BLM to build bigger collection<BR>facility for horses, burros

The Bureau of Land Management Kingman Regional Office plans to build a new 40- to 50-acre wild horse and burro facility.

"It will be a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art facility," BLM spokesman Bob Hall said.

"We will build it from the ground up."

The facility will have turnout pastures, corrals, loading shoots, a hay barn, bleachers with sun shade and an administration building.

Construction will begin by the end of this year and take about six to seven months to complete, wild horse and burro specialist Scott Elefritz said.

The new facility will support the 1971 federal Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, which protects wild horses and burros and controls their number.

Before the act was passed, wild burros were routinely captured and sold for slaughter or shot where found, according to information from the BLM.

As many as 240 wild mustangs and burros at a time are held for adoption at the current wild horse and burro facility on state Route 66 east of Kingman, the only BLM facility in Arizona.

Hall said the new facility, which will be built five miles south of Kingman in the McConnico Road area, will accommodate up to 500 animals.

It has not yet been determined whether the current facility will stay open.

"Our vision is that the new facility will draw people to Kingman," Hall said.

"Part of the design phase is how to integrate environmental education and interpretation into the facility.

We want to invite groups of school children and tourists."

Mustangs and burros represent the spirit of the old West, but their habitat is shrinking, and many are in need of a new home.

When herds become more then the ecosystem of an area can sustain, the BLM gathers the excess animals for adoption.

Those that roam public land in Arizona, southern Nevada and southwestern California are gathered and held at the Kingman BLM facility during the adoption process.

Before capture, the wild burros and horses have little contact with humans.

However, with kindness, patience and gentleness they will bond with their adopters and can be trained for a variety of uses, BLM officials said.

Some 60 to 80 mustangs roam through the Cerbat Mountains north of Kingman, but the BLM does not actively manage the herd.

There also are large numbers of wild burros in the Black Mountains surrounding Golden Valley.

Introduced to the area by miners and prospectors beginning in the 1860s, the burros have thrived in this environment, independent of humans ever since.

When the burro population increases to a level that the Black Mountain ecosystem cannot support, the animals are removed, Hall said.

More than 800 burros have been removed and placed in the adoption program.

The BLM wranglers use the adopter's halter and lead rope to load animals into acceptable trailers for transport to new homes.

Each needs a 400-square-foot or larger corral made of sturdy material, along with adequate food and water.

The horses and burros remain BLM property for at least one year.

Adopters may then apply for title to the animal.

The BLM will hold its next satellite-adoption event in Kingman during the Mohave County Fair in September, when bidding for animals starts at $125 and goes up $5 a bid.

However, anyone can apply to adopt an animal from the BLM Kingman Regional Wild Horse and Burro Facility at any time.

Through February Jack (male) burros are available for $25.

However, in March the fee will return to the standard $125.

Mares, Jennies (female burros) and geldings also are available for $125.

The Adopt-A-Buddy Program allows someone to purchase a second animal for an additional $25.

To set up an appointment to visit the BLM corral on Route 66 where the animals are held, call 692-5584.

Adoptions can also be made on the BLM Web site www.az.blm.gov.