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Other animals that benefit from burros wells include some Desert Bighorn Sheep and Mule Deer
Wild burros digging wells
A Critical Analysis of the National Status of Wild Burros on Public Lands 2006 C.R. MacDonald
Dr. Lori Eggert, University of Missouri – Genetic Diversity
BLM Advisory Board meeting Sept 9-11, 2013
Genetic diversity of burro populations well below what you would see in healthy populations.
12 burro HMAs with populations between 2 and 49 animals.
Burro populations do need priority for genetic management.
Maintenance of genetic diversity over time is going to require higher population size than even the largest HMA now has.
Wild Burros of the West
Instead of Burros, get rid of the stupid human donkeys who suggested the idea.
This photo is Elegance Simplicity that stands out.. It’s human nature to see complex things as better, but complexity creates confusion, simplicity focus.Hand in hand with truthfulness, simplicity shows elegance. a world where complexity & extravagance is a norm; Elegance Simplicity stands out. #SaveAmericaWildBurros
From PEER (Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)
WATER RUSTLING FROM DEATH VALLEY CHARGED
Call for Investigation of Allegedly Illegal Diversion of Park Water for a Mine
Posted on Jun 27, 2019
The National Park Service illegally approved diversion of a desert spring for a mine outside the park to accommodate “the current administration’s priorities,” according to a complaint filed today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). At stake is Sourdough Springs that feeds an oasis for vegetation and wildlife in forbidding Death Valley National Park, the largest area of the national park system in the U.S. outside of Alaska.
On March 15, 2019, the National Park Service (NPS) signed off on using Sourdough Springs water to support the Keystone Mine with a Finding of No Significant Impact in violation of law. Emails obtained by PEER through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show NPS knowingly gave improper approval. In one e-mail dated October 3, 2017 the NPS Washington Office in Denver (Geological Resources Division (GRD)) advised Death Valley National Park officials to accept the Bush Mining Company (BMC) claims despite not meeting requirements:
“I know that BMC’s letter does not come close to a real plan, but given the current administration’s priorities, I think we should just accept it as a proposed plan and move on.”
In a complaint filed today with the Interior’s Department of Inspector General, PEER charged that NPS went ahead and acquiesced to the diversion even though the mining claims are likely invalid and NPS declined to request a validity examination on those claims. In addition, the mine operator installed an unapproved surface PVC water line from Sourdough Springs in early 2016.
“Disturbingly, the Park Service took illegal actions in this case not because they were ordered to but because they feared they might be,” stated Pacific PEER Director Je
Why kill? The contraceptive PZP will effectively and humanely control the burro population: “he agency should, however, return a significant number of the horses back to their range on public lands. With the proper use of PZP, their population can be kept in check.” (https://awionline.org/press-releases/blm-drops-wild-horse-sterilization-experiments-plans-return-some-horses-burros-range)
Again mankinds interference and Eco system goes out of whack….im in favour of “Re -Wilding” which is what its called in Uk but we need to consider when introducing a species into the area what affect it might have….Everything nearly her eon planet Earth is out of balance-its reflection of ourselves and whats happening at this point in time. THe immediate reaction unfortuantly is to kill the animals….where has its natural predetor gone? i see here coyotes have been removed….phew….why do we have to interfere? I read here and agree maybe mankind should be eliminated…..i think nature would then be fine if we were taken out of the picture….why do we need these game parks for hunting because it makes $$$$$$$$$$$$…its usually some kind of monetary stuff involved.
Every time I read someone observing that maybe the planet would be so much better off if humans were eliminated, that WE are the problem, I have the same thought: Great! You go first! Get the ball rolling. If you kill yourself, that would at least prove you are sincere, that you are really committed to your point of view. Maybe you will inspire others. But at least make it an individual commitment. Or will there be a time when governments carry out mass killings, for the sake of the Earth, don’t you know. As for myself, I want to live.
Can we get a fact check on this idea of “non-native” species? E. Africanos or not… The entire equus genus *originated* in the Americas. Why is it *any* surprise that the plants they evolved with are benefitting from them being there?
And for gods sakes, do we really not know what happened to Grand Canyon National Park? They removed the coyotes, then donkeys because their populations started to boom, and the land further degraded.
Here’s a hint: stop disrupting the ecosystem by removing the apex predators and stop being confused when the herbivorous megafauna overgraze and boom in population because you removed the natural predator and stop thinking that the problem is the donkeys when the problem is that people don’t fix their own fuck ups because they’re too busy trying to convince themselves that they were right as the land deteriorates.
Maybe conservationists need to take a break and let the ecorestorationists take a crack at it. Here’s a hint: look at the Pleistocene fossils of the area, and fill in what’s missing, in the proportions that they are missing.
This is not rocket surgery. The answer is already laid out.
you can dig better wells with dynamite.
Now we just need to get the dynamite to clear the always encroaching vegetation: ““Land managers there go and manually remove wild vegetation, doing exactly what the burros were doing for free.”
Export 1/3 of the burro population to Burro Mountain, New Mexico just 20 miles southwest of Silver City , New Mexico.
Maybe we can import some lions and tigers a dozen or 2 to hunt and kill and eat some of the burros keeping their population in check. And/or send a hundred or so into Montana and Alaska to be preyed upon by bears. Sure the cold environment may kiil some of them but thats just more food for the bears. And the Lions and Tigers; you can just leave them in the middle of the desert. As long as the stay in the desert they are protected but if they wander outside of the park to a town or city they should be legally killed for safety reasons.
It’s a nice thought that the burros dig these ‘wells’ and this benefits the native species but the burros don’t share the wells. So there is no benefitr to the native species. They can smell the water but the burros won’t let them in. Burros also destroy the landscape and vegetation like the feral horses do. Leaving no food to regrow for either the feral or natie animals.
I have lived in Cal all my life. Honestly, the Fish and Game and the Park People are,,,, in my opinion,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, should be dissolved, and gone.
Years ago, in the San Jacinto mountains, there were so many deer, so many mountain lions, like a big zoo, doing well and hurting no one. i was in Boy Scouts, very active in backpacking etc. Gorgeous Mountain Lions, rabbits, quail, burros, deer in huge quantities, Eagles. Familiar with the area? Above Palm Springs, Idylwild, Tahqitz and San Jacinto Peaks.
Fish a and Game turned their back on hunting and POACHING. Dead animals means they can drive around and drink coffee and eat donuts. In Northern Cal, I saw this: Fish and Game folks look the other way as the Timber Cutters, slaughter deer and their young offspring. One retired Park Person was a frequent offender and one of the worst. On the Northern cal Elk herd, the local gov retired persons always bait the elk, leave food out for them in their properties, and always “have” a permit, regularly and put on great bar-b-ques for other gov persons. They “harvest” the first “Kill” of the season on any “Lottery Hunt” !!!
