Photo: Texas State Park Officials Went to Send the Wild West Burros Packing
Ask state park officials in Texas what they think about the wild burros that roam the “wild west” and they will likely scoff and tell you they are destroying the ecology of the environment where they roam, but ask the local residents, and many will tell you the burros are intelligent, friendly, and even make good pets. Some even point out that the burros help keep away the bobcats, coyotes, and any other predators that put the locals in dangers.
State Park officials say the burros, which are considered to be part of the country’s history, are a menace that come from Mexico, spreading disease, polluting streams and threatening native plants and other wildlife.
About 128 of these wild burros have been killed by park rangers, while about 200 still roam the 300,000-acre park.
Kevin Good, a special assistant with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department told USA Today, ‘Our mandate is to eliminate all invasive species we can. That’s our priority.’
Animal rights activists are calling for a stop to the shootings, saying that the plan of just shooting the wild animals is not well-thought-out, and should be stopped.
Burros who find their way into Big Bend National Park remain protected by federal law, so they are not shot.
Big Bend’s wildlife biologist Raymond Skiles says the burros are rounded up, checked for diseases, and sold to at livestock autctions.
‘We don’t shoot burros,’ he said.
Burros are not native to North America. They were brought here in the 16 century by Spanish conquistadors, and helped settlers cross the West.
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has this to say about the burros of the wild west:
The staff of TPWD is dedicated to the conservation of the fish and wildlife habitat in Texas and committed to working for the benefit of the public and the natural resources. Lethal control is not a pleasant method, but there is no viable alternative at this time.