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Wild Horse and Burro Program

The Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program logoThe Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, as amended by the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976 and the Public Rangeland Improvement Act of 1978, directs the protection and management of wild horses and burros on public lands. The USDA Forest Service, by authority of the Secretary of Agriculture, is responsible for managing the nation's wild horses and burros on National Forest System lands. The Forest Service administers 37 wild horse or burro territories in coordination with the Bureau of Land Management.

The Forest Service's primary responsibilities are:

  • Protect wild horses and burros from capture, branding, harassment, or death.
  • Manage wild horses and burros in a manner that is designed to achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance on the land.
  • Manage activities at the minimally feasible level, yet provide for natural ecological balance of all wildlife species while taking into consideration other uses.
  • Maintain an inventory of wild horses and burros on National Forest System lands. See US Forest Service Wild Horse Burro Territories, February 2014 (PDF, 138 KB).
  • Remove excess animals from the range so as to achieve appropriate management levels of wild horses and burros.
  • Transfer title, after one year, to individuals who have adopted wild horses or burros removed from public rangelands, provided the animals have received proper and humane care and treatment during that year.

Curly's Story

Picture of Curly.In December 2004, 12 wild horses were removed from the Jicarilla Wild Horse Territory on the Carson National Forest in northern New Mexico. “Curly” and his band were among the 12 horses gathered and offered for local adoption on February 5, 2005. Renzo Fancellu adopted Curly, a 5 year old stud, and one of his band mares. More...

Wild Horse and Burro Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Would you like to know why we manage wild, free-roaming horses and burros? Are you curious why we capture and adopt wild horses and burros? What are the values of wild horses and burros? More...

Did You Know?

Did you know that America's wild horses influenced the bloodlines of some of our most popular American breeds? Quarter Horses, Paint horses, and Appaloosas all had beginnings closely tied to the early wild horses of America. More...

Just For Kids

We have some fun things to do about our National Forest's and Grassland's wild horses and burros. More...


US Forest Service, RGE
1400 Independence Ave., SW, Mailstop Code: 1103
Washington DC 20250-1103

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Last modified: Monday, 23-May-2016 12:41:37 CDT