Just walk out of the back door and BOOM! Sickening for sure.
According to the published 2013 report of the National Academy of Sciences, commissioned by the BLM itself, BLMWHB practices of removals of wild horses and burros in order to achieve appropriate AML’s, has no basis in science. The BLM has not gathered population numbers or done any studies of the so-called problem whatsoever, merely pulling its own variety of numbers out from the butts of the cattle ranchers it serves to promote. Basically, the study is an indictment of BLM and Forest Service mismanagement of our protected wild horses and burros. Especially considering that not one study has been made on the degradation of the millions of head of cattle and sheep that roam our public lands for almost free, again at tax payer subsidized dollars. More than 85% of American’s want these sentient and giving creatures left alone and yet, both departments continue to waste billions of taxpayer $ on roundups, holding pens, where uncertainty and probably slaughter are their only end. All efforts to remove the burros, the wild horses and their predators–all of whom lend a greater balance to the land than anything self-serving humans can do–should be halted immediately until a thorough investigation can be made by Congress to weed out the criminals from a department initially designed to protect “in perpetuity” by an ACT OF CONGRESS IN 1971, their lives.
Maybe the poor animals remind some particular people of Jesus Christ too much! For those who do not comprehend this comment I am making reference to a Bible Story in the New Testament.
Domestic cattle have decimated public lands in the western U.S. but Americans love to eat them. NPS was historically cruel to the indigenous natives of Death Valley. The most invasive species of all lacks the will and brains to prevent its own self destruction.
Let’s not be fools: it is most definitely a question of desirable vs. undesirable.
Donkeys are good eating…. seriously, they eat Donkey in China and Italy. Horse meat of all kind is a valuable resource we aren’t using.
Wasn’t this tried with the wolves in Yellowstone? That was a mess! And they’re back….
Central America, South America,. they will be glad to get those BURROS,. Believe me. Also, they can be very useful during natural disasters to move large quantities of supplies in difficult terrain, to move wounded people. These great number of this animal , is a treasure.
How can a animal that has been around since the 1800’s not be considered a native species?
How do they know that the “Donkey” is not a native species? Where they around then?
Kill the burros? Well that’s taking the easy way out. They are a natural resource that is part of the ecosystem and obviously necessary to it’s sustainability. So if it’s a matter of burro over-population then why not try to control it with a similar technique as encouraged with canines and felines – liken it to spay/neuter? Why not sedate, sterilize and then release them back into their habitat. The population will naturally thin out and it seems like a better, humane way to manage the population.
Stephanie, I do research on the possibilities of controlling wild horse and burro populations by sterilization. So, I agree with your suggestion on the similarities to unwanted dog and cat population control. However, to actually carry out such a program successfully and, most importantly, humanely is not a simple thing. For one thing surgical sterilization of the female (which is the most effective approach in ‘polygamous’ species) is much more difficult in a mare or a jennet. While we are working on improved techniques, this will, at best, be a partial solution. Attitudes to the presence and value of large herbivores on arid lands need to change. As a member of the most invasive of all species, I can say: “We have met the enemy, and he is us….”
I am a proponent of GonaCon. It can sterilize mares or stallions for 2 or more years. TRNP runs a near perfect program for their wild horses. Occasionally darting the young, just being pushed off by mom. All yearlings are adopted. Captured by sedation. None are left in holding pens. Zero go to slaughter. The Forest Service does an amazing job of managing NDBH. I’ve been trying to get this program out to the public, it needs to be done all over North America!
Stephanie, I do research on sterilization of wild horses and burros as a method of population control, in hopes that this will allow these animals to stay on the range. So I agree with your suggestions. However, people who do not actually do these surgeries often see them as a panacea and a ‘risk free’ approach. Spay and neuter is neither, even in the hands of the most skilled practitioners. Additionally, it is much harder to sterilize the females of large herbivores than a dog or a cat. This is important because in a wild ‘polygamous’ species you get a lot more population control out of sterilizing females, as has been demonstrated in many research projects. Further, to allow animals to be wild, removal of the hormone sources, that drive social interactions, may be detrimental to welfare. Bottom line: while effective and HUMANE methods of sterilization are under development they will, at best, be a part of the solution. Attitudes toward wild equines in arid lands need to change, and stake holders need to compromise. As a member of the most invasive of all species, I can say: “we have met the enemy, and he is us….” e
Thank you for your response. I care for feral or community cats so I understand the problem to a point. They cats are also the unwanted and under appreciated but everyone wants and enjoys the benefit of the rodent control they can and do provide. I’m blessed with the ability to be able to handle the cats and the neighbors are coming around with food and offers to aid with spay and neuter thus my thoughts on the burro situation. I hope and pray there will be a better way to handle them then “killing” them. They a beautiful animals and GOD’s creatures just like you and I.
Why surgery and not an IUD? I think there are plenty of stories of donkey and camel females with marbles or peach pit IUDs in place.
Spaying burros is not a humane alternative for wild animals. The surgery (ovierectomy via colpotomy) is the proposed BLM surgery. It is performed under conscious sedation and is a rod inserted through the uterus and the ovaries are blindly torn from the body. The surgery is not performed in sterile conditions and the mares only watched for 48 hours. As it is a blind surgery, there is no guarantee that damage isn’t done to other internal organs, such as puncturing the bowel. The horse can suffer internal bleeding, infection, trauma and death – a very painful death.
I second population control through spay/neuter.
Native species (synonym: indigenous species) – Species that have evolved in a given area or that arrived there by natural means (through range expansion ), without the intentional or accidental intervention of humans from an area where they are native.
Alien species (synonyms: adventive, exotic, foreign, introduced, non – indigenous, non – native) – Those whose presence in a region is attributable to human actions that enabled them to overcome fundamental biogeographical barriers (i.e. human – mediated extra – range dispersal). Some alien species (a small proportion) form self- replacing populations in the new region (see tens rule ). Of these, a subset has the capacity to spread over substantial distances from introduction sites.
Naturalized species (synonym: established species) – Those alien species that sustain self- replacing populations for several life cycles or a given period of time (10 years is advocated for plants) without direct intervention by people, or despite human intervention.
Naturalization – invasion continuum – A conceptualization of the progression of stages and phases in the status of an alien organism in a new environment which posits that the organism must negotiate a series of barriers.
