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California Desert District
Release Date: 09/04/09
Contacts: David Briery , 951-697-5220  
  Stephen Razo , 951-697-5217  
News Release No. CA-CDD-09-67

BLM to Gather Wild Burros in California Desert for Adoption

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will begin gathering excess wild burros from public lands in the California Desert starting next week.  The animals will be made available for adoption through BLM’s national Wild Horse and Burro adoption program.

BLM's California Desert District Manager Steve Borchard said about 20-40 burros must be gathered from a narrow strip of public lands between the Army's Fort Irwin and Death Valley National Park, primarily due to a shortage of water from Owl Hole Spring.  Water availability is becoming increasingly scarce because of evaporation and consumption by burros and other wildlife.

BLM plans to build temporary fences and panels around the spring to capture the animals as they enter, a technique called water trapping.  Borchard said some of these panels would be specialized for wildlife to allow easy access for deer and bighorn sheep.  

BLM staff will check the spring daily for burros. The burros will be transported to the Ridgecrest Wild Horse and Burro Facility where they will be prepared for adoption.  Borchard said burros generally adjust well to domestication and are adopted for use as pack animals, riding, pulling carts or wagons, guard animals for livestock, and as pets.   Information on adoption can be obtained by calling (760) 384-5765.

Borchard said BLM also plans to gather about 160 burros later this month from public lands in the Slate Range adjacent to Death Valley National Park and in  the Chemehuevi area near Needles.  He explained that BLM gathers wild horses and burros under provisions of the 1971 Wild, Free-roaming Horse and Burro Act.  The law requires BLM to protect, manage, and control wild horse and burro populations and to remove animals under specified conditions, including for public safety, for animals not living within established herd management areas, or those straying onto lands not covered under the Act, such as national parks and military reservations.

BLM analyzes the environmental impacts of these gathers through preparation of environmental assessments (EAs) which include public involvement.  Information on the Owl Hole EA is available from the Barstow Field Office, 2601 Barstow Road, Barstow, CA 92311, phone: (760) 252-6000.  Information on the EAs for other gathers is available from the Ridgecrest Field Office, 300 South Richmond Road, Ridgecrest, CA 93555, phone: (760) 384-5400.


California Desert District   22835 Calle San Juan de Los Lagos, Moreno Valley, CA 92553   

Last updated: 09-04-2009