The BLM Colorado River District is planning to remove a large number of wild burros (they did not specify how many) in the Black Mountain HMA and also reduce the size of the Black Mountain HMA (they didn’t specify precisely how much or where) and also remove 30 burros close to Bullhead City that are considered a public safety hazard. Earlier in April the BLM held a presentation in Bullhead City and Kingman, AZ. They showed some slides of chewed down grass, without proving that it was the burros, who caused that, or where in the HMA this occurs or how large of an area is affected since this HMA is 1.1 million acres. There is very little information available online about this HMA. There is only one wild horse and burro specialist for the entire Colorado River district (he manages 6 HMA’s by himself), his name is Chad Benson, who was also the person presenting the information at the meeting and to whom public comments should be addressed.
Marjorie Farrabee of Wild Horse Freedom Federation and Simone Netherlands of Respect4Horses were present at these meetings and did a 2 day drive through study throughout the Black Mountain HMA. They report:
“We could not discover any part of the land that looked remotely over-used, as a matter of fact we found the desert in lush green condition everywhere we went. With the exception of the tame burros in the town of Oatman, AZ, there were very few burros to be found, we only saw 4 wild burros in 2 days. We speculated that even a hundred thousand burros wouldn’t be able to chew down the 2 million acres if they tried. In the middle of the HMA lies the historic town of Oatman where the burros have become tame and are now the main source of attraction. For the rest the HMA is an enormously grand and desolate mountainous landscape that is not used for much else other than a few mining operations. Looking at the empty landscape (no human development) as far as the eye could reach, it was very hard for us to understand how the burros could be bothering anyone here. All the local people we talked to had a great appreciation for the burros and were against any removals.”
The burros that live along the Colorado River are the ones slated for removal immediately. We found that the reason those burros are crossing the road is quite self -explanatory. They have been cut off from their main water source, the Colorado River, so they have to choose, risk getting killed on the road, or die of dehydration. Originally their HMA included a ten mile strip of the Colorado river, which was later simply excluded from the HMA, therefore currently they are considered “outside the HMA”. Many bighorn sheep have also been hit on the same road trying to survive as well as the burros and we are quite sure many other species as well, because the road runs right in between the river and the rest of the desert-habitat. Our suggestion is to solve the problem, not by removing the burros, but by building an underpass under highway 95. The river is the life source for many other species that live in the hot desert as well as the burros.
We would like for the BLM to take into consideration that a species that is below ten thousand nationwide should be carefully protected at a safe herd size in the areas where they are still thriving and where they are not bothering anyone. We believe that in 1996 the AML of 478 animals was decided without any scientific evidence and as such the numbers should not be adjusted to an AML that is unreasonable for 2 million acres of land where very little human development exists.
If you want to do something to help these wild burros, please write a comment today. We need a very large amount of comments please everyone, the wild burros are already at a scary low number nationwide.
Comment period ends at 5 pm on May 2nd 2015. Thank you for caring and thank you for sharing.