PHOENIX – The Bureau of Land Management is offering a reward after three female burros were found shot to death just south of Lake Pleasant.
According to officials, the three wild burros were intentionally killed in the Morgan City Wash. Two burros were shot in the head, one was shot in the stomach.
The animals were discovered by a citizen in late May. The decomposing bodies of the three burros were located on private land that falls within the BLM’s Lake Pleasant Herd Management Area.
Wild burros are protected from killing or harassment per the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact BLM at 800-637-9152. Calls are confidential. A $2,500 reward is being offered if information leads to an arrest or conviction.
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Mohave County District Supervisor Steve Moss is proposing hunting licenses to offset the over-abundant burro population in the area.
The Bureau of Land Management estimates there are between 1,400 and 1,800 burros in Mohave County, and supervisors said they want to see that number reduced to 817. This is still well above BLM’s recommendation of 478 burros for the region.
The proposal is on the agenda for Tuesday’s county supervisor meeting, but Moss said it was placed as a way to spark a reaction from the BLM.
“No one truly wants to hunt Burros, including the board of supervisors. And even if we did, neither the local nor state government has the power to issue permits,” Moss’s office said in a statement. “What we want is the BLM to come up with a solution, regardless of what it might be. We are hoping that the ‘shock’ value of the agenda item will motivate the BLM to direct the funding required towards adoption, sterilization, removal and relocation, fencing, etc. programs.”
Moss said if the BLM does not take long-term action to control the burro population, the county will pursue legal action against the Bureau for not carrying out its statutory duties outlined in The Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
“With that law, the federal government tied our hands as far as what we could do to control the burro population and gave the authority over to the BLM,” Moss said. “The legislation says it’s the BLM’s responsibility to control the burro herds but they’ve broken that promise and they’re not taking care of it.”
BLM Public Affairs Specialist Jayson Barangan said efforts to manage burro numbers have already been enacted, but it takes time to find the right solution.
“The situation [in Mohave County] has had our attention for a while and I think that with our toolkit and with our partnerships we’re trying to find a balanced approach to manage these animals,” Barangan said.
The BLM routinely rounds up wild burros for its Adopt a Wild Horse or Burro Program, and is currently conducting an environmental analysis to study the feasibility of antifertility inoculations.
“We’re working with some partners on a trial run on some fertility treatments of animals, but that hasn’t been set in stone yet,” Barangan said.
Still, Moss remains unimpressed with the BLM’s “token efforts” to control the burro population in the wake of numerous motorcycle and vehicle accidents involving burros.
“It’s only a matter of time until a burro goes through someone’s windshield and kills a family,” Moss said.
The BLM has placed fencing along Mohave County highways to dissuade burros from wandering into traffic, but the county still has the largest burro herd in the U.S., which is running out of space to roam.
“There is plenty of BLM land they can relocate the burros to,” Moss said. “I hope the BLM does that, or anything else, to get the local numbers under control as the current population is out of whack from what the habitat can support and is threatening public safety as the numbers are forcing the Burros to expand their range into Bullhead City and occupied subdivisions.”