Map Showing Domestic Livestock Grazing Authorized on Wild Horse Herd Management Areas
Public lands designated for wild horses (now known as Wild Horse Herd Management Areas) are often grazed by domestic livestock as well. Federal agencies set an Appropriate Management Level (AML) for wild horses, which is intended to achieve the “thriving natural ecological balance” standard required under the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act. However, BLM typically does NOT consider the ecological impacts that domestic cattle and sheep are having on the same lands when setting AMLs for wild horses. Thus, wild horses are often labeled ‘overpopulated’ by agencies when, at the same time, the livestock are exerting far greater pressure on the vegetation. And while agencies often prioritize reductions in wild horse populations, they seldom alter the number of cattle and sheep authorized to lease the same lands for grazing.
In the map below, you can click on individual Wild Horse Herd Management Areas and domestic livestock grazing allotments. Use the arrow at the top of the pop-up to toggle back and forth between livestock allotments and Herd Management Areas. For a direct apples-to-apples comparison of grazing pressure, you can covert wild horse numbers to Animal Unit Months by multiplying by 12 (because wild horses are out there 12 months a year).