Wild Horse & Burro

The Bureau of Land Management's Wild Horse and Burro Program logo

The 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.
  • 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. Read more about Curly….


Management Territories

The Forest Service administers 37 wild horse or burro territories located in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon and Utah.

Frequently Asked Questions

Would you like to know why we manage wild, free-roaming horses and burros?


Did You Know?

Did you know that America’s wild horses influenced the bloodlines of some of our most popular American breeds?

Just for Kids

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

Key Contacts