Invasive species – Alien species that sustain self- replacing populations over several life cycles, produce reproductive offspring, often in very large numbers at considerable distances from the parent and/or site of introduction, and have the potential to spread over long distances.
From: Fifty Years of Invasion Ecology. The Legacy of Charles Elton. Richardson D.
For those who are wondering about the meaning of words.
I worked for the BLM when the Wild Horse and Burro Act was put in place. A lot of us felt that it was going to be a big mistake, it was, but the BLM and the FS look at it to create another agency. In the 70’s the government spent $10 million a year in management cost, rounding them, housing them, adopting them, managing them. One point, the horses and the burro’s were not native BUT the government knew what was RIGHT, RIGHT.
Completely incorrect. Evolutionary biologists agree that both the horse and the burro are native to NA having evolved here for millions of years. They perhaps went extinct during the Ice Age with many other forms of life, though there is anecdotal evidence that suggests perhaps not. They returned to their native, evolutionary lands in recent history. But saying they are non-native or invasive is akin to saying if you take a vacation in Europe for a month you lose your US citizenship. That’s the blink of an eye in which they were missing from this landscape compared to millions of years herein the cradle of their evolution. When the question of the horse’s native status is put to scientists, they roll their eyes. There is no question. The non-native myth is a tale told by BLM, which is beholden to the livestock lobby. It’s a convenient PR tagline and nothing more. It’s actually embarrassing that an agency that supposedly uses science in the management of public lands is so stubbornly ignorant. https://ispmb.org/wild-horses-in-america/
I always thought that BLM and the Donkey cause was for the preservation the wild Jungle environment in our Inner Cities.
No one has the right to kill donkeys/burros
National Park is wrong in doing this, nature changes . The burros have been here along time.
Why not? It could be a good alternative to the horrors of the modern dairy industry. It’s like now cannibalism is both a solution to world hunger AND over-population.
Interesting post, well written and understandable for a curious public. Fossil records indicate they were once native to the habitat, so perhaps the BLM should do some research themselves or fund it if they have the money before deciding, to remove the burros.
Until humans are willing to cull their own population – or at least control its birth rate – they should not be making life/death decisions for other species – set aside large tracts of land and then leave it alone – nature will take care of itself – humans are the LAST species that should be in charge.
Interesting article with some balance information. This is a classic of preserving the native species and the introduction to the non-native species. Once the donkeys have been there long enough, they will be part of the ecosystem. The donkeys will to survive and thrive are their resilient trademark, just like the camels to the desert. This is the same problem Australia have with the camel population because camel is the non-native specie. To determine the benefit and destruction there need to be 10 years study follow up with 20 years study and finally the 50 years study. This will give you the bigger picture of how the ecosystem will response to the donkeys. The study could answers some questions: who benefit most from the donkeys and what native species struggle the most from having them, what species may be extinct do the donkey activities, what kind of land damage and landscape changes cause by the donkeys and if those changes will be permanent, what is the maximum population of the donkeys before the ecosystem collapse, will the underground water go to waste if not discovery by the donkey, what native species benefit from the underground water, how much of impact mountain lions have on the donkey population, and so on. The park service is there to maintain the ecosystem and they work there and live there. So, they will know the area best and how to preserve the balance.
It was well stated in the article above:
“Land managers there go and manually remove wild vegetation, doing exactly what the burros were doing for free.”
People and agencies who over manage nature are foolish. It’s a double negative, costing tax-payers money and causing more detriment. Hopefully, this trend continues and we embrace a more hands-off approach towards regulating wildlife. This would also require us as a species to approach nature with respect, rather than a resource to be harvested.
Can we eat these organic donkeys!? I’ll bet this free range burro meat is delish.
How can killing or removing ever be the correct answer when it comes to animals? Can they be placed in other parks? Animals become extinct so quickly, lets try saving them for a change!
The wild burros and wild horses are not really invasive species, because they have evolved for over 1.5 million years in the American West, before their very recent extinction event that coincided with the arrival of humans from across the land bridge.
European horses and burros that were brought to North America were essentially just reintroduced into their native habitat, because there was little to no major genetic evolution in only the last 1o,000 some years.
In truth, they are little more “invasive” than species like Pronghorn and Bighorn and Elk and mountain lions, because they have only “invaded” their natural space that they called home for well over a million years before any humans got here. To this, the ranchers say “but there are too many burros.” Okay, then there are too many burros, but this is likely indication that the extinction of other native predators that died out about the same time as the native burros and horses, are not here to do their jobs. These possibly include cats like the North American Cheetah, and Jaguar, but also depletion of competitors of the burros like the musk ox and bison.
The knee-jerk reaction is to say “these burros are taking food out of my children’s mouth, get rid of them.” But us Westerners have learned over and over that our dry Western ecosystems are fragile, and we can’t make money when everything natural becomes unnatural. We end up using far too much water and time controlling actual invasive species, like wild boars and fountaingrass.
When western water becomes sufficiently valuable that conventional ranching and agriculture has to change, we’ll want these ecosystems as self-sustainable as possible because we’ll rely on new engines of our Western Economy like tourism, rare earth element production, dryland agriculture, inland desalination and geothermal in-situ mining. Knowing that this is already happening means that we need to make decisions for these public lands that will benefit the public for the next twenty, fifty and a hundred years, more than protecting industries that have often been unsustainable out here since the 1870s with regular boom and bust cycles.
The answer to the question, “Are they the enemy?”, is always yes. Yes, ‘they’ are the enemy. LAUGH
In this day and age of technology, everything is moving at warp speed, even evolution. So the donkeys have evolved into the barren wasteland supporting everyone else who lives there. We have boots on the ground like Eric Lundgren, studying what happens, how it all works out. I have seen his videos and listened to his lectures. All the animals from the apex to the bottom of the food chain benefit from donkeys. Mankind couldn’t have survived all over the world without them hauling their firewood, water, sticks and stones. When are we going to let nature take its course and improve the lot in life for all creatures, especially those who survive as a result of donkeys’ innovative handiwork? Jesus came into this world with a donkey watching over Him and rode a donkey into Nazareth. Whether or not you believe there is any significance, donkeys have always improved the world where ever they roam.
Wild, truly wild situation. I respect these researchers for their out of the box thinking and how they boot-strapped the research with little help from the usual funding sources. There is way too much me-too research going on and it gets way too much funding.
