BLM wants to unite the burros north of Lake Mead | Kingman Daily Miner
LAS VEGAS – The United States Bureau of Land Management offers to herd more than 500 wild donkeys in the desert north of Lake Mead.
Wild donkeys strip the land of vegetation and could die if the population is not managed along the Arizona-Nevada line, the agency said. He wants to bring most of them together to offer them for adoption.
If approved, the government also plans to temporarily sterilize other burros and herd the animals at other times over the next decade, the Las Vegas Sun reported.
No roundup date has been set. It could take years or as early as this fall if a historic drought in the western United States dries up enough plants and grass to force starvation conditions, agency documents say.
The proposal also includes the removal of a small herd of wild horses in the same area.
The Bureau of Land Management estimates that at least 554 burros and 36 horses live in the Lake Mead complex, an expanse of course covering approximately 291 square miles. It is one of the largest herds in Nevada.
The agency manages the complex with the National Park Service. The area can accommodate up to 98 burros and no horses, officials from the Bureau of Land Management said.
The animals reproduce exponentially and have few predators, and their demands mean food and water sources are unsustainable, the agency said in an EA draft in April.
“This is what we’re seeing statewide is that water is our limiting factor,” said Tabitha Romero, wild horse and donkey specialist in the Las Vegas office of the Bureau of Land Management. The initial roundup would reduce the population to 22 burros in the Gold Butte area, where the animals congregate.
The agency managed about 4,500 burros scattered across about two dozen herding areas in Nevada as of March 2020. Only about 800 can live sustainably in the state, officials said.
The animals were last rounded up at the Lake Mead complex in 2007, when 149 burros were removed and the population was largely wiped out near Searchlight. Across the river near Bullhead City, Ariz., The agency is cutting up to 500 burros, its fifth roundup in northwestern Arizona since 2017, the Sun reported.
If the Lake Mead roundup is approved, the office will use traps baited with food or water and helicopters to drive the animals into enclosures. Some females would receive a contraceptive injection before being released.
Animal rights activists want protections for wild burros and mustangs to live on the land.
Donkeys were a key part of Nevada’s mining heritage, carrying supplies to camps, hauling ore through mine shafts, and breeding with horses to produce the mules that pulled the wagons. They escaped their guards or were released when they were no longer needed.