Horse News

BLM Photo Documents 72 Wild Burros but Submits Written Report of 1,378?

Black Mountain Wild Burro Herd Management Area: Analysis of Bureau of Land Management Aerial Census

April and October 2014 Flights

Independent Study by Undisclosed Environmental Researchers

Four Burros – Black Mountain Herd Management Area – BLM Photo

Four Burros – Black Mountain Herd Management Area – BLM Photo

The following independent review of the Bureau of Land Management’s 2014 burro population census aerial flight was completed using information, photographs, and other documentation that was collected through a formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the raw data of the BLM’s 2014 population census aerial flights. The aerial census data documentation over the nine days of flights fails to adequately document the BLM’s wild burro population count.


This report is an analysis of the data, pictures, and hand-written notes from the Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Arizona – BLM Colorado River District – Kingman Field Office wild burro census completed in two segments, between April 25-30th and October 6-9th of 2014 in the Black Mountain Herd Management Area. Over the nine days in flight only 5% (rounded) of the wild burros that were allegedly counted were photographed. In fact, the majority of the photos taken during the flight were of big horn sheep and trophy buck deer and duplicate burro photos and landscape features rather than of wild burros counted. There were four persons in the helicopter in each flight – pilot and 3 observers – see flight data for observers’ names and government affiliation (BLM & AZGFD & NPS). The aerial census over the nine days fails to adequately document the BLM’s purported wild burro population count. It was also noted by examination of the photos that the majority of the photos were taken of the wild burros while being chased by the helicopter.

 Data Summary

Summary of independent review of BLM aerial flight raw data:

Total Photos 54

Total Burros Counted in Photos 72

Total Photos of Burros (not counting duplicates) 20

Total Number Duplicate Photos (that were of duplicate burros groups) 15

Total Photos of “Other” 19

– landscape 10

– trophy deer 6

– big-horn sheep 3

BLM flight notes show they counted 1,378 wild burros (1,148 total adults and 230 total foals)

Nine days flying in 2014

Miles flown and time in air (see BLM notes)

All burros were reported as inside HMA except on flight day 4/27/2014 (27 adults and 4 foals) and on flight day 4/28/2014 (17 adults and 1 foal).

The majority of all flights reported at 0 – 30% vegetation concealment with occasional 70-80% in Juniper tree areas and “open” or “broken” visual field and rarely “treed” (see data)

 Flight Data

Arizona – BLM Colorado River District – Kingman Field Office

Black Mountain Herd Management Area

Survey Method: Simultaneous Double-Count

Helicopter – Bell L1

Elevations flown: 2,000-3,000 feet (Elevation at nearby Kingman AZ is 3,336 feet)

April 25, 27, 28, 29 & 30 of 2014

Flight Hours 24.7

Miles Flown: 2061 (plus additional ferry miles)

Conditions: Ranged from good to very good – Winds ranged from light to high

October 6, 7, 8, & 9 of 2014

Flight Hours 27.2

Miles Flown: Not provided

Conditions: Very Good Overall; Ranging from Good to Excellent; Light Rain One Day; Light Winds

No date/time stamp on any photos. FOIA requester was told that date/time was not done and not required by BLM.

The aerial census included the pilot and three additional observers for each flight date. The observers included BLM employees, Arizona Game and Fish employees and National Park Service employees (see flight notes).

Planned Speed 55-60 knots (63-70 MPH)

See aerial flight maps provided via FOIA – no explanation was provided with them.


The Fort Collins Science Center who guides the BLM’s aerial population procedures states, “Because population estimates drive nearly all management decisions pertaining to wild horses and burros, accuracy is important.”

“The accuracy and precision of current wild horse survey methods have not been rigorously tested.”

The BLM Instruction Memorandum (IM) establishes program guidance and policy for inventorying and estimating wild horse population numbers to supply the managers and the public with scientifically supportable and defensible population estimates of wild horse and burro populations. More than ever before, Field Managers and WH&B specialists are challenged to base WH&B management decisions on accurate and credible population estimates. This was not accomplished with this survey and the true and accurate wild burro population was not sufficiently documented for the Black Mountain HMA and therefore is very much in question.


Complete data received via FOIA is available upon request. The aerial census documentation over the nine days fails to adequately document the BLM’s wild burro population count.

Click (HERE) to Download Compete Report

26 replies »

    • Hocuspocus, these are the same Black Mountain Wild Burros that the Mojave County supervisors are now threatening to have removed, whatever means necessary and these are same Black Mountain Wild Burros in the following report. The full report is much longer, so I’m just posting part of it.

      11th Hour for Arizona’s Wild Burros
      OpEd by Marjorie Farabee ~Director of Wild Burro Affairs at Wild Horse Freedom Federation
      May 1, 2015

      Recently, Simone Netherlands, representing Respect4Horses (R4H), and myself, representing Wild Horse Freedom Federation (WHFF), joined up to attend both scoping meetings being held by the BLM in Kingman and Bullhead City, AZ. The BLM’s presentation of damage caused by wild burros was lacking in scientific data or actual observation from reputable studies. They simply showed a photo zeroed in on a small area that would have some plants which were grazed or damaged. This was their “proof” that wild burros were damaging the desert. When the HMA was set up in 1974 there were over 2000 burros living easily on this land. Now, the number allowed has been reduced to a mere 478 burros for this vast HMA. Meanwhile cattle are grazed with well over 5000 acknowledged as grazing on the land. At the scoping meetings held by the BLM at both Bullhead City and Kingman the public was told the entire HMA was degraded by burros. Of course, no cattle were mentioned as being detrimental. In fact, I had to pry an acknowledgement that cattle were even present on the HMA out of the BLM representative. Roger Oyler then answered questions I had about the mapping. He confirmed that the ruling in WY concerning wild horses on checkerboard land gave them the right to remove the checker boarded areas from the Black Mountain HMA. He further explained the yellow area west of Kingman, called Golden Valley, will also be taken from the HMA. Neither he nor Chad Benson would give us the targeted number of burros in their sites for removal from the Black Mountain HMA.

