Burro problems draw interest of Arizona Game and Fish

KINGMAN - The Arizona Game and Fish Commission decided to weigh in on the burro population issue that is affecting not only Mohave County, but areas all over the state.

The resolution that was adopted by the five-person commission states, "The Arizona Game & Fish Commission recognizes there is an extreme overpopulation of burros in Arizona that negatively impacts wildlife, wildlife habitat and public safety."

The commission noted that under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971, there should be no more than 1,676 burros in Arizona. The Bureau of Land Management, which is legally required to maintain burros at an appropriate management level, estimates there are currently 4,860 burros in Arizona. It is estimated in the Black Mountains alone, the burro population is estimated to be three times the authorized level.

The commission said that the BLM is hampered by a lack of funding and support from the agency's administration at the national level.

The commission also stated that the overpopulation of burros negatively affects habitat relied upon by bighorn sheep, mule deer, Gambel's quail, sensitive migratory songbirds and other wildlife species that have evolved and live in the desert.

Game and Fish noted that burros consume native plants and grasses down to the roots, preventing them from growing back.

Burros are also known to strip bark off of native plants, including willows and cacti.

Burros also displace native wildlife from their home territories and wander onto heavily traveled roadways, which have resulted in multiple burro-vehicle crashes.

The resolution further states, "The Arizona Game & Fish Commission requests that the federal government immediately initiate all tools to control excessive populations of feral burros and formulate and implement a plan to reduce adverse impacts to wildlife habitat and public safety."