BLM Completes Sinbad Wild Burro Roundup

By STEVE CHRISTENSEN as published on the Sun Advocate

“The BLM and the news article, below, failed to include the tragic details of the BLM fiasco that resulted from implementing radio collar research on wild horses in Nevada in the 1980s In the 1980s similar so-called “research” was done on wild horses with devastating results including collars being embedded into the wild horses’ flesh and some ultimate deaths caused by this collaring procedure. Collars were first fitted in the fall of 1986, and problems were not discovered until the spring of 1987. In some cases, the horse grew into the collar material, so that the collar became embedded in the animal’s neck. In other cases, the collar abraded the skin under the neck where the radio unit was attached, causing an open sore that subsequently became infected. Loose collars rode up on the animals’ necks and over their foreheads, causing sores on the ears. “The wounds caused by tight collars were unquestionably grim in appearance.” One 25-year-old mare died at Stone Cabin after being darted to treat a tight collar. A stallion died when it fell off a cliff after being darted to “adjust” its “research” collar. Other animals with collars were found dead. One had a collar embedded in its neck. Another animal was found dead 12 days after she had been darted but failed to succumb. The research team discovered an additional 21 collared horses that were found dead before August 1988. The summary report states, ‘There is no doubt that some of the collared animals suffered large and painful wounds.’

Collaring wild horses and burros is dangerous and inhumane treatment. Any knowledgeable equine owner or manager knows to never leave a halter even on a domestic horse or burro in a controlled environment, let alone a wild horse or wild burro. Cruelty to animals, also called animal abuse or animal neglect, is the intentional infliction by humans of suffering or harm upon any non-human animal, for purposes other than self-defense or survival.” ~ Grandma Gregg


“The Abuse and Inhumane treatment is staggering…”

The Sinbad Burro roundup is over. In all, 236 burros were captured and transported to Axtell where they were sorted and DNA samples taken.

BLM captured Wild Burros at Palomino Valley ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

BLM captured Wild Burros at Palomino Valley ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Then 103 were returned to the desert, half jacks (male) and half jennies (female). Burros of all ages were returned. The other 133 burros will be available for adoption at the Axtell facility. An adoption application can be picked up at the Price Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office.

BLM Range Specialist Michael Tweddell estimates there were about 20 burros that were not caught. That will put the total herd left in the San Rafael area at about 120 animals.

Radio collars were installed on 30 jennies. That will allow them to be followed and monitored to better understand habits and movement.

Two methods were used to trap the burros. About 125 were trapped using a baited corral. Grain and water were placed in the corral and the animals could come and go for five days. At the end of five days the gates closed automatically. Those burros were loaded in a truck and the bait was again set.

About 110 were caught using helicopters, which herded the burros into a corral. It was necessary to rope some of the more obstinate animals. Tweddell explained that burros, unlike horses, will settle down when corralled. They are much easier to deal with than horses.

DNA will be compared to samples taken in the 1990s. That will tell management people about things such as in-breeding.

Burros have been around a long time, but they aren’t indigenous to North America. Columbus may have brought the first donkeys (just another name for burro) here in the late 15th century on his second trip to the New World. The Spanish Conquistadors used donkeys extensively in the 16th century as they explored the American West.

Later burros were used by miners who were looking for uranium and minerals that would make them rich. It didn’t. The Sinbad burros are probably descendants of donkeys brought to the area by those miners in the 1920s.

Burros adapted to the desert existence and flourished. There are now thousands of wild burros roaming the American West in six states. Besides Utah, they can be found in Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Oregon, and California.

The herds are increasing at an alarming rate. They are overrunning their own territory.

They are remarkably adapted to such a harsh environment. They are said to be able to tolerate water loss of as much as 30 percent of their body weight and can replenish it in only five minutes of drinking. Humans require medical attention if they lose as little as 10 percent of their body weight rehydration can take more than a day of intermittent drinking to recover.

Nevertheless, water still determines where burros live.

Ranchers don’t necessarily like burros. Burros eat the same thing cows eat. Burros also don’t respect the water trucked in for cows. It’s just drinking water to them. So, in reality, ranchers are helping burros by providing a source of water. Some ranchers grit their teeth when they say that.

Burros and wild horses are protected under The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.Basically the law says burros and horses are part of the history of the west and are protected.

Harsh penalties, including prison sentences, await people who violate the law.