Roughly half of the wild horses and burros in the U.S. can be found in Nevada. Here are some statistics for the state, developed from individual pages at the BLM web site.
- Number of stand-alone HMAs: 80 (does not include Amargosa Valley, Ash Meadows and El Dorado Mountains, which are not managed as individual HMAs)
- Total land: 15.4 million acres (mostly public, some private)
- Total animals: 12,944 (mostly horses, some burros, using upper values of AMLs)
- Stocking rate: 1192 acres per animal (0.84 animals per thousand acres)
- Stocking rate at 3X AML: 397 acres per animal (2.5 animals per thousand acres)
The last figure is offered as an estimate of the current situation, as many of the HMAs have more animals than allowed by the upper value of their AMLs.
The Virginia Range, on the west side of the state and not a part of the BLM system, has a stocking rate of 106 acres per animal (9.4 animals per thousand acres, horses only, mostly private land).
Much of the state falls within the Great Basin, with elevations ranging from 4000 feet in the valleys to over 10,000 feet at some mountain peaks. Annual rainfall varies from four to six inches at lower elevations to 12 to 16 inches in the mountains, making it the driest state in the nation. Areas receiving less than 11 inches per year are considered desert.
It’s a harsh environment, but the horses and burros have adapted to it nicely.