My knee-jerk reaction is always to get rid of the exotic species, horses, burros, goats, domesticated then feralized cats,…. This story, however, brings back the memory that sometimes people consider introducing a different species to a niche to replace an extinct species. I don’t know if it has ever been done. For things not easily eradicated if they become a problem, it is a big risk. Obviously that is exactly what is being considered here as already done. Apparently, humans wiped out some species that might have made this arid area a much more diverse and productive landscape and the burros may have fortuitously brought it back.
An article full of concepts beloved by the burro (and wild horse) crowd, but wildlife did fine without burros for quite a few centuries between the Pleistocene and now, so I don’t buy those arguments. In my area, I have the evidence of my own eyes and biological surveys. The damage wrought by burros to vegetation communities is staggering and increasing, and the herd keeps expanding and spreading. The wildlife that lived in the vegetation communities stripped by burros is gone. And I would suggest that donkeys are digging wells because they have fouled and emptied the water resources that would be present if they weren’t there. Lundgren should go back to Sydney and work on invasive species issues in his own backyard, I hear that there are plenty. What the hell is he doing in Death Valley?
Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WFRHBA) of 1971 Made it a federal crime for anyone to harass or kill “wild” horses or burros on federal land.
This includes the BLM
Leave them alone!
We should remove the cattle and other livestock before we remove ANY wildlife that is surviving and even thriving. I am having a hard time understanding why a few ranchers have this much power on our PUBLIC lands. Why do all these studies on the impact of grazing either omit grazing livestock or make a point to include them in the survey but then recommend wild horse and burro removal? there is a hell of a lot more cattle on public lands then wild horses or burro. Don’t even get me started about how many predator animals have been killed because ranchers accuse them of killing their unsupervised and free-roaming livestock. Let us ignore those predator animals are critical for population control and are vital to a healthy ecosystem.
Thank you; exactly right.
Send the cattle-killing wolves from Washington State to Death Valley for a change of diet.
Actually, If you look at the science, wolves kill only about 1% of all the cattle deaths from wildlife. It is not true that they are killing all of the cattle. Not only that, Ranchers put their cattle on public wild land. This is ridiculous. If they want to have huge herds than they need to have large tracks of grazing land. It is not right that everyone should have to allow private business on public land. To have a healthy ecosystem you must have healthy predator populations.
Yes, yes they are! I grow up living in National Parks. And just like the non-native species of Mule-deer in Grand Canyon National Park, where i was born, they do not belong. They eat the minimal vegetation that exist and help promote erosion.
Just leave our wild donkeys and wild horses alone this is there land if you people can’t live there with the MOVE!!!!!!!! STUPID PEOPLE!!!!!
Thats just ‘F” great isn’t it get rid of wildlife thats just like a “D” liberal thinks. they want to get rid of every thing that lives and breaths. INSANE is what it is, The burros have been there for years and years. and the park service knows that. there is no park sewrvice any more they are radical socialists that operates on there own agenda, kill a life is how they operate. etter let those burros alone. When you take a life away you take everything away.
I say leave the ecosystem alone including the burros you would have to be stupid to see that this is the beginning of replenishing a system of natural regrowth. Leave the big cats, the coyotes, wolves, the burros, the sheep and all the other animals and reptiles that can survive in this ecosystem alone. Eventually it will be as nature intended it to be, we humans think we are the Gods who decides who shall live and who shall die. Ranchers need to either own enough land to sustain the population of their herd or lower their numbers. Public land is not for their profit. Leave what is surviving there now and we will have plush land again someday. Let nature take its course because nature knows best how to restore what we humans destroy. Keep the Ranchers out and let the animals surviving there alone.
I feel that the burros are doing their best to survive in a very harsh environment. The wells they dig clearly create water sources for other animals and vegetation . Not meaning to sound naive but, why when after humans have used these animals and others for their own purposes, do they then just deem them a nuisance and “remove” them. Why must humans hunt and kill animals to extinction? How selfish and uncaring. How heartless.
Moving on, it seems that if the burros are left alone, they will either live or die based on their ability to find food and water, and survive the climate of Death Valley.
I get the point of herd control for burros Ana wild mustangs. I don’t agree with the cruelty of it.
“leave the ecosystem alone including the burros” That’s simplistic. For example, grazing animals prevent shrubs and trees from growing and can over-graze, turning everything to desert. Saplings need to be protected for a few years.
Human are very aggressive against nature and natural creature. Human want to categories everything based on their limited knowledge and benefits for them. Because of human nature they are don’t know how far they are going to dig their own disappearance from this world. It may looks strong but in reality it is not. Because when human progress all the natural sources were captured for themselves. No other species has right to share anything without humans mercy. How is world is surviving it is unknown. How plants are disappearing for the sake of human need. There is no feeling, we need big road, need more material breaking core of the earth, diminishing sea and polluting environment (water, air, land everything). We all study one way or other most of the human fell they know better than other. But they forgot nature, natural phenomena how earth created millions and millions years ago and nature brought everything one after another. Ecosystem served as a balancing tool and millions years it is running. But based on short period of human evolution everything are crippled down and ecosystem is broken, destruction and destruction other species sky rocketing. Today most of the species earlier than human evolve are destroyed. Very few are left until now and going to disappear pretty soon with in couple generation of human or bit faster. There is negative competition all around the world under the name of self desire of some one or group, under the name of different species and color. The most depressing situation, but we all need to think positive, try to do something positive for nature and fellow human being and other species to keep this beautiful natural gifts for future generation. One way or other we all are responsible to find best solution. It is not easy and there will be no miracle and easy fixing tool. Be happy, at the same time take deep breath and think positively and act with plan to help, teach and learn from other human, animal and plants. At the end I like to say natural preservation should be out motto. Thank you for opportunity to read and write few words.
Amen, God made everything and he put everything in its proper place for a reason.
Can we eat this organic meat!? I’ll bet the free range donkeys are delish.
Very well stated. I agree with your post. Nature is perfectly capable of taking care of itself, if humans would get out of the way…
I believe you are absolutely right. We need to leave the burros. even though they are not native they are filling a job that native animals already killed off by humans should be doing. We must leave the predators alone and stop killing them. I also agree that ranchers do not have a right to use our lands for their livestock. How did this ever even begin to happen? What other business gets to take someone else’s land and claim it as their own to just drop off animals to eat and destroy the landscape and then pick em up later to go slaughter? This is not native species!
We should be protecting our special lands and wildlife. Not deciding which wildlife we want and which we decide to eliminate.
Wild Donkeys may be a keystone animal for the desert; however this should be studied empirically.
This requires research.
