BLM completes Surprise Complex wild horse gather; Horses will be available for adoption from Litchfield Corrals beginning in January

The Bureau of Land Management has completed gathering excess wild horses from the Surprise Complex of herd management areas in northwest Nevada. In the effort, 1,216 wild horses were gathered as part of the effort to return populations to sustainable levels. The BLM released 68 mares and 90 stallions back to the range to maintain viable populations in the herd management areas.

Mares returned to the range are treated with a fertility control drug to slow growth of the wild herds. Bureau officials will conduct an aerial population survey in the spring to confirm the numbers of wild horses remaining on the range.

“This was a large and challenging project, and we are pleased to have completed it, while accomplishing our objectives of safety, humane treatment, public access and transparency,” said Craig Drake, manager of the BLM Applegate Field Office. “Completing this gather will help ensure that we have healthy wild horse herds on healthy rangelands in balance with other authorized rangeland users.”

Wild horses removed from the range will be available for adoption at the BLM Litchfield Corrals near Susanville, via the Internet and at wild horse and burro adoption events in various locations across the nation beginning in January. Dates, locations and details will be announced. Older wild horses will be placed in long-term pastures in the Midwest where they retain their wild status and protection.

“We recognize that many people value our nation’s wild horses and burros, and we share that appreciation,” said Dereck Wilson, the BLM’s Northern California District manager. “With completion of this project, wild horses and burros will enjoy healthy rangeland habitat or humane care off the range.”

Complete gather statistics are available online at

The BLM protects wild horses and burros and controls their populations under provisions of the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. The law recognizes the animals as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West,” and requires that they be managed as part of a “thriving natural ecological balance on the range.”