Location: Just 11 miles west of Gila Bend, Arizona lies the Painted Rock Herd Area (HA). The region sits just off Interstate 10, 15 miles north of Painted Rock Road. The area surrounds the Painted Rocks Reservoir.
Size: The Herd Area is nearly 38,000 acres of lower Sonoran Desert.
Habitat: Broad desert plains are sliced by sandy washes here. Low mountain ranges run across the landscape. The vegetation includes palo verde, cacti, creosote bush and sage. The Gila River bisects the northern portion of the HA and is characterized by salt cedar, mesquite, cottonwood and willows. Wildlife spotted in the area include desert mule deer, javelina, dove, quail, water fowl and a variety of small mammals, birds, amphibians and reptiles.
History: The burros living here are probably descendants from pack and work animals that escaped, or were released, into the desert in the late 1800s.
Population: Burros evolved in the harsh deserts of North Africa and are very well adapted to the dry desert environment. Left alone in this remote region with few natural predators, the wild burros survived the intense heat and lived on coarse vegetation with limited water. Today, the population of burros remains fairly constant at about 25 animals. Burros in this area are typically grey in color and fairly fine-boned. They average about 425 pounds and stand about 40 inches high. During the summer months, the burros congregate along the Gila River for water, forage and shade. In the late fall, they travel out into the desert and scatter throughout the area.
Management: The BLM Lower Gila Resource Management Plan proposed establishing the Painted Rock Herd Area as a management area. Wild Burro populations are managed to maintain a thriving natural ecological balance with other resources.