The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) plans to gather approximately 300 wild burros from BLM-administered and other lands within and near the Sinbad Herd Management Area (HMA) using the helicopter drive-trapping method. Population growth suppression GonaCon may be implemented to approximately 20 jennies to help stabilize the annual increase of animals being born on the Herd Management Area if the gather is successful and the population level is reduced down to within the appropriate management level.
All excess wild burros identified for removal will be transported to the Axtell Off-Range Contract Wild Burro Facility located in Axtell, Utah, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and prepared for the BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro Adoption and Sale Program.
The gather decision supports the BLM’s continuing efforts to remove excess wild burros within the Sinbad Herd Management Area and need to restore a thriving natural ecological balance. The current population of wild burros is in excess of established Appropriate Management Level that is authorized within the Herd Management Area. The current estimated population of 328 wild burros is 468% of the Appropriate Management Level established through the 2008 Price Resource Management Plan. In addition, analysis of ongoing monitoring data indicates that yearlong grazing use by wild burros is degrading rangeland health through heavy and severe utilization levels in localized areas.
In addition to degradation of the rangeland and lack of forage, the wild burros are also competing heavily with native wildlife which also depends on these areas for forage and water.
The BLM’s goal is to manage wild burro herds to achieve and maintain viable, vigorous, and stable populations with healthy individuals. The gather is necessary to remove excess wild burros and to bring the wild burro population to near the established Appropriate Management Level range (50-70 adults) and slow the population growth rate. In order to protect rangeland resources, as well as achieve and maintain a thriving natural ecological balance and multiple-use relationship between wild burros and other uses.
Opportunities are available for the public to observe daily helicopter operations through BLM-escorted tours so long as conditions remain safe for both the burros and participants and ensuring that gather operations are not disrupted. Observers must provide their own transportation, water, and food. No public restrooms will be available. The BLM recommends weather-appropriate footwear and neutral-colored clothing. Binoculars and four-wheel drive or other high-clearance vehicles are also strongly recommended (possible snowy and muddy conditions). Details on the BLM-escorted tours will be updated each evening during the gather and announced daily on the BLM gather hotline at (801) 539-4050.
Gather operations began on Saturday, April 30, and individuals should meet at the Gas-n-Go convenience store, 970 West Main Street, Green River, Utah where tours will depart at 5:30 a.m. MDT.
All excess wild burros identified for removal will be transported to the Axtell Off-Range Contract Wild Horse Facility located in Axtell, Utah where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program. Those that are not placed into a new home will be cared for in off-range pastures, where they live off the rest of their lives on grass pastures.
For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit the Wild Horse and Burro Program page.
Wild burros have occupied the San Rafael Swell area since the beginning of the Old Spanish Trail in the early 1800s. Early travelers would lose animals or have them run off by early native American tribes or transient livestock rustlers. Many of these animals were headed for California to be traded or sold and were of good sound stock lineage. The herd was also augmented through the release of domestic burros from local ranches, and burros released after their use in local uranium mines were no longer necessary.
The dominant colors of the burros within the Herd Management Area are black and grey. The burros on this Herd Management Area are average in size ranging from 400 to 500 pounds.
The Sinbad Herd Management Area is located 30 miles west of Green River. It extends up to 18 miles on both sides of l-70 from the San Rafael Reef to Eagle Canyon.
The Herd Management Area contains 89,465 acres of BLM lands and 9,776 acres of Federal, State, and privately owned land for a total of 99,241 acres.
The topography of the Herd Management Area is typical of the San Rafael Swell area, varying from extremely rough to level terrain on limestone benches. The steep sided mesas and deeply incised drainages in the northern and southeastern portions on the Herd Management Area create difficulties when gathering and removing excess burros. The wild burros primarily use the open benches and parks but do use wooded areas occasionally during inclement weather.
The Herd Management Area ranges from 4,400 to 7,000 feet in elevation and supports vegetation types ranging from pinyon and juniper woodland to desert shrub. The Pinion/Juniper vegetation type dominates the Herd Management Area and can be dense with minimal under story forage. Open grass parks have an understory of needle-and-thread grass and Indian ricegrass as the primary forage species.
The Herd Management Area has several undeveloped springs and seeps that are used as water sources by the wild burros, as well as 7 reservoirs, and many natural rock tanks across the area that catch and hold water. The San Rafael River, itself, is accessible in some locations.
Annual precipitation is approximately 8.5 inches, with an average 5 inches coming during the summer (May through September). Temperatures in the nearest town of Emery, Utah range from an average monthly high of 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer to 10 degrees in the winter.
Antelope, bighorn sheep, kit fox and many other wildlife species can be found within the Herd Management Area as well.
As of May 5, 2022
Animals Gathered: 153
153 Wild Burros (75 jacks, 67 Jennies, and 11 Foals)
Animals Shipped: 152
152 Wild Burros (74 jacks, 67 Jennies, and 11 Foals)
0 Wild Burros (0 Jacks, 0 Jennies, and 0 Foals)
-Sudden / Acute: 1
-Pre-existing / Chronic: 0
Scroll to the bottom of this gather page for detailed “Daily Gather Reports"