ST. GEORGE — The Bureau of Land Management Arizona Strip District has begun the process of gathering up to 40 wild burros near Seven Springs Ranch.
The burros are being gathered because they wandered off the Tassi-Gold Butte Herd Management Area and onto the Seven Springs Ranch, which is privately-owned property within the management area.
The space is located in northwest Arizona, about 60 miles southwest of St. George.
The burros have reportedly damaged some of the springs and grounds on the property, and the BLM was awarded a contract to gather and sell the burros on Monday, said Dolores Garcia, public affairs specialist for the BLM Arizona State Office.
“We work very closely to do an evaluation so that we can get those herd management areas to the capacity that is sustainable for the wild burro population as well as making sure that we’re not impacting, negatively, private property,” she said.
The burros will be gathered using a bait trap, in which they will place water and either hay or alfalfa in a small, partially fenced corral to draw the burros in. When the burros enter the area to eat the bait, a gate will close behind them, trapping them so they can be gathered and brought to the Florence Wild Horse and Burro Training and Off-Range Corral in Florence, Arizona. That’s where they will then be adopted out through the BLM’s Adoption and Sale Program.
A contractor working with the BLM is currently in the process of building the bait trap, and the gather is expected to continue through September.
The burros will be treated humanely in compliance with the BLM’s Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy. After being gathered, the burrows will be seen by a veterinarian. The burros will not be given fertility treatments during this gather.
The number of burros that the Tassi-Gold Butte Herd Management Area can support, according to the appropriate management level identified in 2008, is zero. According to a 2017 survey of the area, approximately 125 burros were counted. The current gather will only remove 40 of those burros from the area.
Mark Wimmer, manager of the BLM’s Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, said that it is fairly common for the number of animals to be higher than the appropriate management level identified.
“It’s not uncommon to have a zero, but still have burros based on funding and availability to get them out,” Wimmer said. “It just depends on priorities and then where the funding goes.”
Once the gather is underway, updates regarding the number of burros taken will be posted on the BLM’s Seven Springs Ranch Wild Burro Gather website.
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