Wild donkeys must be stopped at all costs, genociding them all if necessary to save nature. Killing every last one , will help preserve the ecoystem . We must reverse the anthropocene , prevent donkey caused plant species extinctiom, and and shrink the donkey carbon hoofprint, which is massive. That is why we MUST KILL ALL these donkeys. The sideeffects of lower gun violence and better equality for women are also desireable benefits of milling them all . it is true. (donkeys are used to rape women for cartel entertainment and cause gun violence indirectly as they are used for trafficing guns across the border by the mexican cartel)
The real question is how we should kill them. i propose that the full culli g of donkeys should be coordinated with the abbatois so that good meat does not go to waste. The donkey meat can be sued for all sorts of productive inputs to pet food human food and to utikize it as an industrial protein source until we have fully transitioned beyond meat to emat substitutes.
Please dont be swayed by the overly rationalistic tone of this article wild donkeys are the devils steed. Send them all to hell qhere they belong.
Of course donkeys are gods creatures. They are not evil. But so are mosquitoes. We dont tolerate mosquitokind for obvious reasons and similarly we shouldnt tolerate donkey kong. Please resist the emotional appeal to your equine empathy. You are either with the donkeys or with the American people. Kill the Donkeys, save america. God bless.
you are correct we humans need to leave the world alone and let nature take is path and not tinker with it for we are the monsters and we destroy animal life.Poachers have begun to kill animals that don’t deserve to die and they are the ones who should die they are the ones who shall go to hell one day and learn their mistakes they made by killing god’s creation.Life is beautiful but seeing it die is sad and we learned even trying to protect animals causes death.Today i found out some people were trying to save the okapi in a sanctuary but poacher came and killed all the okapi and 8 men it’s sad but if we band together and stop fighting we cane bring back every animal if we just stopped fighting and killing each other and just save what god made for us to observe not kill people of the internet if you read this and agree reply back and don’t hate on me i’m only 12 yet i have learned so much from watching animals but when i see them die it fills me with a undying rage sometimes so please don’t treat earth like crap treat i like it’s something you’ll never see again in a long time.
With BLM, their always seems to be an issue with wildlife. Just because they are in their way. For some reason.
Yes, it seems BLM always has an issue with the wildlife, and it always comes down to the ranchers and the cattle on our public lands…..which need to leave. They need to keep the cattle on their own land, or downsize. Leave the public lands to the wild animals that live there and they will balance out the environment.
Maybe consider relocating them to other desert, water and vegetation deprived areas to allow a natural correction or a possible natural resolution. Use this opportunity to conduct a long-term study over 10-15 years to evaluate the effects with accurate and measurable data through a statistical analysis set. This valuable information can possibly be utilized for future planning for eco-system reversals which actually have a positive influence on the environment around us that humans unfortunately have had a lengthy history of destroying.
I really liked this article even though it’s something I would normally never read about
Sounds like the mentality of Democrats again, consisting of Whatever is good, we need to get rid of it, NOW!!!
Plant some tree using permaculture principles and leave the poor animal alive. Stop killing or removing them. They have the same right as you do to live on this earth. You will all benefit from a food forest. More wild animals are needed as well as more trees. Take care of this Earth and the land.
I agree with Lili, these animals have every right to live as we humans do. STOP KILLING ANIMALS
The burros are not, nor the horses or cattle, wild. They are feralized. For native species, the burdon is on humans to preserve a space for them. for introduced species, the rule has been removal, for any thinking people. This researcher, however, has raised a very interesting question, an introduced species may fill a niche that was occupied by an organism that was driven to extinction by humans. Data and interpretation need to be carefully looked at, but I believe that it is worth a look. It is not as easy as assuming that all introduced species are bad, nor all god’s creatures should be left alone. Ask the tough questions or get out of the way of people that are willing to do the real, hard work.
I think everyone forgets, the BIGGEST threat to our lands, and animals are, and has always been humans. You talk about how burros are non-native to the lands they roam. Sell, what about the human populations that come in to a native species territory, clear-cut and build on land that was once “owned” by the wild horses & burros, ground squirrels, bighorn sheep, and even wolves. We tend to forget, most of the animals that are endangered or extinct are because of humans. Maybe we should be sterilized or culled.
Okay, you first.
The burro is single-handedly maintaining what little vegetation grows there. If you take away the burro, the land will revert to desert with no vegetation. This is a proven fact. In areas of desert, some people have introduced herd animals and driven them strategically to do exactly what these burros are accomplishing. They have turned dry bare arid desert to lush areas of grass and trees again using this method. Leave it to ‘conservationists’ to try to remove the only thing conserving this area. If they want to improve the water availability and grow more grass, getting rid of the burro is exactly the opposite of what they should do. They should be introducing more herd animals into the area.
I liked very much what you had to say. Burros are a beautiful hard working class of animals. They’re in fact a benefit to the desert.
SO THE PARK SERVICE IS KILLING THEM ?
They will just boom bust anyway… just like st.matthew island.
In 1944, 29 reindeer were introduced to the island by the United States Coast Guard to provide an emergency food source. The Coast Guard abandoned the island a few years later, leaving the reindeer. Subsequently, the reindeer population rose to about 6,000 by 1963 and then died off in the next two years to 42 animals. A scientific study attributed the population crash to the limited food supply in interaction with climatic factors (the winter of 1963–64 was exceptionally severe in the region). By the 1980s, the reindeer population had completely died out. Environmentalists see this as an issue of overpopulation. For example, ecologist Garrett Hardin cited the “natural experiment” of St. Matthew Island of the reindeer population explosion and collapse as a paradigmatic example of the consequences of overpopulation in his essay An Ecolate View of the Human Predicament.
This is a great and thought provoking article, very well written. Hats off to the writer Asher Elbein.
I can just imagine Terrible Ted hunting these poor things done with a tranquilizer rifle then shaving their sides and putting images of prominent Democrats on their sides.
The “western horse”-more like a zebra, became extinct in North America around the end of the Pleistocene(10,000 years ago). As such Equus species were native in the region(camels as well) as evidenced by fossil remains from Rancho La Brea, as well as many other areas in NA. Have any fossil Equus remains been found in the Death Valley region? Did this type of species thrive there in the past?
it appears that the first Americans caused multiple extinctions. A period of climate change, in addition to the first humans were incredibly damaging.
They are more attractive than anything else there! Leave them alone. I came across one while hiking in the Superstitions back in the ’80s. My brother and I went towards it and it let us get right up to it. I tried to hop on but it launched me skyward and ran away.
seeing these animals wandering the desert is awe inspiring. You should not have approached a wild animal, and attacking one is unforgivable and illegal. You should have paid attention to to how creatures go about their lives as free creatures, not as pets or beasts of burden.
