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Wild burros are a problem in northwest Arizona, and the Bureau of Land Management wants your input

By Monica Navarro, Ron Dungan
Published: Wednesday, September 13, 2023 - 11:51am
Updated: Wednesday, September 20, 2023 - 5:13pm

Burro sign, oatman
(Photo by Stina Sieg - KJZZ)
In many rural spots in Arizona, including on the road to Oatman, expect signs cautioning motorists about burros for many years to come.

The Bureau of Land Management is seeking public comment to deal with the growing population of wild burros in northwest Arizona.

In a press release, BLM announced a 30-day comment period allowing the public to review an environmental assessment that will manage excess wild burros living in the Three Rivers Complex, south of Kingman.

The assessment explores four alternatives, as well as a no-action alternative. Additionally, patrons can see the potential consequences each alternative has.

The plan comes as a result of the soaring burro population, which has risen to about 2,300 — nearly four times the appropriate management level.

If the public decides to remove burros from the site, Kingman Field Manager Amanda Dodson says burros removed “will be humanely placed in good homes.”

The BLM says that managing burros and wild horses on public lands can be difficult, because the law protects them from hunting, and they have few natural predators.

If left unchecked, a herd size can double in four or five years. Phillip Cooley of the BLM says that the agency must balance both the animals and range health.

"We’ve got a situation in western Arizona where the current burro population is exceeding the capacity of the land that’s been allocated for the animals," he said.

The agency plans to use fertility control and an adoption program that places the animals in private homes.

"We take our responsibility for managing both of those very seriously and really do try to do the best for both the animals and the rangelands that they depend on to live," Cooley said.

The public has until Oct. 11 to comment.

Sustainability Environment