They came to this country as pack animals and helped to build the West. Used by miners during the Gold Rush of the 1800s, many of these tough little donkeys were later abandoned, but found ways to survive some of the most extreme, unforgiving terrain in the American West. Resilient and able to feed on desert vegetation, herds of wild burros now face the same threats as wild horses.
We’re working with the Bureau of Land Management* to better understand how to manage wild burro populations using humane, non-lethal methods, such as fertility control, through initiatives like the Platero Project. Learn about the vaccine that’s helping us help wild burros and horses.
*The views and conclusions contained on this webpage are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing the opinions or policies of the U.S. Government. Mention of trade names or commercial products does not constitute their endorsement by the U.S. Government.
Burros get some of their water needs from their diet of desert plants, but they often go a long time without drinking. When they need to rehydrate, they will sometimes find and dig their own wells in the dry desert soil.
The Bureau of Land Management works to place excess animals into private care through its Adoption and Sales Programs. Many have found it personally challenging and rewarding to adopt or purchase a wild burro or horse; it is a chance to care for, and then own, a part of America’s heritage.