KBR Wild Horse and Burro News

Story date: August 13, 1998

The following information has been provided by Christopher J. Stubbs, Natural Resource Specialist for the National Park Service, Mojave Natural Preserve, in response to the recent stir over the status of the burro herds in the Mojave area.

I have recently spoken with "Jody" of your list server. My understanding is that there is some mis-information being spread about our burro program. As the burro program leader for the National Park Service's Mojave National Preserve, I would like a chance to set the record straight.

The National Park Service (NPS) has recently begun its 1998 burro capture and removal program within the boundaries of the Mojave National Preserve (Preserve).

Burro capture and removal operations for 1998 mark the second of a multi-year strategy to reduce the burro herd within the Preserve to approximately 130 animals, as prescribed by Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Herd Management Plans.

Population estimates made in 1996 indicated that at least 1,500 animals roamed the Preserve. Then, in 1997, 600 burros were removed. Taking into account this recent gather plus population growth, it is estimated that there are currently 1,100 burros in the Preserve.

Burros are not native to the desert and are major competitors for scarce resources; an adult burro consumes an estimated 6,000 pounds of forage and 2000 gallons of water per year. Uncontrolled burro populations cause resource damage throughout the Mojave Desert, particularly in riparian zones and other habitat important for the desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, and other native wildlife species.

Like last year, burros will be captured using a water trapping procedure. Thirsty burros enter corrals to gain access to a watering tank, where they are contained by a special one-way gate. Once captured, burros are fed, watered, and cared for until removed from the Preserve.

In order to minimize costs, the NPS has considered several placement options for burros. Burros are currently being placed through a private contractor who will market the animals to caring buyers throughout the western U.S., a very cost-efficient alternative that also provides for the health and welfare of the animals. Other options currently being explored include placing burros through the Fund for Animals, a non-profit animal rights organization.

The following points rebut specific fallacies that are currently being spread through news letters and on the internet about our burro program:

  1. The National Park Service has not broken any agreement with the Fund for Animals. We have a tentative agreement with them to take hundreds of burros from us over the next four years. The official agreement in writing has been reviewed by Cleveland Amory, President of the Fund for Animals, and we are optimistic about a future relationship with the Fund. Representatives from the Fund's Black Beauty Ranch were here in the Mojave National Preserve earlier this month for discussions on this issue and to view our burro management program in the field. I returned recently from Texas where I was visiting the Black Beauty Ranch to ensure it would be suitable for our burros.

  2. Cattle grazing in the Mojave National Preserve was mandated by Congress in the 1994 California Desert Protection Act. The National Park Service has no decision making authority over the existence of cattle grazing in this park.

  3. No burros are going to slaughter. The Euclid Stockyards is marketing burros for pets, breeding, packing, and other recreational purposes. The contract between Euclid and the Park Service stipulates that no burros will be slaughtered, and the Park Service is spot checking to ensure this stipulation is followed.
I would be happy to speak with anyone about this issue and answer any questions about our burro program. Please feel free to call me if you would like to discuss this further.

Christopher J. Stubbs
Natural Resource Specialist
National Park Service
Mojave National Preserve
(760) 255-8815

Thanks, Chris, for posting your agency's position on this matter.

It appears that NPS is instead going to SHOOT the burros!

Please click here for details.

This is not a BLM operated or BLM sponsored site. It is run by private wild horse and burro enthusiasts.

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