Save America’s Last Viable Burro Herd!

Below is an article written by the Cloud Foundation in support of the American Burros.


The majority of wild burros in the US live in the deserts and mountains of Arizona. Quiet and deliberate, they are beautifully adapted to their surroundings and are some of the largest wild animals to be found in their desert home. Unlike wild horses that run from intruders, burros tend to size up a situation. It gave us an opportunity to quietly observe them. 
     Although protected by the Wild Horse and Burro Act, they are managed at token levels, far less than the herd sizes needed to guarantee their existence into the next century. The recent National Academies of Science Report included cautionary words “multiple populations (of burros) totaling thousands, rather than hundreds, of individuals will probably be necessary for long-term viability of species.” Genetic analysis of wild burro herds finds diversity levels lower than their endangered cousins in Africa!


Only one herd comes remotely close to the minimum required for long term survival and that is the one targeted for a devastating removal, unless we can convince BLM to reconsider. Over 1,000 burros call the Black Mountain Herd Management Area home. Scattered over the landscape, these hardy burro survivors can be difficult to spot and are wary of onlookers. 75 miles long and 13 miles wide in northwestern Arizona, the Black Mountain area is 1.1 million acres of volcanic mountains and sandy draws east of the Colorado River. It is nearly as large as the state of Delaware.

A lone jenny and her baby forage on brittle sticks and scanty vegetation. Like all burros they thrive on very little, and eat roughage that is indigestible to their cloven-hoofed counterparts. Burros are accused of competing with other animals. Yet, new scientific revelations in Arizona show vital ways in which they benefit other wildlife. Trail cam footage shot in August 2015 reveals burros digging for water.  With their solid hooves they are better equipped to dig than cloven-hoofed animals like Javalena, mule deer, and Desert Bighorn Sheep. Even coyotes and domestic livestock (also cloven-hoofed) benefit from the well-digging wild burros. Burros are often blamed for destruction of fragile desert habitats when the damage is clearly done by humans. The tracks you see below are not burro paths but ATV and motorcycle trails sliced into the desert dunes.

Ignoring the real culprits of desert destruction, BLM proposes to remove nearly 3/4’s of the burros in Black Mountain, leaving a non-viable remnant. Let’s fight back for the burros. The last wild horse or burro range where management is primarily for wild horses and burros was designated 25 years ago. It’s time for the burros of Arizona to have a range designated for them and the other wildlife of the Black Mountains. Without protections, a roundup could destroy this last stronghold of the burros.
     Let Arizona’s Congressional Delegation know you want a range for these icons of the desert in their State! Ask them to do the right thing today for the Burros of the Black Mountains. Stop the roundup. Create an Arizona Burro Range. Click here for a list of the Arizona’s Senators and Congressional Representatives. Respectfully ask them to request the creation of the Black Mountain Wild Burro Range. Stop the roundup!

herd burros


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Colorado Springs, CO 80905


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