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Wild Burros in the Desert

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Battle Mountain District, Tonopah Field Office will begin a wild burro gather on or about September 7, 2019 on the Bullfrog Herd Management Area (HMA) located near Beatty, Nevada. The purpose of the gather is to reduce overpopulation of wild burros within and outside the HMA, where excess wild burros are a nuisance in the town of Beatty and a safety risk along U.S. Highway 95, and to prevent further degradation of public lands by helping to balance herd size.

The BLM plans to gather and remove approximately 600 excess wild burros. A helicopter survey conducted May 28-29, 2019 documented 696 wild burros within and outside of the Bullfrog HMA. With unobserved burros and the recent foaling season, the BLM estimates there are currently 828 wild burros in the area – 909 percent of the established Appropriate Management Level (AML) of 58-91.Approximately 282 wild burros will remain in the HMA once gather operations are complete due to limited space in off-range holding facilities. The gather is expected to last 14 days, but may be extended up to an additional month to meet gather objectives. The BLM will conduct gather operations using temporary water and bait traps consisting of a series of corral panels stocked with water and hay; no helicopters will be used.

The overpopulation of burros within this area has resulted in public health and safety issues as burros travel near roadways. The high number of burros has also resulted in degradation of the landscape and negative impacts to other plant and wildlife species that share the habitat. Removing excess animals would enable progress toward achieving the Standards for Range land Health identified by the Mojave-Southern Great Basin Resource Advisory Council.

Bullfrog HMA consists of 157,180 acres and measures approximately 16 miles long by 18 miles wide.There are currently no approved grazing allotments on public lands in Bullfrog HMA. The AML Decisions and the Tonopah Resource Management Plan (1997) require the BLM to conduct gathers to achieve a level below AML that would allow for up to three years before the AML is reached.

The BLM’s priority is to conduct safe, efficient, and successful wild burro gather operations while ensuring humane care and treatment of all animals gathered. The BLM and its contractors will use the best available science and handling practices for wild burros while meeting overall gather goals and objectives in accordance with the Comprehensive Animal Welfare Policy.All gathered burros will be transported to the Axtell Off-Range Contract Facility in Axtell, Utah, where they will be checked by a veterinarian and readied for the BLM’s wild horse and burro Adoption and Sale Program. For information on how to adopt or purchase a wild horse or burro, visit www.blm.gov/whb.

Due to the nature of the bait and water trap method, wild burros are reluctant to approach the trap site when there is too much activity; therefore, only essential gather operations personnel will be allowed at the trap site during operations.The BLM is conducting the gather under the DOI-BLM-NV-B020-2011-0102 Bullfrog Herd Management Area Wild Burro Gather Plan Environmental Assessment decision signed on January 25,2012.

Access the Decision Record and determination of National Environmental Policy Act adequacy at:

https://eplanning.blm.gov/epl-front-office/eplanning/projectSummary.do?methodName=renderDefaultProjectSummary&projectId=109611.

Gather reports and additional information will be posted on the BLM website at:

https://blm.gov/programs/herd-management/gathers-and-removals/nevada/2019-bullfrog-wild-burro-gather .

For technical information, contact Wild Horse and Burro Specialist Elizabeth Freniere at 775-482-7842 or efreniere@blm.gov.

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