BLM Considers Wild Burro Agreement

By HALEY WALTERS Today’s News-Herald

“A little bit of Wild Burro propaganda, maybe?!” ~ R.T.


Wild burro captured by BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Wild burro captured by BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management may enter into an agreement with Arizona Game and Fish Commission to team up on Arizona’s burro problem, following talks yesterday in Washington.

Senator John McCain, representatives from Game and Fish plus several county supervisors sat down to discuss the area’s relentless burro overpopulation and ways to combat it. Arizona Game and Fish submitted a proposal that is under consideration by the BLM.

“I look forward to BLM’s review of the proposal,” McCain said. “I also believe it’s time that Congress holds a hearing to examine the rapid growth of burro populations in Arizona. I look forward to continuing this conversation until a sustainable, long-term solution is agreed upon.”

The proposed solution would place more of the burro burden onto the Commission, alleviating the billion-dollar financial strain the management costs for burro management places on the BLM each year.

“The resolution includes burro capture, transports and an aggressive marketing campaign to adopt them out,” Mohave County Supervisor Steve Moss said. “It’s a very compassionate resolution if it works.”

McCain is expected to pursue an intergovernmental agreement that would validate this partnership and may pursue a possible special senate hearing to examine how federal law is impacting the situation. The Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 only permits the BLM to manage burro herds.

““It’s clear to all parties that the current incarnation of the federal government’s Wild Horse and Burro program is no longer effective and must be re-evaluated,” Arizona Game and Fish Commission Chairman Kurt Davis said. “The impact this non-native, feral animal is having on our native wildlife, our communities and taxpayers is only escalating and no longer can be shoved aside by the BLM.”

Moss said BLM officials don’t expect the capture-adopt method to completely solve the problem, but he and other stakeholders said they are in complete support of the measure if it slows the growth of burro populations.

“We’ll find out over the next several months and years if it has had an impact,” Moss said.

29 comments on “BLM Considers Wild Burro Agreement

  1. Arizona Game & Fish does NOT have a good track record when it comes to protecting Arizona’s Wildlife.
    How could America’s few remaining Wild Burro possibly be protected by their agency?

    From PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)
    ARIZONA GAME AGENCY SCAPEGOATS COUGARS FOR BIGHORN TRAVAILS
    http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2008/04/29/arizona-game-agency-scapegoats-cougars-for-bighorn-travails/
    For Immediate Release: Apr 29, 2008
    Agency Engages in “Biological McCarthyism” by Targeting Puma as Bighorn Gain
    Posted on Apr 29, 2008

    Yuma-The Arizona Game and Fish Department has been making misleading statements about the role pumas play in bighorn population levels and has had to issue one public correction. Other uncorrected misstatements raise doubts about whether the state game agency will honor a one-year moratorium against killing more panthers that it had agreed to just last week, according to Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER).

    In a press release of April 18, 2008 announcing a year-long halt to further “lethal removal” of pumas (a.k.a. mountain lions, cougars or panthers), Arizona Game and Fish Department (AGFD) wrongly claimed that the bighorn population on Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) continued to drop and that “lions were likely a significant cause of bighorn mortality.” In fact, the agency’s own surveys showed the bighorn population had grown by nearly 18% in 2007.

    On April 24th, AGFD issued a corrected press release blaming false statements on a “typographical error.” The corrected release still did not admit that the bighorn population had increased and it left unchanged questionable assertions about the significance of cougars in bighorn population fluctuations.

    “Arizona Game and Fish seems engaged in biological McCarthyism against the small at-risk remaining population of Kofa pumas,” stated Southwest PEER Director Daniel Patterson, noting that AGFD had recently killed two Kofa pumas. “Killing pumas for being wild in nature is misguided wildlife management.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excerpts from Ron Kearns’ critique of state and federal mountain lion management
    http://www.peer.org/assets/docs/nwr/08_29_4_kearns_cougar_critique.pdf
    To: Mr. Gary Hovatter, AGFD Yuma Region IV Information & Education Program Manager
    (I&E Manager Hovatter or Mr. Hovatter), et al.
    From: Ron Kearns, Retired Kofa NWR Wildlife Biologist, USFWS
    Date: Wednesday, October 17, 2007
    Subject: Reply to an e‐mail dated Monday, September 24, 2007

    A timeline of events follows that covers the period from the cougar’s capture/collaring, through his unjust death, then concludes with a concern raised in the Plan by a respected and acknowledged AGFD lion researcher. Most of the following information is the result of a public records request; an excellent
    and equitable procedure the Arizona State Legislature allows the public to gain information pursuant to the Arizona Public Records Act.

