Number of burros in Black Mountains a 'crisis'

A herd of wild burros near Oatman. (Photo by Ken Lund/courtesy of the Kingman Daily Miner)

A herd of wild burros near Oatman. (Photo by Ken Lund/courtesy of the Kingman Daily Miner)

KINGMAN – The issue of overpopulation of burros in the Black Mountain herd management area is nothing new, but it has come up again in recent weeks by Mohave County Board of Supervisors’ Chairman Hildy Angius during one of the board’s regular meetings.

Angius called the situation a “crisis” and the conditions of burros as “inhumane.”

According to Angius, who participated in the Free Roaming Equid and Ecosystem Sustainability Summit in Reno, Nevada in late May, the Black Mountains area can sustain less than 500 burros of 2,000 that call the area home.

“Every single herd management area in the west is overpopulated,” Angius said. “Sometime as much as 5000%.”

With the fast reproduction rate among the animals, the Bureau of Land Management is not able to control the situation, even with the fertility control and adoption programs. Currently, BLM pays individuals $1,000 to adopt a wild horse or burro.

Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 ties everybody’s hands, Angius said, and takes a lot of BLM’s budget. While activists in Washington D.C. block any type of change to the act, which guarantees wild horses and burros certain rights within the herd management areas, the animals’ situation is getting worse and worse. They overtake the land, harming other species and make competing for water even harder.

“The animals are starving and dying from dehydration,” Angius said. “This is why we see them coming down from the mountains to Bullhead City, and at times being hit by a car and die.”

Angius said she spoke with Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Prescott, and there are congressional hearings promised for this summer and “a large appropriation on the table.”

“The irritating thing for me,” she added, “is that this problem can be solved quickly, and the government can actually make money, instead of spending hundreds of millions they are allocating now on feeding and warehousing these animals.”

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