Wild Horse Education

Black Mountain Burros (An advocate asks for your help)

Preface by Wild Horse Education:

In a few short weeks the helicopters will begin to fly at the Black Mountain burro HMA in Arizona. The HMA is the largest in Arizona, 1.1 million acres, and parallels the eastern shoreline of the Colorado River for 80 miles. Oatman, the old gold mining town lies in the center of the southern half of the HMA, along Historic Route 66. Burros routinely roam the streets of Oatman as living descendants of the burros used in mining.

Burro numbers: There are currently only around 17,000 wild burros left in the US. The BLM says that that they can only manage no more than about 2900 burros in 5 western states (1436-AZ, 465-CA, 824-NV, 24-OR, 170-UT).

As of March 25 the BLM has removed 106 burros off private land from the Black Mountain herd through bait and water trapping, the most common capture method used for burros.

On May 1, the BLM has placed Black Mountain on the helicopter gather schedule and targets 1,220 for capture and will release 100 treated with fertility control if they reach that capture number.

This will not be the first helicopter capture of burros in May. In fact, the agency hit the Centennial herd by chopper in May last year. Although no actual data has been provided on foaling stats, the agency says there is no “foaling season” for burros and does not have to abide by the prohibition on the use of helicopters (from March 1-July 1) that it uses in a generic designation of foaling season for wild horses.

Caroline Christie, a supporter of Wild Horse Education, is a long-time long ear lover and visitor of the Black Mountain burros. She recently took a pre-roundup trip to see the large herd before it is gone. The agency says that only 382-478 burros can live in the 1.1 million acre HMA.

I have photographed wild horses for many years and still do. However, I have a passion for wild burros too! Let it be said, I may be slightly Bonkers For Burros and I wanted to share with you a few special reasons why I love these wild and wonderful creatures.

Burros come in all sorts of fabulous colors- you have the pretty peach burros, the sweet brunettes, the faithful grays, eclectic pintos and the noble white burros. All these colors blend in so well with the desert fauna that it makes it sometimes difficult to spot these undercover cuties! I don’t know how many times I have yelled out “Burro” when actually I am looking at a big brown rock. But if you see a Saguaro with a tail..BINGO! It’s a burro!

Some burros have short tails, long tails, lost tails or my personal favorite…furry baby burro tails. In the fall, burrs from native plants catch onto their coats and tails creating a burry burro tail. Which by spring have all fallen off or been chewed and cleaned by their burro bestie.

Shall we talk ears? You’ve got furry ears and floppy ears but the big question is:How many directions can they go in? North, south, east and west for starters. However, the number of different angles both ears can go in will take a lot of time and research to figure out. I am up for the task and will report back.

My time with the wild burros is never dull and there is such peace and tranquility in the desert until you hear the earth shattering, mind-blowing sound of a wild burro performing their signature bray. The wild bray always takes you by surprise and is quite a lovely harmony that you will learn to love! Even in the middle of the night you can hear the burros braying..if you listen there is always a response from another burro on a distant mountain top or a far off valley. When a burro calls, they always pick up to talk. Such a dependable creatures!

Other reasons that I love wild burros? Well, let me think….burro wells! Burros have been known to dig burro wells which are mostly located in dry washes in the desert southwest. So far, I have discovered two burro wells. At each well I have noticed the burro prints as well as other animal prints which means the burros share their water with fellow desert dwellers.In the wild, burros are know as the considerate, thoughtful creatures and these wells that they dig definitely proves this! Don’t you think?

This is just a short number of reasons why I adore wild burros and I hope it has inspired you to support our wild burros or even get in your 4WD and go and discover your own band!

Like so many of us, I am truly dedicated to keeping our wild burros living wild and free. It’s been said before and should always be repeated..our wild burros need your voice. They may have the loudest HEE HAW in the American west but they can’t speak for themselves. That’s our job!

Caroline made this graphic.

WHE supports this simple plea: please make a polite call to this list above and ask that they put pressure on the BLM to use the more common bait trapping method. Burros are not horses. Helicopter roundups can be brutal… and even more so for the extremely cautious and wary burro. 

As we all work to address the massive assault on wild horses and burros west wide, set in the “BLM 2020 plan,” we can all take time to make a call and ask that the helicopters stay grounded.

The 2020 plan incorporates a massive lobby document called the “Path Forward” that was negotiated through the office of Chris Stewart (R-UT). This industry driven push to decimate wild herds (as massive give aways to livestock and mining are running full-steam) set the broken BLM program on a course of destruction. No reforms were included in the package deal to fix the crumbling system that decimates wild herds as it leaves them more vulnerable then ever to being rapidly funneled out of the now burgeoning system of holding and landing in kill-pens.

You can take action against the continuation of the assault in the budget debate HERE.

It is going to take a lot of work on many levels to address the multi-layered damage done through the lobbyists that helped created the “2020 plan” to suit their needs… needs not based in science, planning or responsibility.

However, we do hope you make a call asking to simply ground the choppers at Black Mountain. As we  work hard to address the larger picture, we can all join in trying to stop undue suffering.

Thank you.


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Categories: Wild Horse Education