    February 28, 2007: The capture/collaring of the young tom lion (lion, KM01, collared cougar)

    April 17, 2007: Date on the final Investigative Report and Recommendations for the Kofa Bighorn Sheep Herd (Report) although not officially signed until Monday, June 4, 2007.

    April 20, 2007: (From Kofa/AGFD pers. comm) or (“April 17 or 18” from Contact Lion Trapper Mr. Ron Thompson’s field notes) First confirmed young ram bighorn killed by KM01 at a location “less than one mile from the Kofa NWR boundary, but definitely not within the KNWR boundary.

    The previous quote was from I&E Manager Hovatter’s e‐mail while Trapper Thompson’s field notes documented; “(Just off Refuge) About 1 mi.” From the general location given, this area is BLM land and it may be in that agency’s New Water Wilderness Area.
    I requested a GPS location for this kill site on Friday, September 28, because of the apparent location discrepancies and the false and/or misleading statement by AGFD Yuma Region IV Supervisor Mr.LARRY VOYLES (SUPERVISOR VOYLES)
    in a newspaper article that this was a Kofa bighorn. On June 13, another person requested this and other bighorn kill locations, but the information remains unprovided, and I am still requesting the location almost 3.75 months later.

    Like

  3. Two years later….

    ARIZONA COUGAR SHOOTING PLAN MISGUIDED
    Need For and Effects of Wiping Out Desert-Adapted Cougars Not Understood
    Posted on Oct 06, 2009
    http://www.peer.org/news/news-releases/2009/10/06/arizona-cougar-shooting-plan-misguided/

    Yuma -Federal and state agencies are on the verge of biological malpractice in their plans to continue “lethal removals” of a small, shrinking cougar population based in Arizona’s Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, according to comments filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). A pending U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service plan would allow state game agents to shoot radio-collared mountain lions on the Kofa refuge itself in order to limit predation on prized bighorn sheep.

    Like

  4. Selling Off Apache Holy Land
    http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/29/opinion/selling-off-apache-holy-land.html?_r=0
    \
    Despite these protections, in December 2014, Congress promised to hand the title for Oak Flat over to a private, Australian-British mining concern. A fine-print rider trading away the Indian holy land was added at the last minute to the must-pass military spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. By doing this, Congress has handed over a sacred Native American site to a foreign-owned company for what may be the first time in our nation’s history.

    The land grab was sneakily anti-democratic even by congressional standards. For more than a decade, the parcel containing Oak Flat has been coveted by Rio Tinto, Resolution’s parent company – which already mines on its own private land in the surrounding area -for the high-value ores beneath it.

    This time, the giveaway language was slipped onto the defense bill by Senators JOHN McCAIN and JEFF FLAKE
    of Arizona at the 11th hour. The tactic was successful only because, like most last-minute riders, it bypassed public scrutiny.

    The truth is that for Mr. McCAIN, Mr.FLAKE
    and others who would allow this precious public land to be destroyed, it’s not only the Indians who are invisible. The rest of us are also ghosts, remnants of a quaint idea of democracy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I very strongly agree with you!! I like this that you wrote :it’s not only the Indians who are invisible, the rest of us are also ghost, remnants of a quaint idea of democracy.” the truth in that hurts!

      Like

  5. Wow. It never seizes to amaze me that this is the same exact John McCain that supported the Salt River wild horses less than a year ago. What on Earth caused his position to change? Or was he lying the whole entire time to get the advocates’ votes?

    And by the National Academy of Sciences own admission, roundups may facilitate population growth. Here’s part of the report:

    Management practices are facilitating high rates of population growth. BLM’s removals hold horse populations below levels affected by food limits. If population density were to increase to the point that there was not enough forage available, it could result in fewer pregnancies and lower young-to-female ratios and survival rates. Decreased competition for forage through removals may instead allow population growth, which then drives the need to remove more animals.

