Wild Burros

Wild Burros Die After BLM Utah Stampede

Source: By as published on The Salt Lake Tribune

“Officials said there were no obvious signs of trauma or illness…”

Baby Wild Burros Captured and Imprisoned by the BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Baby Wild Burros Captured and Imprisoned by the BLM ~ photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

The Bureau of Land Management is investigating the deaths of 18 wild burros in southeastern Utah — a majority of which died shortly after being corralled in the spring.

The deaths occurred from April 22 to June 10, according to a BLM news release, amid the more than 225 burros captured from the Sinbad herd near the San Rafael Swell. Fifteen of the deaths happened at the 32-acre private ranch in Axtell, with the other three occurring on the range.

Veterinarians completed initial necropsies on seven of the burros, but they have not released a cause of death, the release states. Officials said there were no obvious signs of trauma or illness in the animals, but they plan to monitor the Sinbad Herd Management Area with an aerial survey of the land.

The Axtell corral is temporarily closed, and no burros will be moved from the area until the investigation is complete.

Categories: Wild Burros

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25 replies »

  1. We may never know the truth, but I’m sure the blame lays at the foot of the caretaker. If the investigation shows that to be true, no one will be held accountable. More than likely, they will crack open some beers and celebrate


  2. This sounds more like poison to me. No obvious signs of trauma out illness….. Is something or someone poisoning the water sources and who would have cause to do so? It’s funny the true Midwest farmers ( Indiana Illinois and other Midwest states value the donkey for its herd protective sense for the cows, calves and sheep). They are becoming more and more popular around here. I learned the protective and security mindedness of the burro when I had some here ( rescues). I never would have known without those 7 lovely creatures. These little animals work hard for their keep….trust me.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Our Government needs to leave these animals and all the wild horses alone they belong to every American they are our Heritage and the land they are on belongs to every American that pays taxes stop the slaughtering of our animals .

    Liked by 1 person

  4. About 827 of our wild burros and about 592 of our wild horses are being held at the Axtell, Utah privately owned holding facility – this facility is owned by Kerry Despain, who just so happens to be the retired Bureau of Land Management head of the Gunnison prison Wild Horse and Burro program.

    Gunnison Prison is where many many wild horses died due to “gelding complications”. Gunnison prison facility had been a death camp for many of our wild horses (per FOIAs) and yet Kerry Despain, the retired head of Gunnison’s BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro program has our burros and now wild horses also on his private property and gets generously paid for it – over $5,000,000 in the last few years.

    Question: Did anyone ever get arrested for the alleged multi-million dollar “mis-placement” of taxpayer money from the Gunnison Prison BLM program? https://ppjg.me/2014/09/06/blm-contractor-gunnison-prison-caught-with-hands-in-the-cookie-jar/

    Question: Did Kerry Despain get the burro holding contract because of his long time Bureau of Land Management connections to Gunnison prison and is this a conflict of interest or preferentialism and if so was this legal?

    Question: Did Kerry Despain get the burro holding contract because of his connection to Utah’s head of BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program?

    Question: Were Gunnison prison inmates allowed to “practice” castrating the wild horses and burros like they have done at other Bureau of Land Management Prison Programs?

    Question: If the Gunnison prison wild horse and burro management had such a high death rate how can we expect that same person will provide good care for our wild burros on his private land?

    If you look at some of the past news articles, it shows the burros on the Despain ranch in a nice pasture … but if you look at google earth you can see that they are actually being held in a feedlot situation – about a mile north of the town of Axtell on the west side of highway 89.

    These wild burros belong to you and me and they already have a home on the range – per the unanimously voted Congressional 1971 Wild Horse Act and where the BLM is required by law to protect them where found on their legal land and protect them from harassment and protect them from capture and protect them from branding and protect them from death.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Will we ever see the end of the killing of our horses and our Burros by BLM? It seems close to 20 years since I discovered that these “people” were running horses off their own land, auctioning them to creeps and abusers all over the country, and running them to death with helicopters. I remember how hooves were run off fouls, and then the foals were shot, and how mares and stallions died or were shot. Nobody will make me think this was a natural death when these Burros died. This is all pure evil, and innocent and helpless horses were hated by Ranchers who wanted that land for cattle; a man in Washington and his son were alleged to want that land for a pipeline in which they had interest, and still yet these Horses and Burros are killed by the BLM. And how can the BLM and our government justify seizing horses off the land to imprison them in horrible pens that have no shelter from the heat and cold? Frankly I have total contempt for the people who are responsible for this torture and killing of beautiful and beloved horses and burros in this country, and I hope they all eventually get what they deserve, like frying in Hell.


  6. These Wild Burros were alive BEFORE BLM captured them.

    In 2013, the National Academy of Sciences raised concerns about the genetic viability of the U.S. Burro population due to its small overall size and small, fragmented herds, concluding, “removing Burros permanently from the range could jeopardize the genetic health of the total population.” Clearly, Burros should not be removed from what is likely to be the only genetically strong burro population left in the U.S.

