BLM Seeks Bids for Off-Range Wild Horse Care Facilities

The BLM is seeking bids for short- and long-term care facilities for horses gathered from Western rangelands.
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At a time when current off-range holding facilities are nearing capacity limits, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is soliciting bids for new long-term pasture facilities that provide a free-roaming environment for off-range wild horses. The BLM is also soliciting bids for multiple short-term facilities in various states that border or are east of the Mississippi River.

Under the authority of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, as amended, the BLM manages and protects wild horses and burros while working to ensure that population levels are in balance with other public rangeland resources and uses. The BLM removes animals from the range to control the size of herds, which have virtually no predators and can double in population every four years. The BLM plans to remove 2,400 animals from the range in fiscal year 2014, down from 4,176 in fiscal year 2013. The BLM is also using population growth-suppression (PGS) measures, and is supporting research to improve existing and develop new PGS tools.

The current free-roaming population of BLM-managed wild horses and burros is estimated to be 49,209, as of March 1, which exceeds by more than 22,500 the number determined by the BLM to be the appropriate management level. Off the range, as of June 2014, there were more than 47,000 wild horses and burros cared for in either short-term corrals or long-term pastures. All these animals, whether on or off the range, are protected by the BLM under the 1971 law.

The solicitations involving long-term facilities are for one or more pasture facilities, each accommodating 100 to 5,000 wild horses. Each pasture facility must be able to provide humane care for a one-year period, with a renewal option under BLM contract for a four-year or nine-year period. The solicitations are open until Aug. 28 and 29

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