More wild burros call Arizona home than anywhere else in the West. Over 5,000 burros are estimated to roam the western part of the state, where these hardy animals are highly adapted to the harsh desert environment.
One of the largest and genetically healthy burro populations in Arizona and the nation as a whole lives in the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Black Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA), a 1.1 million-acre public lands area that spans 80 miles along the Colorado River, from the Hoover Damn in the north to the Needles Bridge in California at the southern end. The area includes the towns of Bullhead City and Oatman, where the burros are a popular tourist attraction.
Over the past year, the Black Mountain burros have been the target of state and local government agencies that view them as “feral pests” and have been lobbying for the removal of hundreds of these steadfast animals from their homes on the range. One county supervisor even suggested opening a hunting season on burros! They claim that the burros are overpopulating, but even the high end of the BLM’s population estimates, there would be just one burro per one square mile of land in the HMA….hardly an overpopulation problem.
Fortunately, the BLM Arizona is resisting calls for mass burro roundups and prioritizing humane management instead. While not ruling out future removals, the agency is proposing a pilot PZP fertility control research program in conjunction with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). (Research is necessary because PZP has not been used extensively in wild burro populations.)
The BLM is now accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) on this humane management pilot program, so now is the time to weigh in and support the BLM Arizona’s plan. You can submit your own comments or sign on to AWHPC’s comments by clicking thebutton below.