    Like

  6. Although it should be a moot point, because the reintroduction of burros to our continent over 500 years ago qualifies them as naturalized, the continued drumbeat of describing them as non-native compels the rebuttal of their actual origination in North America. This is attested to by all scientist. The family equidae is horse, ass, zebra. They are verified to have been here up until 6 to 10 thousand years ago, and some excavations have found bones dating back a thousand years which does make their existence here continuous. This also compels the rebuttal that bighorn sheep, which they refer to as native species requiring protection, originated in Siberia. Also the bighorn they refer to are designer bighorn which have been bred on farms and released making them essentially domestic. But, this is not the argument that is important. What is important is that the burros have been severely over counted and are extremely important to the desert environments where they are found. They provide water to other species, germination microcosms to seeds, and loom to the soil. This nonsense is a drumbeat to their complete eradication and they know it. Burros lose more than half of their young in their first year and more after they are yearlings. Thus, the actual growth rate is closer to 4% in the good years. This is all about the money brought in by big game tags. Recently, in Reno a bighorn tag was sold for over $300,000. and a mule deer tag was sold for over $400,000. The humble burro is seen as competition by these snake oil salesmen. They study “Invasion Biology” which deems all that is not native to require eradication. Unfortunately, by their own standards, they are eradicating the native for the invader. Of course, I do not stand by this science, and clearly after a hundred thousand years, bighorn are a part of their habitats. Also, burros, who are native have only returned to fill a niche in the ecosystem that needed to be filled. The land needs diverse animal impact that is timed. Removing a keystone species like the burro, will result in a loss of other species and create an imbalance to the delicate balance that nature manages very well by herself.

    Like

  7. This seems to be an outright lie:

    The proposed solution would place more of the burro burden onto the Commission, alleviating the billion-dollar financial strain the management costs for burro management places on the BLM each year.

    As the ENTIRE BLM 2017 budget (proposed) is $1.3 Billion, and the 2016 budget under $1 Billion, with only a few thousand wild burros in existence on our public lands, there is no possibility this statement is factually correct and this author should be forcefully asked to correct this. Unbelievable, on many levels.

    Like

  8. Go to the local news outlets and you will find the TRUTH….the people that live there love the Burros and don’t consider them to be a problem. This is a comment from the Havasu News Herald

    COMMENT
    Boating Built Havasu Feb 26, 2016
    Mohave County Supervisors are bucking for the money and not a real solution. Wild burros are part of the Wild West Landscape. If people cared more about the environment and not just their shiny houses and cars, we would all live in a compassionate world.
    Wildburroaz@hotmail.com. EMAIL ME and maybe we can be more compassionate.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. My blood boils at the money spent on preserving the bighorn to the extent that the money is used to wipe out species deemed unworthy by these people who have God complexes. They scream, that the bighorn are endangered! Oh my God, there are only 70,000 bighorn and they must be protected! How does this jive with their equally hysterical rants that the burros are “over populated”. Oh my God, there are 8,000 burros! They must be eliminated! (the 8,000 figure is BLM’s number. Our number places them at closer to 3,000 left in the wild.) How does the hysteria of only 70,000 left reconcile with their equally frenetic hysteria of the burros being over-populated at 8,000. Can they spell h-y-p-o-c-r-i-t-e? And, even more infuriating is the continued use of the word feral in reference to the burro which is actually native. http://circleranchtx.com/exciting-horse-fossil-discovery-in-nevada-desert/

    The burros don’t have any friends in big moneyed organizations or do they? If anyone knows of anyone actively monetarily supporting the wild burros, I would love to know who they are. It would seem that religious organizations would get behind preservation of the humble burro who carried Mary. It would also seem that historical societies would want to see the burro preserved. I do know that there is a growing body of resistance to invasion biology. Which could not come too soon. This paradigm shift is taking place at a time when we have lost 40% of all species on earth in the span of 50 years. The killing continues as we race for salvation of this planet. If this continues we will be a planet in hospice.

    Please consider the great work being done by my friend Christopher Gill. In his blog he writes about Invasion Biology and what holistic land management means. It is all about diversity and timing. http://circleranchtx.com/aoudad-the-bogus-boogeyman/ His 32,000 acre ranch hosts diverse wildlife. http://circleranchtx.com/game-cameras-10-18-2015/ He does not kill predators, and his land is adjacent to the Diablo Wildlife Management area. His land is teaming with life. The desert grasses are flourishing while next door the land has desertified, and has been depopulated by Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD). http://circleranchtx.com/bio-diverse-animals-restoring-habitats-at-circle-ranch/#more-5700 He does sell cattle leases, but he uses the cattle like the great bison herds of old. They are moved. They are not allowed to sit in an area and graze it to the ground. Just as the bison herds of old, they stomp, defecate, snip off grasses and wallow in the riparian areas, but they are moved every few days to a completely new area. The stomping, defecating and grazing being timed means the land is aerated, fertilized and stimulated. Any predation is looked as acceptable because the overall reproduction of the herd is increased by the health of the land. http://circleranchtx.com/nature-notes-bison-and-the-shortgrass-prairie-of-the-llano-estacado/
    http://circleranchtx.com/page/2/?s=invasion+biology

    “Fixed-Pie Biology

    Conventional wildlife biology incorporates the “fixed-pie” fallacy, which assumes any animal’s benefit comes at another animal’s expense. In other words, if an aoudad takes a drink or an elk takes a bite of grass, another animal must suffer. Since the pie is fixed in size, all animals are locked into a mutually destructive “competition” wherein each fights all others for its piece.

