Column | Take more burros
I read with interest a story in the Kingman Miner on Aug. 7 entitled “BLM to gather Black Mountain Burros.”
It appears that the Bureau of Land Management has finally agreed that the Authorized Management Level (AML) of burros that was set in 1996 by an interdisciplinary group (Black Mountain Ecosystem Management Team) of which I was a part, has been greatly exceeded!
The article stated that: “The estimated wild burro population in the Black Mountain HMA is more than 2,200 – nearly four times greater than the target population of 478 …”
The article also stated that the BLM is proposing to remove “approximately 1,000 wild burros in September 2020.”
Wow, that sounds great until you realize that it will still leave over 1,200 burros out there. That’s still more than double the authorized management level for burros in the Black Mountains. And by the BLM’s own admission, the burro population can double itself every five years, so what is being proposed is merely a “Band-Aid” approach to what really needs to be done in the Black Mountains. Remove the burro numbers down to AML!
Burros are feral exotics, and destroy the fragile desert ecosystem which makes up the Black Mountains. They pose a danger to the public when struck by motor vehicles in Mohave County. While burros are cute, cuddly, fuzzy little guys when young, they grow up fast and reproduce at an alarming rate.
The Black Mountain are home to the largest desert bighorn sheep population in Arizona. These magnificent animals are native and have lived there for thousands of years. They were there long before the burros were turned loose or escaped from miners and even the military. Mule deer are also native to this arid landscape.
We are in a prolonged drought. The ecosystem is being damaged daily by the feral burros.
The BLM is charged with managing these animals under the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act.
Taking 1,000 burros off the landscape looks nice on paper, but why not take about 1,722 of them and get the numbers down to where it was agreed to be when the Black Mountain Ecosystem Plan was signed in 1996?
(Don Martin is a resident of Kingman, and an outdoors writer for the Miner.)