BLM seeks burro input

Wild burros roam the desert.

Mark Terrell/Google Images

Wild burros roam the desert.

KINGMAN – A study to find ways to control the burro population in Mohave County needs the public’s help.

The Bureau of Land Management’s Kingman Field Office is seeking public input on the environmental assessment of a fertility management pilot program proposed by the Humane Society of the United States.

Approximately 5,000 wild burros currently roam public lands in Arizona. The BLM protects and tries to manage wild horses and burros under the authority of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 to ensure that healthy herds thrive on healthy rangelands. Because burros have virtually no natural predators, their herd sizes can double nearly every four years.

The HSUS in cooperation with the BLM proposes to treat female burros in the Black Mountain Herd Management Area with the immunocontraceptive vaccine Porcine Zona Pellucida (PZP), also known as ZonaStat-H PZP.

“This is an attempt to reduce the amount of burro reproduction,” said Lee Tucker, BLM Public Affairs Officer for Colorado River District. “This will test the feasibility and economics to see if it works on a larger scale.”

The HSUS’s focus for this project is to assess whether booster doses of ZonaStat-H PZP could be applied by darting the animals in a safe, effective, and economical manner as one method of reducing reproduction rates of wild and free roaming burros.

The BLM is looking for outside input on how to approach the population problem and improve the study from angles they may not have thought of yet.

“’Don’t do it’ or ‘this is great’ doesn’t help the program in any way,” Tucker said.

The BLM is accepting informational and substantive comments through Aug. 15. The comments need to either question with reasonable basis the accuracy of information or present new information relevant to the analysis. Comments that aren’t considered practical, simply in favor or against the project or are emotional in nature aren’t helpful.

The BLM does not take into consideration the amount of comments on one particular issue.

“We’re looking for quality, not quantity,” Tucker said.

Written comments may be mailed or delivered to the Bureau of Land Management, Kingman Field Office located at 2755 Mission Blvd. All comments will be made available to the public.

The environmental assessment titled DOI BLM-AZ-C010-2016-0004, as well as online comment submissions are available on the BLM ePlanning portal at: http://bit.ly/BLM-AZ-KFO-WildBurro

A printed copy is available for public review during business hours at the Kingman Field Office.