    Holistic management is built around the assumption that plant health depends on short-term exposure to large numbers and varieties of animals. The combination of grazing, hoof action and fertilization from dung and urine helps nature heal, improving soil life as well as the plant and animal communities. As natural systems become more robust they can support more types and larger numbers of animals. As these numbers and variety are allowed to grow, they help each other, all plants and soil life.

    Sadly, the fixed-pie fallacy and “invasive species” pseudoscience dominate our universities, agencies and NGOs, leading to costly wildlife eradications and plant poisoning programs. These ill-conceived “vendettas” waste money, harm the plants and animals they are intended to help and degrade habitat for all living things.”
    Christopher Gill

    Like

    • So, if the BLM (as written) endures a BILLION DOLLAR BURRO BURDEN, and we have, say, maybe 5,000 burros left in the wild (mid point between opposing views), how much does that make each burro worth?

      Who could possibly afford to adopt even one?

      For each one forever “unwilded” would the BLM budget be reduced by an equivalent amount?

      Like

  10. What McCain should have said is “It’s time that Congress held a hearing to examine the BLM about their bull$hit and make-believe population counts.” Example: BLM “said they counted 1,378 burros on AZ Black Mt.HMA but their documentation (photos) only showed 72 burros! What did we pay four people and a helicopter many days and many dollars for if they only photographed 72 burros? BLM is one of the biggest SCAM artists in the country.
    https://rtfitchauthor.com/…/blm-photo-documents-72-wild…/

     A BLM aerial count of the Gold Butte HMA, NV, in 2007 found 80 adult burros and 3 foals, a 3.75% reproductive rate. Yet BLM applies the same 20% reproduction rate to estimate wild burro populations.
     BLM’s over-inflated reproductive rates used for estimating populations clearly illustrate that there are far less wild horses and burros on the range presently than BLM claims. Population estimates appear to be skewed so as to maximize populations without taking any losses into consideration
    Allocating funds to capture and warehouse wild horses and burros based on unsubstantiated population increases is most certainly fiscally irresponsible. There is strong evidence that the reproduction numbers the BLM applies are fraudulent.
    http://equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/Report_Congress_BLM_WH_B__Program_FY11.pdf

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Also, consider this about game species. They rut. This entry by AZGF about how to find a target Mule Deer to shoot, is eye opening and clearly demonstrates the bias held toward wild burros.
    Hunting Mule Deer
    To be successful the hunter must know the deer’s habits and be able to recognize the signs that bucks are in the area. One sure sign is a “rub”- branch or sapling that has been stripped of its bark by a buck knocking the velvet from its antlers. Later in the fall, as the rut approaches, fresh sign of this antlerwork may appear on larger, harder trees, as restless bucks shape up their fighting skills. An even better sign is an active “scrape”. This is where a buck has pawed the leaves and grass away, exposing a patch of bare earth from one to three feet in diameter. He generously applies his scent and tracks in the scrape, which serves as a signal to does that he is in the area and available. Scrapes also warn other bucks that the territory is taken and won’t be relinquished without a fight. A buck fully caught up in the fever of the rut may have several scrapes which he checks frequently, or he may post just one and stay nearby. A scrape that is being renewed and maintained is a sure sign that a buck will be along sooner or later, and it merits careful consideration on the part of the hunter.

    Like

  12. Minutes of the Meeting of the
    Arizona Game and Fish Commission
    Friday, May 1, 2015
    Saturday, May 2, 2015
    Bullhead City Council Chambers
    1255 Marina Blvd.
    Bullhead City, Arizona 86442
    http://azgfdportal.devaz.gov/PortalImages/files/commission/2015/2015_05_1-2CommMtgMinutes.pdf

