WASHINGTON — The reward being offered to identify, arrest and convict the person or people responsible for shooting over 40 federally protected wild burros in the Clark Mountain Herd Area of southern California is growing. The Humane Society of the United States is offering a reward of $2,500, and the Platero Project is offering a reward of up to $32,500, for information leading to the identification, arrest and conviction of those responsible for this crime. This reward adds to the existing rewards offered by the Bureau of Land Management ($10,000), the American Wild Horse Campaign ($2,500), Return to Freedom ($5,000) and The Cloud Foundation ($1,000) bringing the total to over $50,000.
The Case: Since May 2019, 42 wild burro carcasses with gunshot wounds have been found along the Interstate 15 corridor between Halloran Springs, California, and Primm, Nevada, in various states of decomposition. BLM law enforcement is leading the investigation into the illegal killings, in coordination with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
A Serious Crime: The wild burros living in the Clark Mountain Herd Area are federally protected under the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. The Act protects wild, free-roaming horses and burros from capture, branding, harassment or death, and considers them an integral part of the natural system of public lands managed by the BLM. Anyone arrested and found guilty of willfully violating a regulation issued pursuant to this Act shall be subject to a fine of not more than $2,000, or imprisonment for not more than one year, or both. These penalties can apply to each count charged.
Kitty Block, president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said, " We are deeply disturbed by this wanton crime and the senseless slaying of our nation’s wild burros. Together with the BLM and other organizations we are calling for swift justice for these heinous and indefensible crimes against animals. Anyone who is capable of this level of violence must be held accountable.”
The Investigators: Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call the WeTip hotline at 800-78CRIME (800-782-7463) or visit http://www.wetip.com. Callers may remain anonymous and be eligible for a reward for information leading to the arrest(s) and conviction(s) of any person or persons responsible for the deaths of these protected animals.
Resources: The Wild Horse and Burro program of the Humane Society of the United States works to promote and advocate for the humane and effective management of wild horses and burros on federal lands. The Platero Project is financed by an anonymous donor and a supplementary grant from the BLM and is named for the Spanish Nobel Laureate Juan Ramon Jimenez's beautiful book about a faithful and friendly burro named Platero. The HSUS is extremely grateful to the donor for the extraordinary contribution to the existing reward offer.
The HSUS works with state and federal wildlife agencies to offer rewards for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspected poachers. Other services include assistance with internet wildlife trafficking investigations, donation of robotic decoys and forensic equipment, funds to support wildlife K-9 programs, outreach to prosecutors to encourage vigorous prosecution of poachers and legislative work to strengthen penalties for poaching.