Missing burros found alive but with burns after Custer Park fire

Source:  Twin Cities Pioneer Press

Burros in Custer State Park prior to a late season wildfire that injured a number of them. (Kobee Stalder/Custer State Park via AP)

Nine burros that are a favorite of visitors to South Dakota’s Custer State Park have been burned in a wildfire and it’s not known if all of them will survive, a park official said Saturday.

The park reported Saturday morning that all nine burros had been found — a day after three of them were reported missing and feared dead in the wildfire that has consumed more than 84 square miles (218 square kilometers). But all nine were burned and are being treated by a veterinarian. Some were not injured as badly as others, but their chances of survival and the severity of their injuries might not be known for some time, said park visitor services program manager Kobee Stalder.

“It’s a very sensitive situation at the moment,” Stalder said. “We’re treating them and we are trying to do everything we can to help them, and it’s kind of a waiting game.”

Stadler said the burros are getting antibiotics and pain medication, as well as food and water.

The burro herd was affected by the fire more than any other herd in the park. By Friday, the majority of the park’s popular bison herd, which numbers about 860, had been located and appeared to be doing fine. The majority of elk herds were also found and pronghorn antelope are now starting to come out of the woods and have been seen grazing, Stadler said.

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