Just for fun: They were also known as “Panamint Canaries”, @ least back in my desert-
I have seen videos of Big Horn Sheep ALSO drinking from the burro dug holes!! usual for the BLM, Just get rid of them,FOOLS
It’s time ICE called up Juan Valdez to corral up all these Burros and and lead his people away out of the Democrats Broken Promise land .
WE need them to regenerate the land! And as far as the IDIOTS above talking about eradicating them, try doing a little research on regenerative agriculture. Check out Kisstheground.com.
“Good Article”, Do you know the price of donkey meat in China? The park could make a honest fortune by thinning out the animals ,selling to China, this could pay for upkeep of the park. Fist thing is to not tell the World what you are doing.
Leave them alone. They’re beautiful and deserve to live.
Okay – let’s just get the damn humans out of the picture – we are also an invasive species if you look back far enough, AND we were the ones who brought the burros into Death Valley and other environs in the first place. Can’t we fight about Democrats and Republicans instead of the burros?
enemy is the Park Service…damned government….leave God’s creatures alone!!!! A when we lived in northern Nevada; wild horses and burros were rounded up and SOLD for meat@! MONEY MONEY MONEY!!!
Interesting that there are some potential benefits to the non-native burro, but the article should have posed more of the negatives, I can tell people in the comments are unaware that burros tend to hog up springs and crowd out native species from drinking. The amount of vegetation they consume annually is also an important point in determining if there is a healthy balance or limit. 3,000 may be too many, but perhaps a smaller population isn’t as harmful as previously thought.
People also clearly don’t understand that in order for endangered bighorn sheep to be restored, mountain lions that predate mostly on sheep must be relocated or culled. The lack of context is frustrating. These issues are complex!
In 1988 a ballot initiative in California banned the killing of Mountain Lions under most circumstances. In 1997 the cattlemen tried to repeal it, but lost big time. Cougars are protected in California, and cattlemen who kill them without express permission, are criminals. Let’s hear it for Cougars and Burros. They can work this problem out.
Maybe they just need to relocate the pussy cats to the LA glass canyons and let them thin the local invasive populations that are causing environmental havoc with poop and needles.
And ranchers are allowed to kill mountain lions that reach a certain age! Wreaking havoc on an ecosystem where young cougars have no idea how to hunt a donkey.
The more man gets involved, the worse it gets.
Please just stay out of the animals’ way!
they are not because thats there only home they’er just trying to protect there youngins and home if there youngins died how do u think they would feel put ur self in their shoes
Having spent 13 years doing Mapmaking survey work, with the U.S.Geological Survey, I saw wild horses in Arizona, California, Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and Utah. In addition, I saw burros in Arizona, California and Nevada. These animals were a great addition to the bluhlessness in these deserts. Everyone should realize, however, that the personnel assigned to positions with the Park Service earn their right to be assigned to such positions. They are our protectors of the environment in the Parks. They are professionals that have all of our interests as their assigned duties. They cannot make singular decisions on cause and affect actions performed on their Park areas. Much study and much observation goes into recommendations for decisions and actions. Please support them. They are your representatives for the preservation of flora and fauna on our Natiuonal Parks.
You sound like the poster child for a technocratic nightmare. “Just trust the experts”…sorry, but hasn’t it been the experts that put the west in a situation where wildfires have so much fuel because “the experts” chose 100% suppression that now millions of people have lost power…because it’s windy? That my friend is NOT progress. That my friend is technocracy at work.
yea anytime someones tells you they are an expert but you can’t ask any questions and just trust them…
Catch, Geld most of the boys, Release. Manage your herd responsibly.
Beautifully written and hope these animals get consideration. Watched a documentary called “Unbranded” regarding wild mustangs being trained to trail from Mexico to Canada. It showed the resilience of the species also considered a nuisance. Burro’s are excellent at protecting herds in the hill country here in Texas and farmers appreciate their herds having a burro to discourage attacks by predators such as coyote. They are loud and often fearless. I am an animal lover, so I’d like to see these animals saved and protected. Also a scuba diver, the tiny island of Bonaire, Netherland Antilles has a large donkey population and problem. One dutch family has gathered up as many as they can and keep them in a sanctuary there. They fix them to keep the breeding and reproduction in check. Left wandering around, they get hit by cars. I have recommended that they get the local restaurants to “recycle” table scraps for the donkeys and would love to find a crop they could grow, to feed these animals. Tropical climate, salt air, and limited water. There in not one blade of grass left on the property and the management is 99% volunteer.
Eliminating predators has exacerbated the problem.
It’s not the solution.
Increased numbers of predators will eventually have the desired effect of controlling herd over population.
Some colleagues and I published a white paper on foal mortality in wild horses, based on BLM data. The data illustrated that 50% of wild foals born will not live to see their first birthday.
Sadly, most wild horse and burro herd populations are based on ‘estimates’ and not the result of field study.
A research biologist did a 25 year long study on the wild horses in the Montgomery Pass Wild Horse Territory (I do not have access to the citation. Google would be your best bet). His study revealed the same 50% infant mortality rate that kept the population at its low end and correlated directly with a resident cougar population. As the cougars diminished, the horse population grew. But as of publication of the study in 2015, that population was still relatively small and stable.
Gestation in both wild horses and burros is an 11 month commitment, and they are generally not physically mature enough to reproduce until at least 3 or 4 years old. Agency growth estimates indicate every horse or burro, regardless of sex, reproduces yearly, with an absolute success rate.
But consider for a moment the harsh, rough nurseries these foals are born into.
Studies defining the benefits of wild equines in their particular environs are rare, and unacceptable to the agencies under Interior that manage them. Mr. Beever’s studies and opinions disregard any positivity regarding wild equines, but a single, anecdotal observation years ago somehow manages to make its way into many Environmental Assessments for the removal of wild equines:
He observed a wild stallion chase a smaller ungulate from a watering hole so the stallion’s herd could drink. Instant vilification.
Citizen scientists and observers have reported burros digging wells and horses breaking the ice crust on ponds in the cold desert Winter, and of native plant life springing up from fertile manure piles, even after a wildfire.
And everybody everybody eats and drinks.
Thanks! for the info!
Very well written article and good vocabulary.
I really don’t see any difference between donkeys and any other domesticated livestock such as sheep or cattle.
They are an invasive species and as such are a detriment to the desert environment.
They compete with native species for browse and scarce water.
I’ve been to Death Valley springs inhabited by donkeys.
They have turned a valuable natural resource into a stinking fly infested mess.
Obviously, damage has been done.
Did you not read the article that discuesses the burros creating springs used by lots of animals?
