Burro Removal

Burro removal at Imperial and Cibola National Wildlife Refuges from approximately September 9, 2020 – October 10, 2020

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM), in partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Imperial National Wildlife Refuge and Cibola National Wildlife Refuge (refuges) will be implementing a removal of approximately 300 feral burros from the refuges and surrounding area. Baited corral traps will be used to humanely capture the burros, where they will be transported to the Florence Wild Horse and Burro Training and Off-Range Corral in Florence, Arizona. Refuge roads may be temporarily closed during this capture period to increase effectiveness of the work and for burro safety.

The Florence Wild Horse and Burro Training and Off-Range Corral facilitates Arizona’s Wild Horse Inmate Program started in 2012, as a partnership between BLM and the Arizona Department of Corrections, where inmates tame and train horses and burros to enhance adoptability. The goal is for people to adopt horses and burros where they can live out their lives with ample food, shelter, and care. More on this beneficial program can be viewed here: youtube.com/watch?v=YKKdvvIVqLA

Corral traps will be deployed starting on/about September 9 and will continue until 300 burros are captured. We anticipate this could take up to several weeks. The traps will be checked daily and all burros will be temporarily placed in a holding facility on/near the refuges where they will be cared for until they are transported to Florence. All operations will follow policy and procedures established to ensure safe, humane, and environmentally sound practices.

This project is being undertaken to reduce the number of feral burros on and adjacent to Imperial and Cibola National Wildlife Refuges. Burros cause significant long-term damage to habitat restoration sites, desert and riparian ecosystems, agricultural areas, archaeological sites, and wilderness, as well as safety hazards due to vehicular collisions on roadways. The number of burros in this area have chronically exceeded the designated Appropriate Management Level (AML).

“The refuges may experience temporary closures to ensure public safety and the safety of the burros. The end result of this project will prevent further habitat degradation, property damage, and improve public and staff safety from potential vehicle collisions”, said Brenda Zaun, Zone Biologist. “We really appreciate everyone’s patience as we undertake this important endeavor”.

Visitors may call Imperial National Wildlife Refuge at (928) 783-3371 or Cibola National Wildlife Refuge at (928) 857-3253 for up-to-date information on closures during this control effort.