BIWFC Workshop Explores Alternative Methods to Managing Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Populations


For decades, managing the increasing populations of free-roaming horses and burros, especially in the western U.S., has been a source of contention between government agencies, livestock growers, animal welfare advocates, environmentalists, and the public.

In an effort to promote and advance alternative methods to manage free-roaming horse and burro populations in western landscapes The Botstiber Institute for Wildlife Fertility Control (BIWFC) hosted  the Free‐Roaming Horse and Burro Fertility Control Workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico on November 8, 2018.

The workshop convened many of the leaders involved the horse and burro fertility control issue, including federal, state and tribal government personnel, horse and burro fertility control professionals and researchers.  The presentations were informative, comprehensive and, most importantly, confronted the issues, possibilities and problems at hand.   It also showed that there is on-going work on several fronts to advance research and improve methods and products. Nearly 60 participants from across the US were in attendance for this unique event.

Cheryl Asa, chair of the AZA Reproductive Management Center Advisory Board, opened the workshop with her presentation Fertility Control for Wild Horse and Burro Management:  Are We There Yet?  Asa was followed by nearly a dozen speakers including:

  • Dan Baker, Colorado State University, Reimmunization Increases Contraceptive Effectiveness
    of GonaCon- Equine Vaccine in Free-Ranging Horses
  • Jason Bruemmer, Colorado State University, The Effect of Immunization Against Oocyte Specific Growth Factors in Mares 
  • Anthony DeNicola, White Buffalo, Inc., Application of Ungulate Research and Management
    Experience to Wild Horse and Burro Management
  • Stefan Ekernas, U.S. Geological Survey, State of the Art Tools for Surveying Horse Populations
    and Modeling Fertility Control
  • Kim Frank,  The Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana, Managing Wild Horse Herds 
  • Kayla Grams,The Science and Conservation Center in Billings, Montana, Field Documentation and Monitoring
  • Karen Herman, Sky Mountain Wild Horse Sanctuary, Translating Science, Field Experience, and Collaboration into OnRange Fertility Control Treatment
  • Jenny Powers, National Park Service, Biological Resources Division, Wildlife Health Branch, Remote Delivery of GonaCon Equine to Feral Horses (Equus caballus)  Using Protype Syringe Darts
  • Allen Rutberg, Tufts University Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Managing Wild Horses with PZP
  • John Turner, University of Toledo College of Medicine, PZP-22 Contraceptive Vaccine: New Developments, Quality Control and Future Applications and Non-surgical Sterilization of Mares: A 3-Year Preliminary Study