Wild Burros

THE TRUTH #20 – National Park Service gives Mark Meyers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue all of the wild burros in Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve

Wild Horse Freedom Federation issues THE TRUTH to share Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents and information with the public.  Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

THE TRUTH #20 – National Park Service gives Mark Meyers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue all of the wild burros in Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve.

Wild horses and burros on National Park Service lands fell through the cracks on being protected when the Wild Free-Roaming Horses & Burros Act of 1971 was passed.

The National Park Service (NPS) is not paying Mark Meyers of Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR) to remove all of the wild burros from Death Valley National Park and the Mojave National Preserve over the next 5 years.  NPS seems to just be signing a Memorandum of Understanding to give Mark Meyers/Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue an estimated 2,500 wild burros, the last remaining wild burros in this Park and Preserve, to do with as he will.  Mark Meyers has to come up with about $5 million to pay for this project.

NPS may have bypassed the U.S. Government’s contracting bidding process open to the public by just giving away the wild burros to Mark Meyers/Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue and only signing a Memorandum of Understanding.  However, in a 10/17/2017 email, Debra Hughson of NPS notes (in talking about Mark Meyers/Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue) “They appear to be worried about investing in this project and then us having someone come in and under cut them out of the process or directly competing with them.” 

Josh Hoines of the NPS initially contacted Mark Meyers about this project, but there was no mention in any of the FOIA records we received about any other burro rescue groups being contacted.

A rough draft of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is below, but it seems that this is still under review by the NPS legal team and is NOT a final version.  This is being posted so that the public can be aware of what is being considered at this point.

This MOU states “Upon capture, the NPS relinquishes any rights to the feral burros.”

Per this version of the MOU, Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue “Maintains detailed records of animals collected from the Park and Preserve.”  However, unless PVDR gives these records to the NPS, the detailed records, including the exact number of wild burros that are captured and removed, will not be available to the public with the Freedom of Information Act.

The bottom line is that the NPS is relinquishing any rights upon capture, and these burros become the property of PVDR.  The public will never have accountability regarding what happens to these wild burros down the line.

In an Aug. 3, 2017 email from Mark Meyers to Josh Hoines of NPS, Meyers states “Also, I have been contacted by a person that is interested in underwriting a large part of this project.  More details to follow.”

The big question about this is who would donate almost $5 million for about 2,500 wild burros, and more importantly, why?

Read the rest of this article and see the FOIA documents HERE.


Be sure to subscribe HERE to Wild Horse Freedom Federation, so that you can receive email alerts.

Read all of THE TRUTH and see other FOIA documentation HERE.

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15 replies »

  1. Is everyone aware of the Chinese practice of slaughtering donkeys for the gel under their skins? It is used to make ‘ejiao’ and millions of donkeys have been cruelly slaughtered for this ‘miracle’ skin cream in China. I have a feeling that the donkeys being handed over to this sanctuary could end up sold for this purpose. I have heard that some sanctuaries have been contacted by someone that they suspected was on this disgusting trade. The NPS needs to be made to follow the rules and open up bidding to all Americans, and we all need to be watchful. Several countries have banned the export of donkeys because their numbers are being decimated…and all for this cream and Chinese vanity.


    • I have heard of this rescue before – nothing bad. I would be afraid that opening up bidding to other parties might cause the exact effect you are worried about. Considering the profit being made by this “miracle” product bringing bidders in on this could put it out of this sanctuary’s ability to save them. Thats just my opinion, tho.


      • I have heard very negative rumors about this rescue group – mainly no accountability.
        Per the documents, the burros will have no accountability after being captured and in the possession of this rescue?
        Where do we think they are going to get the ~$5,000,000 ?
        From a donkey-skin wholesale broker?


      • GG You obviously have more information on this group than I do. I was too quick to jump right in there & comment. Looking at the documents – does seem suspicious that someone has anted up five million dollars to save these supposedly “feral” donkeys. Would think if this was on the up & up , they might list the benefactor. Seems like these animals have been able to survive in these areas for years – why the push right now?


  2. The few remaining Wild Burros in the United States SHOULD be on the Endangered Species list:

    Dr. Lori Eggert, University of Missouri – Genetic Diversity
    BLM Advisory Board meeting Sept 9-11, 2013

    Genetic diversity of burro populations well below what you would see in healthy populations.

    12 burro HMAs with populations between 2 and 49 animals.
    Burro populations do need priority for genetic management.
    Maintenance of genetic diversity over time is going to require higher population size than even the largest HMA now has.


    Direct Reduction

    It was the brutally cruel and inhumane treatment of wild horses through a host of barbaric “solutions” such as mustanging, poisoning water holes, driving them off cliffs, and the bloody road to slaughter that sparked public protest to end this ugly historical chapter of the American West.

    While supporters of the Act have often rallied against the hidden illegal slaughter and treatment of our now supposedly protected equines, the killing of America’s wild burros through “direct reductions programs” have often continued unabated through government agencies armed with the exclusively reserved right to put a bullet in our burros were they stood.

