2018 Piute Mountain Wild Burro Gather

Gather Complete

Purpose of Gather:Wild Horse and Burro Logo

BLM California Desert District, Needles Field Office conducted a bait-trap gather using water to capture and remove up to 60 excess wild burros within the Piute Mountain Herd Area due to lack of water. A helicopter population survey conducted on May 19, 2018 observed that Fenner Spring, which is the only water source within the herd area for up to 80 wild burros, had receded to a 4'x4' mud/water hole from a 10'x10' shallow pond. 

Due to the unpredictable variations of the water output of the spring, expected summer daily temperatures exceeding 1000 F in drought conditions, and the burros dependency on this sole water source to survive, BLM removed burros from the Piute Mountain HA.

Details of Gather:

The office of jurisdiction is the Needles, California BLM Field Office.  

Utilizing water/bait trapping method conducted by the BLM’s Ridgecrest Wild Horse and Burro gather crew, the trapping effort began on June 28. After gathering 41 burros, recent monsoonal rains were found to be sufficient enough to recharge the spring and support the remaining burros in the area.  The spring and remaining burros will be monitored to see if follow-up actions are necessary.

Public Observation: 

The BLM will conducted this operation by using temporary water and bait traps consisting of a series of corral panels stocked with water; no helicopters were  used.  Because of the nature of the bait and water trap method, wild burros are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity; therefore, only essential gather operation personnel were allowed at the trap site during operations.

Adoption Information: 

Burros removed from the Piute Herd Area will be made available for adoption at the Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Holding and Adoption Facility through the Wild Horse and Burro Adoption / Sales Program.

More information on the availability of these burros can be obtained from the Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Holding and Adoption Facility at 760-385-5765.

For information on how to adopt a burro, visit http://www.blm.gov/whb or contact the BLM at wildhorse@blm.gov or 866-468-7826. 

Background:

On May 19, 2018, a helicopter survey visually observed 41 burros in the Piute Mountain HA. On the survey, it was determined that the Fenner Spring, the only perennial water source for the burros and other wildlife for the Piute Mountains, had receded to the point that 11 burros were standing at the spring/seep waiting for an opportunity to drink.

On May 20, 2018, a survey team member hiked to the spring to evaluate conditions. The spring was found to be a two foot by two foot mud/water hole along the left side of the cut bank. The water hole was enlarged by shovel to a five foot by four foot by one half foot catch basin.

On May 23, 2018, Needles Field Office staff members returned to Fenner Spring and observed 13 animals unitizing the area and calculated that the spring was holding approximately 2 cubic feet of water, which is the equivalent of 15 gallons.

A burro may drink between 5 -10 gallons of water daily.  To support the known population of 41 burros in the area, a minimum of 200 gallons of water would be required daily.

On May 24, 2018, Needles Field Office and Ridgecrest Wild Horse and Burro staff members placed a 700 gallon water trough and five 75 gallon troughs to provide the burros and wildlife alternative water sources.  The Needles Field Office staff is currently monitoring and filling the troughs.

The Piute Mountain Herd Area is not managed as a herd management area due to the recovery of the desert tortoise and cultural and bighorn sheep concerns. The BLM does not actively manage for populations of wild horses and burros in herd areas. The Northern and Eastern Colorado Desert Coordinated Management Plan (2002) amending the California Desert Conservation Area (CDCA) Plan (1980) addressed the Piute Mountain HA and did not change the management objectives from the CDCA Plan.

Gather Reports

Friday, August 3

Summary: Bait-trap operations continue. 

Animals gathered: 1 wild burro
Animals shipped: 0 wild burros
Total deaths today: 0
Acute: 
Chronic/Pre-existing: 

Thursday, August 2

Summary: Bait-trap operations continue. 

Animals gathered: 9 wild burro
Animals shipped: 0 wild burros
Total deaths today: 0
Acute: 
Chronic/Pre-existing: 

Friday, July 6

Summary: Bait-trap operations continue. 

Animals gathered: 1 wild burro
Animals shipped: 1 wild burros
Total deaths today: 0
Acute: 
Chronic/Pre-existing: 

Monday, July 2

Summary: Bait-trap operations continue. 

Animals gathered: 1 wild burro
Animals shipped: 1 wild burro
Total deaths today: 0
Acute: 
Chronic/Pre-existing: 

Friday, June 29

Summary: Bait-trap operations begin. 

Animals gathered: 29 wild burros
Animals shipped: 29 wild burros
Total deaths today: 0
Acute: 
Chronic/Pre-existing: 

Cumulative Totals

August 3, 2018

Animals Gathered
41 wild burros

Animals Returned to Home Range
0

Animal Deaths
Pre-existing: 0
Acute: 0

Downloads

Official gather documents can be accessed on ePlanning