    May 1-2, 2015
    Pg 3
    f. Approval of Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Pittsburgh
    Presenter: Amber Munig, Big Game Management Program Supervisor
    The Department requests Commission approval of an MOU to allow the Department to establish a framework for collaboration and cooperation between the Department and the University of Pittsburgh. The Department works with a variety of universities who provide specialized expertise and technical services that support the Department’s Mission and benefit Arizona’s wildlife resources. This MOU would establish formal lines of communication and provide a legal and procedural framework for subsequent collaboration at the project level, both of which
    will help assure the quality and high standards of the Department’s work. The University of Pittsburgh conducts research that has relevance to wildlife management in the U.S. Southwest and has recognized expertise in wildlife research, therefore the University of Pittsburgh represents a valuable research partner. This MOU would establish a working partnership with Regents of the University of Pittsburgh for mutually beneficial research opportunities for the
    common purpose of guiding wildlife management decisions.
    The Department recommends THAT THE COMMISSION VOTE TO APPROVE A
    MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING WITH THE REGENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF
    PITTSBURGH AND TO AUTHORIZE THE DIRECTOR, AS SECRETARY TO THE
    COMMISSION, TO EXECUTE THE AGREEMENT AS APPROVED OR RECOMMENDED
    BY THE OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL.

    g. Approval of El Coronado Ranch Forest Legacy Conservation Easement and All Associated
    Agreements
    Commission Meeting Minutes

    7. Briefing regarding the status of Burro populations in Arizona
    Presenter: Pat Barber, Yuma Regional Supervisor
    Mr. Barber provided the Commission an informational briefing using a PowerPoint presentation regarding the status of burro populations in Arizona. The presentation included photos, maps and data regarding the abundant populations of burros in Arizona, their adverse impacts to critical habitats, and potential adverse effects to native wildlife species. The following information was also provided:

    May 1-2, 2015
    Pg 11
    Director Voyles noted that the burros outside of the HMAs are still protected under the Wild Horse and Burro Act.

    Like

  13. WILDLIFE SERVICES and UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURG

    National Wildlife Research Center Scientists Study Wildlife Contraception
    https://www.aphis.usda.gov/publications/wildlife_damage/2012/nwrc/WS_Research_reproductiv-6.pdf
    Research on the reproductive management of various avian and mammalian species
    that cause damage or threaten public health and safety is a high priority for WS

    Applying Science and Expertise to Wildlife Challenges
    Use of GonaCon on Wild Horses

    In January 2013, GonaCon’s registration was expanded to include its use to
    manage fertility in wild and feral horses and burros

    Experimental Use Permit for GonaCon in Bison

    GonaCon Use in Black-Tailed Prairie Dogs—Management
    of prairie dogs includes toxicants, fumigants, barriers, and
    relocation.

    Major Cooperators:
    UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURG
    Australia’s Invasive Animal
    Cooperative Research Centre
    Colorado State University
    Florida Department of Agriculture
    and Consumer Services
    Florida Power and Light Company
    Innolytics, LLC
    National Park Service
    United Kingdom’s Food and
    Agricultural Research Agency
    U.S. Air Force (Avon Park, Florida)

    Like

  14. Excerpts from an article written by Michael Harris, a graduate of Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley and director of the Wildlife Law Program at Friends of Animals. Before coming to FoA, he was an Associate Professor at the University of Denver

    MY TURN
    http://www.azcentral.com/story/opinion/op-ed/2016/01/29/wild-horses-arizona-salt-river/79315490/

    America’s remaining wild horses are under attack. Federal land managers throughout the western U.S. are under pressure from grazing and mining interests to step-up removal of horses from public lands. Many horse advocates fear that these special interest groups may soon succeed in eradicating wild horses from many areas previously dedicated for their protection.

    Wild horses have enough problems under federal management. For one thing, they are losing the battle with state and local grazing interests. Nationally, the ratio of privately owned cows legally foraging on public lands compared to wild horses is close to 50 to 1. Even in many so-called “Horse Management Areas,” upwards of 80 percent of the available forage is reserved for cattle.

    The last thing these animals need is another reason for the federal government to give more control over them to the states

    While not easy, the real solution to protect wild horses, whether the Salt River herd or any other in the west, is stronger implementation and enforcement of the Wild Horses Act. The goal needs to be the establishment of true zones on public lands where these animals can be free from exploitation and protected from special interests who want to see them gone

    Like

  15. ARIZONA GAME & FISH

    Wild Sheep Foundation Announces Record Attendance, Highest Bid Ever for Arizona Desert Bighorn Sheep Tag at Largest U.S. Conservation and Mountain Hunting Convention
    http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/16/02/p6195047/wild-sheep-foundation-announces-record-attendance-highest-bid-ever-for-

    Non-profit foundation raises more than $6.5 million, including record $380,000 for AZ sheep tag

    “We are extremely excited to see our tag sell so well and thankful for the bidders and their interest in Arizona desert bighorn sheep,” said Amber Munig, Big Game Management Supervisor of the Game Branch Arizona Game & Fish Department.https://www.azgfd.com. “The $380,000 is an all-time record for this tag.

    Like

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