    Dr. Lori Eggert’s presentation is most certainly cause for alarm:
    Dr. Lori Eggert, University of Missouri – Genetic Diversity
    9 out of 100 wild horse herds looked at are below the critical risk value for genetic diversity.
    Genetic diversity of burro populations well below what you would see in healthy populations.

    BLM Advisory Board meeting Sept 9-11, 2013

    12 burro HMAs with populations between 2 and 49 animals.
    Burro populations do need priority for genetic management.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. is THIS why these Wild Burros were removed? Notice the dates

    JANUARY 7, 2016
    Wild horses & burros being removed for Richfield Tar Sands plan

    “The document goes so far as to say, ‘the management of wild horse and burro herds is not compatible within those portions of commercial tar sands lease areas.’”
    by Grandma Gregg
    The document goes so far as to say, “the management of wild horse and burro herds is not compatible within those portions of commercial tar sands lease areas”.

    How much clearer can it be. They want the wild ones GONE.
    Proof: http://www.riversimulator.org/Resources/BLM/OSTSdeis/OSTSfinal.pdf
    TABLE 3.1.3-1 Wild Horse Herd Management Areas within the Oil Shale and Tar
    Sands Study Area (page 3-167)

    Muddy Creek
    Range Creek

    Piceance-East Douglas

    Little Colorado
    White Mountain
    Salt Wells
    Adobe Town

    [PLUS Herd Areas which are not discussed in this report – such as the West Douglas HA]

    More Richfield tar sands information:

    Click to access UT33-RichfieldFinalPlan.pdf

    Sinbad Wild Burro EA information:

    Click to access Sinbad%20Draft%20EA.pdf


    Notice of Intent To Prepare a Master Leasing Plan, Amend the Resource Management Plans for the Price and Richfield Field Offices, and Prepare an Associated Environmental Assessment, Utah


  8. BLM Completes Sinbad Wild Burro Roundup

    “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


  9. 58–GPS radio collars for wild horses and burros

    Notice Type:
    Award Notice
    Contract Award Date:
    January 15, 2016
    Contract Award Number:
    Contract Award Dollar Amount:
    Contractor Awarded DUNS:
    Contractor Awardee:
    115 PONY DR
    L3Y 7B5
    Added: Mar 16, 2016 10:56 am
    IGF::OT::IGF – GPS radio collars for wild horses and burros
    Contracting Office Address:
    PO BOX 25046
    Point of Contact(s):
    Petway, Vann


  10. Comment from Grandmagregg

    May 7, 2016

    As for the article’s population increase statement [“The herds are increasing at an alarming rate. They are overrunning their own territory.”], I did a little quick math and at the average population increase of 3% annually for burros (what our recent research showed for Twin Peaks burros after factoring in adult and foal mortality) it would take TEN years for an original herd of 100 burros to become a herd of 134 burros. That doesn’t seem like an “alarming rate” to me and with less than a few thousand wild burros left on their legally designated lands in the United States, they are certainly not “overrunning” their territory!

    Liked by 1 person


    Sinbad Wild Burro Gather – Utah (Day 1) (excerpts)
    DATE: 11 April 2016
    LOCATION: Temple Mountain Road (Exit 131) and I-70

    A contract gather crew has been bait trapping animals since early
    March. Approximately 125 burros have been captured to date.

    Some of the burros may have “split ears” from locals going out and lassoing them – this apparently does not happen as much any more.

    There are three helicopter contractors who are approved by the BLM to
    gather wild horses and burros: Sun J Livestock, Cattoor Livestock
    Roundup Company and Sampson Livestock. Sun J has the helicopter
    contract for the Sinbad Burro gather, while Cattoor was doing the bait
    trapping. Cattoor did not continue with the helicopter portion of the
    gather since they had already met their contracted $500k helicopter
    minimum (based on all work performed for the BLM), which means the
    other two companies have priority until they exceed the their $500k

    Early in the day many of the burros escaped before being pushed into the trap and then worked on eluding the contractors with ropes: we were keeping a tally of “cowboys and helicopters” vs. “burros” and the burros were clearly winning. Three of the burros escaped the v-shape of the fencing by jumping the jute and running
    into the hills. A few of us cheered, but then we realized that it just meant
    that they would be hazed again.

    Beyond the Sinbad Burro HMA, Utah also has a 2nd burro HMA named
    Canyonlands. It was last gathered in 1988 when 15-16 burros were
    removed. It has been self-regulating due to drought, coyotes and mountain lions.


    Headed to Axtell.



