Since 1971, the BLM has adopted out more than 230,000 wild horses and burros. In recent years, the number of horses and burros being adopted has declined. During the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, a total of 2,598 of the animals had been placed in private care, compared with 5,701 horses and burros adopted during the 2005 fiscal year.
A sluggish economy, drought and rising feed costs are among reasons for the downturn in adoptions, according to Martha Malik of the BLM's Northeastern States field office in Milwaukee, Wis.
"We're anxious to see how the new adoption location in West Virginia works out for us," she said.
"We've been getting a lot of calls and emails about the adoption event," said Cindy Adkins of the Good Evening Ranch.
"The cost of grain and hay is really high these days," Adkins said, "but I don't think that will keep people from adopting these horses." The wild horses are iconic symbols of the Wild West, she said, "and we still have a lot of diehard cowboys out there who want to work with them."
BLM personnel will begin reviewing applications to adopt the horses at Good Evening Ranch on Friday, and continue on Saturday. For information, call 1-866-4MUSTANGS, visit the BLM's website at www.wildhorseandburro.blm.gov, or call Good Evening Ranch at 1-877-595-5448.
Good Evening Ranch is located at 1458 Groves Road at Canvas, about five miles east of Summersville off W.Va. 39. The last BLM wild horse adoption to take place in West Virginia occurred five years ago.
Reach Rick Steelhammer at rsteelham...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5169.