    Enter National Park Service (NPS), established through the 1916 Organic Act under the mandate “to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wildlife therein and to provide for the enjoyment of the same in such a manner as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations” – that use to cover wild horses and burros as evidenced by the honor they bestowed on the wild burros of the Grand Canyon and elsewhere across the Nation.

    Yet new policies-NOT LAWS-aimed at promoting “other agendas” began to be instituted, until finally, the Secretary of the Interior successfully shirked their charge of protecting wild horses and burros and their habitat through a total reversal that allowed NATIONAL PARK SERVICE and other agencies to literally shoot them by the thousands if they had the unfortunate luck to reside on the wrong side of the jurisdictional tracks.

    It began, at least as far as we know of, with the National Park Services plan to shoot the 577 wild burros then living within the Grand Canyon that the Fund for Animals halted through negotiating their amazing airlift rescues.

    Since 1975, the SIERRA CLUB has also endorses the reductions of wild burros and horses and has developed an extensive policy regarding their “management” that includes: eliminating them from all national parks and monuments, all areas protected by the Antiquities Act, all federal and state lands where rare, endangered, threatened, or endemic species of flora or fauna exist, national recreation areas as well as “eliminating them from key wildlife habitat, including desert bighorn habitat of the American Southwest, from designated natural areas” and supports the “carefully regulated numbers to minimize conflict with wildlife, livestock, and other range values.”

    Liked by 1 person


    Critically Endangered

    Needless to say, these “authoritative opinions” always finds wild burros a great threat to any species and habitat; no matter how many centuries wild burro herds have been documented in the area, totally naturalized and co-existing in harmony within those ecosystems.

    In July 2000, Patricia Moehlman, Chairwoman of the Species Survival Commission and Equid Specialist for the World Conservation Union appealed to BLM to initiate more studies of our American wild asses in efforts to obtain relevant information for critically endangered asses throughout the world.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Seems horses and burros are treated like trash. Mere paper work. Stamped done. Are these people human beings with a respect for living breathing fellow inhabitants of what we call Earth. Stop now and see a shrink.

    Liked by 1 person

    Two More Cases of Misconduct by High-Level Officials Carry Little Consequence
    Posted on Jul 03, 2017

    Embezzlement, repeated violations and other malfeasance appear to be no career impediment for senior National Park Service officials, contends Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). The group points to two recent personnel moves where a regional director and a park superintendent were either kicked upstairs or fully restored by NPS leadership following findings of misconduct, thus continuing a pattern of unaccountability for NPS managers.


    Liked by 1 person

    • 2006
      The Last Burros of the Mojave Desert: A Christmas Story that Needs A Happy Ending

      By Deanne Stillman

      The time has come to speak of the animals in attendance at the nativity, especially the burro, the stubborn, steadfast, and hardy little four-legged who has served us well through the ages, with barely a tip of the hat in the annals. It was a burro that carried Mary and Joseph to the stable where Christ was born, a burro that carried Christ into Jerusalem for one of his last acts, a burro that accompanied his followers into other empires and across time, finally helping trappers, prospectors, and soldiers make their way into the Old Testament scenery of the American West. Since then his descendants have lived in the desert, fending off predators, joy riders with guns, and government round-ups. But now the burros’ time in the Mojave may be coming to an end, because of a federal policy of “zeroing out” the herds in areas where other critters and half-baked attempts to manage water that has already been mismanaged have taken precedence.

      “They are destroying our Western heritage,” says Jennifer Foster, a 23-year resident of Hesperia near the preserve. Jennifer and her husband Ken are two of a small group of high-desert locals who are planning a legal action to stop this impending and most final act. At a recent BLM public comments meeting in Barstow, Mojave native Bobby Parker asked preserve officials if they knew of any studies that showed how the desert tortoise was faring since burro removal had been amped up in the region, given the fact that the burro is said to have a negative impact on the endangered species and that’s one of the reasons it’s being removed. No one could answer the question. (And by the way, the tortoise is one of my totems and I’m all in favor if its protection. But the Mojave is one vast creche indeed, with plenty of room at the inn for all manner of creatures, especially when water sources aren’t blocked off).
      A few months ago, Sen. Dianne Feinstein wrote a letter to the Interior Department, suggesting that when she lobbied for the Desert Protection Act which passed in 1994, she DIDN’T INTEND FOR ALL BURSROS TO BE ELIMINATED from the Mojave. The letter is posted here, along with information about other



      • The Last Burros of the Mojave Desert: A Christmas Story that Needs A Happy Ending

        By Deanne Stillman

        Burros have much to tell us, as Diana Chontos says. In 2000, she rescued a burro from Death Valley and called him Yaqui. “He was respected by all of the younger jacks- the male burros – and they didn’t chase him from food or water. He loved to be brushed and hugged. But one day he began to grow weak and could no longer get up from his naps without being helped and towards the end we rigged a blanket for shade and called a vet to ease his passing. One by one all 32 jacks came by and touched him some place on his body, then went back to their hay. Shortly after the last jack paid his respects, Yaqui took a deep breath and died.” He was 50 years old, the vet said, the oldest equine he had ever seen. Had he helped a miner named Pegleg Pete find water? Maybe he had once led a lost pilgrim back to the trail. Or maybe he just lived in the Mojave Desert – for a long time, until he had to go.



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