I have also been vacationing and four wheeling in Death Valley since 1971. The burros are not indigenous to Death Valley and have trashed all the natural springs I have come across. The big horn sheep which are indigenous to Death Valley are dropping in numbers due to the burros trashing the natural springs and chasing the big horn sheep away.
I don’t agree with killing the burros. In the past the park service relocated them or used outside groups to find homes for them. They do not belong in Death Valley and left alone they will multiply and make a mess. Before the park service started removing them, they were everywhere, including blocking the highways looking for handouts. I am curious how many of the people making comments have even been to Death Valley?
Lundgren said: “I think that the idea that these organisms are evolving and responding to each other in this novel system is just so interesting and beautiful, and much more optimistic as a vision of nature, than this fragile native space that needs to be protected.”
Can’t we consider both? I don’t think these ideas are mutually exclusive.
The extinction of the Pleistocene large mammals, followed by the buffalo, left gaping holes in American landscapes and ecosystems. In Africa, the loss of elephants, changed ecosystems, and left a lot of other species in decline. The fact that the burros can access water, that other species are now reliant upon should mitigate discussion of their removal. No doubt that removal was egged on by the cattle industry that see any wild grazers as contradictory to their profits.
There are wild horses in Death Valley too, their survival there is miraculous, and a wonderful testament to life. One of my favorite memories is seeing a herd of wild horses emerge from a dust storm. It was a dream like experience, because the horses were the same color as the dust. Wild predators would not have been deterred by their coloring, but human hunters would. Nature is amazing!
Those wild burros aren’t hurting anything out there.,they have been there for a long time
But not in the large numbers they are now.
Increased numbers translates to increased damage to the desert environment.
I agree with Lee Phillips! they are a invasive species and should be systematically eradicated thru hunting and other means not harmful to the native animals. same goes for the silver spring monkeys in Florida….
I really don’t see the difference between donkeys and domesticated livestock such as sheep and cattle.
They are an invasive species and as such are detrimental to the desert environment.
I’ve been to Death Valley springs inhabited by wild donkeys.
They have turned a desert riparian water resource into a stinking fly infested mess.
Doubtless they have had a negative impact.
Eliminate them and this will return to it’s natural state.
The Donkeys were there before the park Service was, so leave them alone!
Wow, even this site is invaded by stupidity.
On Sunday, Oct. 13, I caught an episode of NOVA on PBS about our unbalanced ecosystems and how the planet is able to heal itself. The ecosystem is viewed as a triangle with flora (plants) at the bottom and predators at the top (apex). Scientists performed experiments in miniature ecosystems in water and on land.
In brief, unbalanced ecosystems are the result of the apex predators, identified as keystones, having been eradicated causing the collapse of that ecosystem. Starfish removed from tidal pools resulted in an explosion of mussels that destroyed the tidal pool ecosystem in just one experiment. The point is that when the native apex predator/keystone is reestablished, balance is restored all the way to the bottom of the ecosystem (trees and plants). Reestablishing coyotes and cougars will naturally reduce the burro population, and those remaining burros will continue digging wells and with the reduced grazing, balance will gradually return.
If you want to identify invasive species, let’s talk about cattle. It’s always comes down to the cattle ranchers and their lobbyists. This has become a top priority for the Forest Services and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). They can’t grab enough (public) lands to graze more cattle so now burros and wild horses must be removed. The apex predators were eradicated largely because of cattle predation and now there are “too many burros”.
The planet can heal itself, not from the bottom (trees and grasses) up, but from the top (apex) predators down.
I saw the same program on PBS showing how important Apex or Keystone predators are to a healthy eco-system. Part of the benefit was due to herd animals moving from place to place due to fear of predators. This kept watering holes open and available and kept grazing areas from being overgrazed by herds. More research needs to be done in this area before we just get rid of certain species.
I saw the same NOVA. As many have mentioned conservation is a complex issue. Loss of habitat through urbanization and hunting of predators to keep cattle safe may actually be contributing to climate change. Restore keystone species and more trees grow, in turn absorbing CO2 keeping levels (and temperatures) lower. Something for scientists to look into.
The reality of this situation is that man placed these animals in an ecosystem that had never harbored such animal before. While small evolutionary changes can be made in a short time, the detrimental aspects of these large animals out competing native species is the issue. Burros and horses were placed here by man, not nature and they should be taken care of by man to allow for these ecosystems to attempt to return back to at least a large percentage of their normal state. It’s certainly sad, but we need to take emotion out of this issue and look at the whole picture and the greater purpose of protecting native species as the method to take. The park service relies on such science to make these claims and I would recommend standing by them in this decision.
Excellent comment. Many here are not seeing the “big picture” but are using emotion, “the donkeys are cute, leave them alone”.
Yes – same thinking as to when people exclaim: “leave the wolves alone, they are ‘cute’ too!” Would they react that way if such a wolf decimated their livestock, killed their pet dogs, cats, etc., and tried to attack them (as well as the documented killings of people) as has happened in recent years, to people along with groups of animals being managed by these individuals (as well as the herds of Park Service maintained wildlife — elk, deer, bison) – these above-mentioned folks are living where “the very large” (an understatement if there was one) arctic originating & living species of Canadian gray wolf were “re-introduced”? (Illegally, I might add as to how these wolves “re-introductions” have upset the apple cart)! Just will be another day for that story …
“Would they react that way if such a wolf decimated their livestock, killed their pet dogs, cats, etc., and tried to attack them…” Yes. Wolves are threatened by extinction. Humans are not entitled to pets and should stop raising livestock at the expense of wild species. And if you don’t like to live in the wild, go live in a city. Do not hunt a species to extinction.
Cattle ranching is the underlying problem.
Jameson, you are missing the point. That landscape did harbor animals like that in the distant past before humans changed the landscape. This is really a great question. How far back do you go to establish what is “normal”, and are there any significant number of species left from the time you are looking at, plant or animal. Does introduction of burros make the system more like it was in a time before humans or less, that is the question.
Thought provoking. Admittedly beside the point, while Death Valley National Park (5262 square miles) is the lower 48’s largest National Park, New York’s Adirondak Park is 9375 square miles.
But most of Adirondack “Park” is privately owned and managed as houses, farms and towns, like non-park land everywhere. Death Valley has more park land than Adirondack “Park”.
Leave the mountain lions alone and leave the donkeys alone….and see what you have in 10 years. My bet is that the ecosystem will thrive, and the predator (mountain lion) population will increase and the donkey population will level off. Seems to me that the donkeys are doing the rest of the wildlife a big favor at keeping the wet spots open and digging new ones. Why does the park service feel they have to intervene when nature will take care of it for you? Man, unfortunately, does not know what is best and is trying to hard to figure it out at the expense of the wildlife.
