Burro Stories for Burro Awareness Month
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org


American Wild Horse Preservation
May 2014

Learn more about burros here: Burrow Awareness: Celebrating the American Wild Burro.

Burros are amazing, hardy animals who manage to survive under the harshest conditions. Sadly, just like their wild horse cousins, they cling to a tenuous existence in a shrinking habitat on our public lands and struggle under a management program that rounds them up and removes them from their homes on the range in the American West.

During the month of May, we celebrate burros, the lesser known of the two species managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). Just like wild horses, wild free-roaming burros face many hardships, including ever-shrinking habitat and a federal "management" program that rounds them up in large numbers and removes them from the range to keep burro populations artificially low.

Following are collected stories from American Wild Horse Preservation supporters about some beloved burros...

Wild Girl

wild burroFor many years Wild Girl often came here, wandering in from out of the desert that originally was Joshua Tree National Monument and later Joshua Tree National Park. She'd come in after sunset and stay until dawn visiting with our mules and horses. No one seems to know how she wound up in the Park. There is mention of her in the book by Patty A Furbish, On Foot In Joshua Tree National Monument.

In 1998 during the El Nino Year with its rich grasses, she foundered terribly. We had not seen her for weeks when she slowly hobbled into our place, ill and very lame. My cowgirl friend, Jo, and I loaded her into a stock trailer. We drove her to our equine vet for treatment. She became much improved although she was always plagued with a chronic condition that would flare up from time to time requiring treatment.

We never really tried to tame her, she was already fairly old when she decided to call us her family. We let her roam free on our property figuring that free roaming exercise was better for her anyway. I was able to put her in a stall in the barn to halter her when it was time for our farrier to trim her feet. That, and an occasional scratch on the withers was about all of the human contact she tolerated. She enjoyed spending time with our stock. She would often initiate games of play with our huge Mammoth Donkey, Jubal. It was quite a sight to see, Wild Girl running and bucking on the outside perimeter of the arena and Jubal inside, following and imitating her every move. This past winter was a hard one for her, even being kept warm and dry inside the barn. She was very old and it seemed to us her time was near. She crossed the Rainbow Bridge April 24, 2010.

Note: We are able to assess Wild Girl's approximate birth date by the BLM brand on her neck. According to a long time BLM ranger who worked with the wild horse and burro program, the particular brand she had was only used between 1970-1973. -Roberta Frederick

BLM Burros

wild burroMy husband and I took a trip around the country four years ago and we made a stop at a few BLM holding facilities on our journey.

At one of these, I spent a lot of time at the burro pen and realized how precious these creatures truly are.

They are as important to our past as the mustang and should be allowed to run free. - Jeannine Benson

Parker Dam Burros

wild burroI visited the area of Parker Dam 2 weeks ago and happened to come across these three burros on a hike in the wash behind the dam area. It took an hour, but curiosity finally got the best of the little one and she came to within 10 feet of me. I wanted to sit down to appear less threatening, but every time I started to sit under a nearby tree they’d wheel on their hindquarters and trot away! It was only when I stood quietly and turned slightly away from them that they would approach. I slowly turned toward them and took these shots.

I never got to touch that velvety nose- but was so happy to have had an hour of burro company. This was my first experience seeing burros in the wild – what a wonderful opportunity. - Ashleigh Oliver


wild burroThis is my boy Zeke at an elementary school event many years ago, before his gray hairs came in! I have loved and lived with standard size burros, but currently Zeke, a 'mini', is loved and adored by all who know him!

He has been to therapeutic riding barns, schools, and parades. He is lamost 20 years old with lots of years left!

I will never forget the day I brought him home in the back of my Ford van, he was a 2 year old Jack, and gently hung his head over the back seat to visit with my 4 year old daughter. - Janis


wild burroThe windswept range of the California desert may seem empty to the naked eye. But to a small gray burro and other members of his herd, it was home. In September of 2012, he was captured along with other wild burros and horses and transported to a government holding facility. There he remained, scared, confused and no longer free, in an overcrowded, dusty pen.

During the next twelve months, the small burro was placed up for adoption three times. Each time, no one chose him. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) relegates unadopted burros and horses to “Sale Authority” meaning that whoever buys these animals for a mere $25, must sign a contract that they will not knowingly sell the animal for slaughter. But according to the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign (AWHPC) since September of 2012, the BLM has sold 1,700 wild horses to a known horse slaughterer. The little gray burro had run out of options. Thankfully, AWHPC and The Platero Project contacted the Center for Animal Protection & Education (CAPE) to see if the CAPE Animal Sanctuary in Grass Valley, California, could give him a forever home.

On September 9, 2013 JP Novic, Bryan Coleman and Gary McFall drove to Reno, Nevada where they picked up the little burro (now named Platero) and trailered him to the CAPE sanctuary. Today, Platero, along with other rescued burros, live on a grassy, oak tree studded meadow. Although extremely shy at first, Platero has gained confidence and now enjoys nose pets and treats given to him by the CAPE volunteers who visit him each day. - The Center for Animal Protection and Education (CAPE)

Peace River Sanctuary

wild burro

This photograph was taken several years ago when the Peace River Sanctuary was located in Zolfo Springs, FL. He is the cutest burro I think I’ve ever seen and was so very friendly. It looks like he was into some saw dust but none could be found! His fur was just as curly and fluffy as it looks in the photo. I haven’t seen too many burros like that before! - Barbara Turner

Violet and Daisy

Just want to tell you what wonderful beings these burros are -- sweet natured and fun to be with. These two are jennies, Violet (dark brown) and Daisy (grey,) 2 years old and our best buddies.

wild burro Violet Daisy

 They make fabulous companions so care for them, help them, and adopt them! Most of all just love them - it is so easy. - Suzanne deVaucenne Cat's Meow Shelter Zionsville, IN


This is our BLM adopted burro Sierra, with our granddaughters Elaine and Ashley. 

wild burro Sierra

She is a wonderful addition to our family. - Marjorie McIlhenney 

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