate tendency to use the same reproductive and behavioral information in ‘estimating’ burro populations that they use for horses. Theirs is simplistic viewpoint that burros are just small horses. Which is absurd.

    Burros aren’t dependent on herds the way horses are. Jennies tend to group together with their own mothers, offspring and sisters. Jacks aren’t herd masters. Jennies aren’t compelled to breed every year, and can take between 11 and 14 to bring a foal to bear. And – fer cryin’ out loud! – their forage, water and nutritional requirements are nowhere near that of a horse!

    This lack of recognition for the unique attributes of burros as it applies to BLM ‘data’ regarding wild equines in general is just another brick in an insurmountable wall. No one who should be utilizing proper data cares about the behaviors or social structures or mortality stats regarding these animals. They would apparently rather rely on standards that might have been applicable 30 years ago – because modernizing policies and procedures or doing right by these animals under any circumstances is just too hard.

    This Program’s costs have escalated because the data is WRONG; GG’s cataloging of the Bureau’s excuse for data proves it. More money is expended on removing and warehousing than will ever be expended on monitoring. This year’s population ‘estimate’, like every year, is based on hearsay – and not evidence.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Have you seen this? It is not current but we know it is similar today.
      For example – look at the High Rock HMA where 124 total horses had 232 (surviving!) foals in one year. That’s a 187% increase. Absolutely biologically IMPOSSIBLE!
      And it is these kind of continual lies that BLM feeds congress in order to get funding for more captures. And these lies continue today. Anyone that has ever tried to balance their checkbook knows that if you continue to take out more from your account than what you put in (increase) then it won’t be long before you have a negative balance.
      THAT is what BLM has been doing for a long long time and it won’t be long before there are no genetically healthy wild horse and burro herds left in America.


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