Federal cuts may mean fewer burros for adoption

Because of proposed federal budget cuts, the Bureau of Land Management may cut back gathering and adoptions of wild horses and burros.

Congress has yet to pass an appropriations bill for the Interior Department, so BLM is continuing its horse and burro program through a continuing resolution, BLM assistant field manager Brenda Smith said.

Once the appropriation bill is approved – the federal government's new fiscal year began Oct.

1 - it will have less money for s adoption program, BLM officials expect.

"We'll probably operate with less money than last year," Smith said.

In Arizona, the BLM will round up mostly wild burros from the Black Mountains, the Big Sandy Wash area south of Wikieup, Alamo Lake and Bill Williams River.

Wild horses usually are rounded up in the Cerbat Mountains and, elsewhere in the West, mainly in California, Nevada and Wyoming, Smith said.

Gathering of burros and horses usually occurs in the winter and spring.

Right now there are only about 30 burros and one horse up for adoption at the BLM Kingman corrals.

The corrals have room for about 200 animals.

Last year, about 640 burros were rounded up and approximately 340 burros were adopted at the Kingman corrals.

"Last year was the highest total ever," Smith said.

Those animals not adopted here were shipped east for adoption events during the summer.

For the next roundup, BLM officials expect to gather only 300 to 500 animals near Parker and the Big Sandy River, Smith said.

This year there were 10 adoption events in the state mainly at county fairs.

For 2003, only five adoption events are scheduled.

The next adoption in Mohave County likely won't be until 2004, Smith said.

Less money for the adoption program would also mean less-expensive ways to trap the animals.

Normally, helicopters are used to round up large numbers of animals, around 150 at a time, during a short time, about a week.

With the budget cuts, the BLM, using baited traps, would gather fewer animals and take a longer to do it.

Individuals can still adopt burros or horses any time at the BLM corrals.

All animals are thoroughly inspected by veterinarians, Coggins-tested and given equine vaccinations.

This animals are also tested for the West Nile virus, Smith said.

A special adoption fee of $25 has been set for each Jack, or male, burro.

The fees for all wild horses and other female or juvenile burros are $125 each, payable by check, cash or major credit card.

To adopt, buyers must complete an application.

Buyers must meet specific requirements for the new homes, provide a halter, lead rope and transportation home from the corrals.

BLM officials will load the animals into trailers.

BLM usually holds the adoptions at the BLM Kingman corrals at 6501 Highway 66.

Adoption applications are available weekdays at the BLM office at 2475 Beverly Ave.

For more information contact the BLM office at 692-4400 or toll free, (888) 213-2582.

Information is also available in the Internet at www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov.