BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT -- MARCH 28, 2012 -- As part of its responsibility to manage and protect wild horses and burros, the Bureau of Land Management, in collaboration with the USDA Forest Service (FS), is soliciting bids for several contracts that will help manage wild horses and burros located across the western United States. The contracts are for a new bait trapping method that is intended to relieve areas of excess wild horses and burros where helicopter drive trapping is not an effective method. The bids are the first of their kind, in that they involve six zones across the West, with a potential for multiple contractors simultaneously bait trapping animals over an extended period of time.
Bait trapping is not a new method of gathering animals for the BLM; it has been implemented in areas where timeliness is not an issue, as bait trapping usually occurs over several weeks or months, and in locations where BLM personnel can easily monitor the progress from their duty locations. Many times it occurs in areas where water is already scarce and the animals are lured by the water provided, or in areas where a helicopter cannot easily move the animals out of densely wooded areas. Bait trapping involves capturing wild horses and burros by setting up panels and using food, water, salt or sexual attraction (a mare in heat) to lure animals into a trap. Allowing contractors to execute the bait trapping over lengthy amounts of time in a variety of locations simultaneously, however, is a new strategy for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Program.
“The BLM is committed to continuously improving its management of wild horses and burros,” said BLM Wild Horse and Burro Division Chief Joan Guilfoyle. “Deploying this new method of bait trapping enhances our ability to gather animals more effectively in certain areas of the West, while minimizing the impact to the animals.”
The concept of the contract is not to capture large numbers of wild horses and burros in a short period of time, but rather to capture smaller numbers over a long period of time. A benefit is that it reduces the impact to the BLM’s holding facilities—instead of large horse gathers with hundreds or thousands of animals entering the facilities at one time, this type of management involves very small amounts of animals trickling into facilities over a longer period of time. Each contract is from July 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, with an option for four additional one-year periods.
The work consists of the capture, care and transportation of wild horses and /or burros from Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Wyoming. It requires work to be accomplished in a safe and humane manner during all phases of the operation, including capture, handling and transport. The contract is not set up for holding wild horses and burros for any length of time, but to have the wild horses and burros shipped to BLM facilities as soon as possible. The contracts involve setting up a trap, capturing wild horses and burros and shipping them to the BLM preparation facilities. The capture, care and handling must be completed by those who are knowledgeable and experienced about the behavior and trapping of equines.