Nearly three dozen horses and burros that have been roaming wild on the range will be offered for adoption this month in Sonoita.
The animals - once they are "gentled" and trained - can be excellent packing, riding or companion animals, says a spokeswoman for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
The agency will offer about 25 horses and 10 burros for a $125-per-animal adoption fee Friday through Sunday.
"Wild horses and burros are captured and put up for adoption because we try to find a balance between the herds roaming free and the wildlife that depends on the same habitat," said Diane Drobka of the BLM.
The agency holds periodic adoptions in Arizona and other states to find homes for the captured critters.
"The animals come from various places. It's usually Nevada, Wyoming, California and sometimes Utah or Montana," Drobka said. "We don't gather wild horses in Arizona, but we do gather some burros near the Colorado River" in Western Arizona.
She said once-wild horses are often "very sure-footed and make good mountain horses because they have been roaming free."
Burros, Drobka said, have proved useful in protecting other livestock from predators such as coyotes.
WHAT TO BRING
People planning to adopt a horse or burro should bring a halter, lead rope and a trailer to haul the animal.
Drobka noted other requirements including:
• Adopters must provide a minimum of 400 square feet for each animal.
• Corrals for the animals must be of heavy-duty construction using poles, pipes or planks without dangerous protrusions.
• Adopters must provide shelter from inclement weather and temperature extremes for horses and burros.
Drobka said expert horse handler Randy Helm will be on hand during the adoption event to provide gentling demonstrations aimed at grooming the animals for domestic life.
if you go
• What: Wild horse and burro adoption
• When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday, Saturday; and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday.. Prospective adopters may preview animals and submit applications Friday. Adoptions take place Saturday, Sunday.
• Where: Sonoita Fairgrounds, 3142 S. Highway 83 in Sonoita
• Cost: The adoption fee is $125 per animal.
• Information: Go online to www.blm.gov/az/ and click on the Tucson portion of the map. Then click on "Wild Horses and Burros Coming to Sonoita."
Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at email@example.com or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz