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Feds seek private pastures for wild horses taken from public lands

With thousands of wild horses on their hands and options dwindling, officials with the Bureau of Land Management are looking to pay private contractors to care for them.

Posted: Mar 4, 2019 2:59 PM
Updated: Mar 4, 2019 3:00 PM

WASHINGTON, D.C. — After rounding up thousands of wild horses previously roaming on public lands and with options to deal with them dwindling, the federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is offering a new solution — paying private contractors to host large herds on their pastures.

According to the BLM, the agency estimated that there are at least 82,000 wild horses and burros on public lands, "more than triple" the number that these lands can support.

Previously, BLM has pursued avenues of sterilization, selling animals for slaughter, even paying people to adopt some of the horses and burros individually. The first two options have been stymied by public outcry, court rulings or existing laws, while the third seems to have done little to alleviate the agency's overwhelming stock.

Under this new program, contractors would need "off-range pastures to provide a free-roaming environment and quality care for wild horses."

"The BLM will award multiple contracts that can accommodate 200 – 5,000 head of wild horses, with a four-year or nine-year renewal option," the agency said. "All contracts require supplemental feed for a minimum of four months to ensure that animals maintain a quality body condition throughout the dormant months."

The following information comes from the BLM on how and where to apply for the program:


Bids will be accepted from the following states through May 3, 2019: Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas “Panhandle” (only north of Hwy 82 and 84), Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The area west of the Cascade Mountain. Range in Oregon and Washington is excluded.

Applicants who are new to conducting business with the government must first obtain a Duns and Bradstreet number at www.dnb.com and then register at www.sam.gov/ to respond to the solicitation. No fee is involved. The solicitation describes what to submit to the BLM and where to send it. To obtain the contract solicitation:

(1) Go to www.fedconnect.net;
(2) Click on “Search Public Opportunities”;
(3) Under Search Criteria, select “Reference Number”;
(4) Enter the solicitation’s reference number “140L0119R0002;
(5) Click Search” and once the solicitation’s information appears, download the information on the right.

For assistance, please contact Kemi Ismael at (202) 912-7098 or kismael@blm.gov. Ms. Ismael can assist with general questions. A list of frequently asked questions is available at: www.blm.gov/whb

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