      Sinbad Wild Burro Gather – Utah (Day 1)
      DATE: 11 April 2016
      LOCATION: Temple Mountain Road (Exit 131) and I-70

      This gather would probably not have happened this year if it were not for
      the studies they want to conduct

      A second burro herd (name?) in Arizona has been identified as a potential
      second study herd – the EA is being done.


    • I meant to ask this when I first saw the “split-ear” comment. Exactly what do the “locals” DO to these burros when they rope them?????????? What would be the point (as if there is any) to “splitting” their ears!!!


      • Maggie, that’s one of the things that is done to Burros…including captured Wild Burros. They are used for Burro Roping…yet another ugly act that is perpetrated upon them. It’s possible that their ears are split by the ropes?

        Wild Burro Protection League



    Sinbad Wild Burro Gather – Utah (Day 2) (excerpts)
    DATE: 12 April 2016
    LOCATION: Temple Mountain Road (Exit 131) and I-70

    Early in the day one of the helicopter pushes was foiled at the last minute by
    the bucking of a horse that was being ridden to chase the burros past the gate
    of the pen. The three burros escaped up the hill.

    Each helicopter bills at $800 per hour! I asked if BLM would get a discount if
    the work ended prior to the end of the contracted period, and was told they
    would not.

    One of the more exciting moments of the day was when a burro escaped from
    the jaws of the trap at the last second and ran uphill through the rocks and
    trees. A few cowboys on horses took off in hot pursuit and one unlucky guy
    got his rope around the burro’s neck and body and was just about to dally it
    when his horse ran under a low hanging branch. The cowboy was thrown to
    the grown, the burro kept running (uninjured) and the unencumbered horse
    ran back down the hill. The others cowboys up the pieces and headed over the
    hill to find the burro but came back with just the shucked rope instead.


    • Honestly – these “cowboys” – are they 12? Have they never ridden or roped before? This sounds more like the keystone cops. On the other hand – it sure does prove the little burros are a lot smarter than the humans!



    Sinbad Wild Burro Gather -Utah (Day 3) (excerpts)
    DATE: 13 April 2016
    LOCATION: Temple Mountain Road (Exit 131) and I-70

    19 burros were gathered today. They were combined with yesterday’s 14
    and shipped by trailer to the Axtell holding facility.

    The jacks will have GPS trackers woven into their manes since they don’t do as well
    with collars. (Note: As I write this the BLM Advisory Board meeting is
    live streaming. I just heard one of the USGS scientists mention that only
    the jennies will be tracked. I’m not sure if he is right, or just didn’t
    mention the jacks.)

    The gathered burros were initially taken to the on-site temporary corrals.
    (Photos courtesy of Gus Warr of the BLM.)
    Other pictures:


  14. I would not be surprised if they simply forgot to feed them or if they simply fed them cattle food laced with monensin, so as to save as much as possible of food (don’t forget this Axtell ranch thing is a big-buck business, not a charity).


  15. I am horrified, furious and in mourning over this latest decimation of one of the only genetically viable — and unique – wild burro herds. I commented on the Sinbad EA, the BLM’s proposed bogus research and future population modeling that would be based on hyped, compensatory reproduction rates resulting from herd distress over the roundups. Deaths are inevitable when burros are rounded up, and more will occur with collaring. I thought there should have been a lawsuit over the EA and offered to help. There wasn’t one.
    What advocates could do now is gather as much info as possible from BLM Price Field Office WB specialist Mike Tweddell, incite continued press coverage, then flood the Price F.O. with calls. BLM likes to claim that there’s no public uproar over burros. Let’s see about that.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Please learn more about the stress of capture and removal from their homes and families in these two downloadable documents. Dr. Bruce Nock gives some valuable insight in his two articles, “Wild Horses: The Stress of Captivity”, expert comments on the deaths and injuries of wild horses which occurred during the recent wild horse gathers conducted by the BLM and “Menopause and Wild Horse Management”, a commentary on the BLM’s announcement it may spay wild mares before returning them to the open range as a method of population control.


  17. Here is the current BLM authorized vet for the Axtell WH&B holding facility – contact their office and ask.
    You and I just agreed to pay/paid this vet $111,685.
    Vendor Name
    12755 N 8500 E
    ZIP Code
    Effective Date
    Current Completion Date
    Ultimate Completion Date


    • I looked this up on Google Earth and it is appalling to see the bleak, bare pens these animals are imprisoned in – sterile and uninteresting, no shade or rocks or anything but flat manure-laden earth, but within sight and smell of a running river. The town appears to be very small and down on its heels.

      It is very suspicious how these deaths mimic those in Scott City KS when all those mares died in a feedlot which formerly housed cattle and which still contained Bison, and that necropsies were done quickly but the results never made public. Symptoms sounded suspiciously like poisoning to me but were written off as “stress” and problems adjusting to new feed (perhaps adjusting to toxic feed was not achievable for already stressed horses?).

      Why we keep paying for this self-perpetuating desecration of wildlife is beyond all understanding.


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