KBR Wild Horse and Burro News
The following information has been provided by Barry Breslow who has been following this issue for some time.
I ran a gal down who gave me her story that the National Parks Service (NPS) was shooting all the burros. She sent me an article from a local newspaper in the low desert that told the story.
I called the paper and the owner has personally been involved with wild horse/burro saving. He supported the story and gave me the best lead was a man who works for the Calif Dept. of Agriculture and has hunted the Preserve for 45 years.
I called this fellow and hit pay dirt. He knows everything going on and knows the Preserve inside and out. He has been to meeting after meeting, has written the Dept of Interior many times on saving what the NPS seems determined to destroy. The problem really dates back to the mid 90's when the government made Mojave an official preserve. That's when they took it away from the jurisdiction of the BLM and gave it to the NPS.
They pushed all of the ranchers out of the Preserve as they don't like cattle either. What the ranchers had set up over the last 100 years is a watering system which served not only their cattle but the wild life as well. Dug wells and water troughs are not 'natural enough' for the NPS so they are shutting them down. This fellow goes in on his off days to open up springs so that the wildlife will have some water supply. (Apparently the NPS doesn't think wildlife need water.)
The issue with the burros goes back to when the NPS took over the Preserve. NPS seems to have the most radical anti-burro policies of any of the federal land management agencies so they wanted the burros out, dead or alive.
The Fund for Animals entered the picture, which has over the last 20 years rescued thousands of burros destine for NPS slaughter from Grand Canyon, Death Valley, etc. They made a deal in '97 to take 300 burros a year figuring that it would take 4 years to get the 1200 estimated burros saved. They took 300 in '97 and '98, but found they were being overwhelmed an renegotiated for the second 600 at 100 a year for six years. They took 100 in '99, '00, and '01, but the NPS never gave them the 100 in '02.
I was contacted last summer about wild burros going to slaughter. It appears that instead of sending the burros to The Fund they were sending them to Earl Graham owner of the Chino stock yard in Chino, Ca. (Tania Bennett of Mustang-Spirit is helping document those activities.) I'm sure it was cheaper to renege on the Fund and give this local the burros. Now I guess its even cheaper to buy a few boxes of shells.
My contact, Cliff McDonald, was actually offered the contract to shoot the burros. He doesn't like to see the burros go, but found it extra obnoxious when he was told to just shoot them and leave them where they drop. I gather he hunts for meat not the thrill of killing animals or for trophies so he told them no. He says that they have actually found someone who took the contract, which is why I am pushing so hard to get as many groups as possible to call Mary Martins, the manager at Mojave, and insist that the Fund For Animals and other legitimate groups be allowed to save the burros rather than shoot them. I feel [right or wrong] that the more people she hears from the more pressure she will feel to stop the slaughter. It could look pretty bad if 5 groups Volunteered to save the animals and she had them shot anyway, but that's giving NPS credit for some level of intelligence.
The Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue in Acton, CA is lined up to go in to save them, the Wild Burro Rescue in Olancha, CA will help and take some, The Fund For Animals will come in to keep them from being shot and I understand LRTC has been lining up some adopters. I have tentative plans to meet Cliff at the Preserve on January 1st or 2nd and probably Marc from PVDR will come. If the weather breaks I'm headed to the Sheldon Wildlife Preserve tomorrow. They want to get rid of most of their burros [150-200] they contacted the PVDR and WBR to come and take them, 50 at a time. I'll see what it looks like. There are really so few of the burros left in the wild I can't believe that there is such motivation in the government to get rid of them all. Maybe they can get motivated some day to do something useful.
This is a very time sensitive situation. Contacts are needed ASAP.
When this issue was previously raised in 1998, Christopher Stubbs of the NPS who was assigned to Mojave at the time issued a formal statement specifically rebutting any claims that burros were being sold for slaughter or being removed by other means than trapping and placement with adopters. That statement can be read by clicking here. We know that some of the burros went to the stock yard and it is unclear what happened to them after that.
Furthermore, I received the following message from Ms. Martin in response to my recent inquiries.
I am unsure of where you received this information. It is completely
inaccurate. It would be helpful if you would assist in correcting the
I am unsure of where you received this information. It is completely inaccurate. It would be helpful if you would assist in correcting the misinformation.
Her message was noticeably lacking in any information or details that would discredit Mr. Breslow's and Mr. McDonald's allegations. I did respond that if she provided me with substantive information that I would post it.
This is an important matter of public policy that doesn't just affect burros. We'll keep everyone posted on this web site as new facts emerge.
This is not a BLM operated or BLM sponsored site. It is run by private wild horse and burro enthusiasts.
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