The Bureau of Land Management wants public input on a plan that it says could reduce the size of Arizona’s burro herds.
The proposal calls for a select group of female burros in the Black Mountain Heard Management Area to be treated with an immunocontraceptive vaccine to see if it would be a “safe and effective” way to manage herd sizes on a larger scale. There are approximately 5,000 burros roaming public lands, a number that could double in the next four years if no measures are put in place to hamper their breeding, according to the BLM.
“It’s a pilot study to see if it’s an effective way to manage the herd. We’re not going to see immediate results of the program,” BLM public affairs specialist Lee Tucker said.
“Substantive” comments will be accepted through Aug. 15, 2016 that “either question with reasonable basis the accuracy of information or present new information relevant to the analysis.” Comments based on opinion or emotion will not be considered, a press release stated. The BLM does not consider the amount of comments on one particular issue pertinent when making a decision.
Mohave County District 5 Supervisor Steve Moss, who has been an outspoken advocate for better burro herd management, said he’s skeptical the proposal offers a timely and cost-effective solution. He said adoption programs should be “far more aggressive” to place burros in homes and reduce herds to a sustainable number.
Moss said there are currently tens of thousands of burros and wild horses waiting for adoption. He said each animal costs about $50,000 over its lifetime, and adoption fees can be costly.
“I think the federal government has to pencil out their numbers better,” Moss said. “The longer you put off the problem, the more draconian the solution.”
The environmental assessment titled DOI BLM-AZ-C010-2016-0004, as well as online comment submissions are available at: http://bit.ly/BLM-AZ-KFO-WildBurro
A printed copy is available for public review during business hours at the Kingman Field Office located at 2755 Mission Blvd, Kingman, AZ 86401.
Written comments may be mailed or delivered to the Bureau of Land Management, Kingman Field Office, 2755 Mission Blvd, Kingman, AZ 86401.
All comments will be made available to the public.