      At these meetings the public was not allowed to ask questions in an open forum. We were asked to walk up to individual representatives of the BLM and ask our questions privately thus denying the attending public access to the concerns raised by the question, or the answers provided. The public would have been saddened to learn that the BLM is planning to not only reduce the number of wild burros by an unspecified amount, they are planning to reduce the size of the HMA as well.
      Another issue brought up was the burros crossing 95 in Bullhead City. The area where they are crossing is still legally a part of the Black Mountain HA and provides direct access to the Colorado River which is an important water source for the burros and all other wildlife in the area. (That 10-mile strip is STILL legally designated (by 1971 Congress) for wild horses and burro. It is still HA (Herd Area) land. “Wild horses and burros are supposed to be treated as “components of the public lands”.


  1. Reposting a previous comment

    January 17, 2016

    The area of land that is Bullhead City was a part of the original HA. A whole three mile wide section running down the bank of the river was carved away. It is glutenous inconsideration for the natural world that city planners would not include wildlife in their infrastructure planning. The land, that was once set aside for the principal use by our wild horses and burros, means the burros needs should have been included in all city planning. The knowledge that they were building where protected wild burros live should have made the burro’s access to water an imperative.

    Groups like the Sierra Club are primarily hunting clubs. This means their “conservation” is conservation to protect game, not wildlife. For years the Sierra Club has disseminated false information about burros that other “conservation” groups have adopted. The management of wildlife to conserve game species is not balanced. This type of management is not concerned with the symbiotic relationships between species and their environment. They just want a bigger rack.’In the end, these ecosystems will collapse. This is already happening, yet they blame the burros.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susan we should, what the hell is going on? Seems they can’t stand any thing living
    on the land that belongs there. We need some big time help to come in with us .


    • I wrote them some time ago asking why they showed no balance in their information, and it is evident that most of the photos they show on their site of thin/starving horses are individuals surrounded by other wild horses who are not thin, raising questions of age, dentition, general poor health etc. in individuals.

      Their site mentions nothing about grazing competition from livestock, or managing livestock for the good of the rangelands, but here is there published list of members:

      Steering Committee

      Steering Committee members are national or international organizations that work together to direct the actions of the Coalition and advance management of horses and burros for the good of the rangelands.
      American Farm Bureau Federation
      American Sheep Industry Association
      Masters of Foxhounds Association
      Mule Deer Foundation
      National Association of Conservation Districts
      National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
      National Rifle Association
      National Wildlife Refuge Association
      Public Lands Council
      Public Lands Foundation
      Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation
      Safari Club International
      Society for Range Management
      The Wildlife Society

      General Members
      General members are local, statewide, regional, or national groups interested in achieving appropriate management levels of horses and burros for the health of the rangeland.
      Colorado Wool Growers Association
      Montana Farm Bureau Federation


  3. Your lying about the numbers to suit your purpose …”eradication of a wild burro population not harming anything”….. You must start doing what is right…..shooting these wild protected animals for no real reason is illegal and some day if you continue to do these wrongful eradication so Mother Earth will repay you with dust bowl were everything is out of balance because your greed and ignorant way of thinking will come back eventually and bite you in the ass!Stop now this is wrong you know it and let them be! Theresa Thissen Gypsum, Colorado

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Steve Moss likes to make remarks like he is only asking to allow issuing hunting permits as a form of “shock” value. He states, he knows these are federally protected animals and he doesn’t really want to cause them harm. All of the Mohave Supervisors are issuing the same replies to comments stating they want the public to contact the BLM and ask them to do their job.

    The Black Mountain HMA has a history of trigger happy burro haters killing burros in the past. Due to this history, the propensity for danger to the burros is known. Steve Moss, who is an attorney knows that if you yell “fire” in a movie theatre and someone gets hurt, the person who falsely yells fire can be charged. In my view, if any burros are harmed as a result of him knowingly mentioning killing burros, then he is culpable for causing them harm and should be charged.

    The BLM is culpable for causing this uproar by the issuance of false reports. And to go one step further, the city of Bullhead City is culpable for every injury to every person and protected burro due to their failure to plan for wildlife corridors. Bullhead City still has the outlines of the original HA. They knew the burros called the area home, and they knew the river was important to their survival. Yet, they made a decision to not design the roadways with burros and wildlife playing a part in the design. The following collisions with burros and other wildlife was a predictable event.

    The burros are doing what they have always done since long before there was a Bullhead City. Planning for them was a no-brainer…. oh right… they didn’t plan for them.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Please do not round up, shoot or do anything inhumane to these animals. You’ll have an outcry on your hands like you’ve never seen before. We have had enough of this! Enough!
    B. Baugh


    • Daniel – I just looked and the report is still there click on the word “here” at the bottom of the posting where it says “Click (HERE) to Download Compete Report”. Hope that helps.


  6. Lies, lies, lies! That’s all we get from the BLM, Forest Service, NPS, Wildlife Killing Machine! !!!! Stop murdering all our wildlife for your greed!!!


  7. There is No Doubt they need a new system with people that are more accurate. When lives are at stake like they are with our wild herds they really should have more knowledgable people and have two or even three teams that record data to back up or discredit the others if they aren’t doing their job correctly. I bet their are people that would be happy to assist, that wouldn’t cost near as much either and would give more accurate information. There is again No Doubt there needs to be change before we loose a lll of our wild herds.

    Liked by 1 person

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