Burros in Blue Wing, Things to know

Public interest  has been high to the few photos we posted on social media of the burros at Blue Wing.

A roundup at Blue Wing begins August 1: 800 burros and 200 horses are targeted for capture. Our teams have are out in Blue Wing doing pre-roundup work and will be onsite for any operation moving forward. We are also working with our partner at CANA foundation seeking a remedy for ongoing roundups where BLM is operating under old analysis and without actual management plans, including Blue Wing. CLICK HERE

So we thought this might be a good opportunity to give you a few “burro facts.”

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One of the “paint burros” at Blue Wing

Many people think burros are like “horses with long fuzzy ears.” The truth is that a healthy wild burro utilizes the range differently than a wild horse. That is why you will might find a statement in a document, or a recommendation that we give to the BLM, that states “habitat more suitable for burros.”

Our recommendation for Gold Mountain in 2013 was that the area be “repatriated” as a burro HMA. The area had a “paper” burro population, but none in actual existence. The environment was also beginning to show signs of climate change through vegetative changes. We recommended the HMA be utilized to reestablish a burro population (instead of removing burros to holding, relocate animals into the existing HMA. BLM agreed, but has not taken any steps to actualize repatriation.

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Jack, or male burro, at Blue Wing

Burros are not horses.

  • While they are also an equid, the way their digestive system functions is much different. Burros are sometimes compared to small ruminants in their capabilities to digest and utilize fiber, the way a burro ferments and uses fiber is completely different than a horse. A diet of course grasses and shrubs suits a burro.
  • Burros can survive a loss of up to 30% of their body weight through water loss and replenish it with one drink.
  • Burros evolved in the African Desert and are a descendant of the African Wild Ass, (the African Wild Ass is one of the most endangered animals in the world).
  • A male burro is called a “jack,” and a female a “jenny.” When they are babies they are called foals. When they are little they are called “fillies and colts,” just like with horses.
  • People often use burros as guard animals. Burros have a range of vocalizations that can be heard for great distances. Most burros also have natural instinct to protect herds of goats and sheep from coyotes (so be careful if you adopt one and gradually introduce any dogs you might have).
  • The word “burro” is the Spanish word for “donkey.”

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BLM asserts that we can only sustain about 3000 burros on all of western public lands. These numbers were primarily agreed to in the political negotiations surrounding the passage of, and early local planning to implement, the 1971 Wild Horses and Burros Act.

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Blue Wing Burros

Further reading:

What is Ejaio?

Ejiao (pronounced uh-jee-ow), also known as ‘colla corii asini’ or ‘donkey-hide glue’, is a key ingredient in traditional Chinese remedies. It is produced from the collagen extracted from donkey skin.

The global trade in donkey hides to meet the demand has led to an outright crisis, worldwide, to protect burro populations.  (Learn More)

HR 5203 is a bill in Congress to stop export of US donkeys for the trade. You can read the bill, and contact your reps, by using the information you can find HERE.

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