2017 LAKE PLEASANT HMA BURRO STUDY WILD BURRO GATHER
Purpose of Gather:
To facilitate three concurrent wild burro studies in and near the Lake Pleasant Herd Management Area (LPHMA)
Details of Gather:
The BLM Phoenix District/Hassayampa Field Office began bait trapping burros in January 2017 to support research aimed at improving Lake Pleasant herd management. Bait trapping will continue until 100 wild burros are freeze marked and 55 jennies (female burros) are radio collared. Freeze marking allows identification of study burros from a safe distance in the field while radio collars provide movement information remotely. All marked and collared burros will be returned to the areas from which they were gathered.
These multi-year studies are being conducted by the United States Geological Survey and Arizona Game & Fish Department with results expected in 3 to 5 years. Information gained will improve our understanding of wild burro movement and demography (e.g. birth rate, natural mortality rate, herd health, etc.) in and around the LPHMA. The study will also test new aerial survey methods that have the potential to increase the accuracy of population estimates.
Additionally, there is a need to reduce the number of collisions between burros and vehicles in the vicinity of the LPHMA. At least 34 burro-vehicle collisions have occurred over the past two years, which represents a growing risk to public safety and animal welfare as burro populations are expected to increase resulting in range expansion and increased overlap with urban areas. Information from these studies will assist BLM and its partners in efforts to improve public safety, by reducing burro/vehicle collisions locally, while developing tools that will improve burro management across the west.
Bait/water trap gathers are not conducive to capture site viewing opportunities.
The gathered burros will be returned to the range.