You Bet! Here, Here!
The burros are playing a vital role in the ecosystem, especially in light of the fact that the megafauna are extinct.
Well written and thought provoking. Admittedly beside the point, while Death Valley National Park is the largest National Park in the lower 48 (5262 square miles), New York’s Adirondak Park is 9375 square miles.
The last “roundup” was last year, 2018, I have pictures. They were brought to the Furnace Creek airport area and subsequently trucked to the Peaceful Valley group. The biggest problem is not the burro it is humans who are so arrogant as to believe they can and should control everything, jmho…
As with any species that falls under human management mistakes are normal because of under educated management. Back in 1952 or 53 State conservation closed Deer hunting for two years. As a result the deer population exploded and that winter State wildlife had to fly in and drop hay to these starving deer. An additional problem arose because of the Car -Deer accidents increased by 100%.
Several thousand deer starved to death due to this mismanagement. Since then populations are seriously managed correctly by professionals.
I think the human species should stop killing off their natural predators. If there are any left in this area. These predators keep them in line and in proper balance. Plus, the predators only take hat they need to survive nothing more. Unlike humans who take for greed and nothing else. Humans are an ignorant species and should leave these animals in peace to live. Stop killing everything!
I think the human species should BECOME the natural predators of this highly destructive and invasive species. Let’s hear it for pit BBQ!
Get rid of ’em. No different than any other invasive species. I’ve witnessed burro’s around Lake Pleasant in Arizona, chase native bighorn sheep away from a waterhole all day. The burro stand in the water, defecate and urinate in the water, and harass the sheep. Round ’em up.
Interesting, thoughtful, provocative and well-researched article! Thank you for writing about an off-the-beaten-track location and presenting multi-sided perspectives on the phenomenon of burros in Death Valley.
How like man to bring these animals to California where they were vital parts of life as pack animals for a long period of time. Now, some consider them worthless “pests.” I found it illuminating, it’s the burros who dig out a pool area around the springs in Death Valley, and that this is vital to other wildlife. And also that the fact that the ranchers kill off the mountain lions, effectively creating a situation of overpopulation of burros.
Beautifully written, indeed. It makes me curious to see your other work. Keep up the good work!
That’s the trouble with man. They always want to kill those that are defenseless. Leave the burros alone or relocate them. This world is theirs too. Humans have taken too much of the land that belong to the wild creatures and then fuss that they are the nuisance. The animals know we are the intruders.
Get the donkeys out of Death Valley and replace them with Democrats. No one will notice the difference.
But, at least the burros don’t need anyone to feed them, aren’t self-entitled, and don’t invite OTHER invasive species to come and live at the expense of the other animals.
In fact, Burros will find a place having water, drink what they want, and then pollute that watering place with feces and urine so that the other animals cannot have any water. Burros are such filthy animals that they don’t care, and drink the polluted water.
Maybe a liberal person might not care about (or even applaud) this, but burros like to stand in the middle of (warm) blacktop roads (or airport runways) during the cool hours of the night, posing a SIGNIFICANT hazard to people who use the roads (or runways).
Burros should be eradicated. No natural enemies? The ONE thing GOOD about them is that they make EXCELLENT pit BBQ. LOVE that backstrap! But, THAT would be illegal though, since this particular invasive species appear to be protected by the firebugs of BLM and others. The BEST thing to do would be to allow them to be hunted.
—-from a long time desert rat
In fact, humans will find a place having water and use far more than is needed. What they don’t take, they’ll pollute with waste, garbage, oil spills and chemicals so that it becomes unusable. Humans are so filthy, greedy, arrogant and selfish that they knowingly do this.
Do you make stupid political observations for every subject you come across?
Political trolls are paid to spam every place they find to make it sound like they are the majority of people. Some simple minded folks do it for free because of the 24 hour news indoctrination.just ignore them, or report them. .
I see the biggest problem is the removal of large cougars. Free range cattle farming has been a dead industry for decades now. Lets stop using public land to prop up a few ranchers. bring back the apex predators and let nature sort it out.
Correct both times.
Removal of the apex predator from an ecosystem ALWAYS throws the balance off.
Every single time.
The author also seems to indicate that the very real situation here is that these ecosystems are ALWAYS changing, no matter how static we seem to think they are. Changes are occurring constantly, daily, yearly, and moment by moment- no system on earth is actually stable, they just change slowly enough that we tend to think of them as static. When we actually observe a change we get all affronted by nature for daring to contradict our assumptions.
In short, it is what it is and it is changing. Let’s see where it goes.
As for the ranchers yes, insisting that the world fit the mold of their business may seem nice to the ranchers but by removing the apex predators to make the ranching industry happy we’ve screwed the whole pooch.
We can debate a whole slew of possible methods for fixing this screw up to the ecosystems we’ve created but the most effective by far is to back the hell off and let the system clean itself up, whether folks like it or not. It just is.
Take the burros out or leave them there? Obviously the Valley Ecosystem is slowly working them into the net, as always happens over time. Insisting on a lack of change is really ridiculous.
Totally agree. It’s rare indeed that man improves an eco system when the profit motive is present and that’s exactly what we’re talking about.
I agree there is always change. And the burros have changed too, from what their North African ancestors were to what they are today in the American Southwest. I once went out there with a friend who is from North Africa; he insisted these were NOT burros. Too big, and too much like horses.
He was right; among the burros we encountered were two males who fought like horses, standing up on their hind legs, hitting and biting. Burros only fight by kicking with their hind legs. In most groups of burros I have encountered there’s an individual that looks like a long-eared horse. My guess is they are actually hybrids, descending from both burros, horses and mules. Those who will tell me mules are sterile, well, no, not always. So not entirely an invasive species, but a new species, which evolved just here in the Southwest.
If humans insist on eliminating any invasive species, we should look at ourselves first. There is no doubt we have done more damage to the environment here, and everywhere else, than the animals we let loose around us.
Great Article ! Animals that succeed in New environments should be celebrated. Most of Mans agriculture crops are invasive species but are never described as such. .
I take some here in Puerto rico ,I got a few acres with a lot of grass and water ,right now my neighbor have some caws in my pasture .
Thank you for the wonderful article on burros. I am grateful there are people speaking out for them. <3
Don’t Fix What Ain’t Broke !!! Man is always trying to manage NATURE !! We can’t even manage ourselves, let alone NATURE !!!!