YUMA Ariz. – Across Arizona’s public land, burros are vastly overpopulated. An estimated 4400 live in the state. That is more than two times higher than it should be under the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act.
The free roaming donkeys are destructive to the desert habitat, disrupting other wildlife in the region.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has asked the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to release information regarding a plan to control the population.
“We really would like to find solutions moving forward working with BLM. We also recognize this is not an issue with the local BLM office. This is national level. They’re just not providing appropriate budgets or authority for the local folks to do their job,” Arizona Game and Fish Region 4 supervisor Pat Barber said.
Burros are protected from hunting by federal law. However, as their numbers double in size every four years, state officials say the federal government must step in.
“Under the act, there are several remedies when the populations get over. One of them, you’ll hear people talk about sometimes is euthanization or killing extra animals. That is unacceptable socially to a lot of people, and it’s highly controversial. We’re not advocating for that, but barring that the primary solution is to capture and remove the animals and put them up for adoption,” Barber said.
Officials say the damage these invasive creatures are causing is severe and long term.