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US Forest Service plans to relocate Wild Burros

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October 14, 2009 02:47PM
US Forest Service
San Bernardino National Forest
602 S. Tippecanoe Ave San Bernardino, CA 92408
Contact: John Miller (909) 382-2788

San Bernardino, Calif. October 13, 2009 - The Bureau of Land Management and US Forest Service are planning to conduct a round-up of burros in the Big Bear Valley. Wild burros gathered during the project will be moved into an adoption program run by the
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Ridgecrest. The BLM program offers the wild burros for adoption to those individuals and groups willing and able to provide humane, long-term care.

Over the past year, a herd of burros has moved from the National Forest lands east of Baldwin Lake into the residential areas of Erwin Lake and Sugarloaf. Living so close to people and our streets is not safe or healthy for burros or for people. Several burros have been injured and killed along Highway 38 in the last year. This herd of burros has also been causing damage to residential landscaping.

In 1997, the Forest Service gathered over 90 burros that had taken up residence in Big Bear’s neighborhoods, posing dangers to themselves and humans. Those burros had become extraordinarily tame because of human food handouts and eating trash and pet food. At that time, as many as 15-20 burros were hit and killed on Big Bear’s streets each year. After the 1997 roundup, the remaining burros moved back out into the “wild” part of the National Forest away from people. Over the past few years, however, some of the burros have moved back into town. The recent drought and good eating in Shay Meadow may be factors in causing this herd to move out of the National Forest.

The Forest Service hopes to capture the herd of burros that has decided that Shay Meadow is their home. This herd moves across Highway 38 into Sugarloaf and up to Wild Horse Meadows. We predict that the burros remaining after the roundup will retreat back into the woods and lower elevations.

Help our local Wild Burros

While it may be fun to see burros, having them in our neighborhoods is dangerous for them and for you. By providing food or water for them, you will entice burros into your neighborhoods where they can cause traffic accidents and property damage. It is important to discourage them from hanging around in town.

In order to protect our wild burros, it is critically important that Big Bear visitors and residents follow a few simple steps to help protect the burros:
  • Do not leave food or water out for them.
  • Secure your trash cans.
  • If you see burros in your neighborhood, gently chase them away.
  • Please report sightings to Robin Eliason at reliason@fs.fed.us or 909-382-2832.
Wild burros can be seen in the National Forest areas around Rose Mine, Juniper Springs, and Broom Flats east of Highway 38. The best time to see them is in the late afternoon/early evening or in the early morning.
Burro sightings can be reported to Robin Eliason at reliason@fs.fed.us or Marc Stamer at mstamer@fs.fed.us.

Wild Burro Background Information

Burros and horses were introduced to North America with the settlers. Over time, individual animals escaped and became wild, establishing wild herds throughout the west. By the early 1900s, there were several wild burro populations in the deserts of Southern California. According to several sources, our Big Bear burro population was most likely a result of the annual Old Miner’s Days burro race events. Until the early 1990s, the Old Miner’s Days featured a several-day long burro race through the forest. (These races were discontinued by the Old Miner’s Day committee in the mid-1990s due to concerns about animal protection). In the early days, the participants would go down to the desert, catch a burro, and bring it up to Big Bear for the race. Once the race was over, they would take their burros to the east end of the valley around Baldwin Lake and let them go. Over time, a herd of burros built up in that area.

In 1971, Congress passed a law – the Wild Horse and Burro Protection Act – that established management territories for burro and horse populations on National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands. At that time, our burro herd became federally protected and a management plan was written. A herd of 50-60 burros resided peacefully in the National Forest areas east of Erwin Lake, extending towards Rose Mine and Broom Flats. By the late 1980s, a number of the burros had moved into town and became accustomed to the easy life of picking through garbage, eating lush landscaping plants, sneaking dog food off back porches, and drinking from birdbaths. Many of our burros were so tame, you could hand-feed them. This life of luxury carried many dangers. As a result, by 1997 there were 15-20 burros killed on our streets and highways each year. We had burros die from suffocation after ingesting plastic bags and poisons in trash, while others were severely mauled or died of injuries from dog attacks.

As a result, the US Forest Service conducted a series of round-ups in the community. Over 90 burros from the residential areas of Big Bear were captured and adopted out through a program run by the Bureau of Land Management.

To learn more about the BLM’s adoption program for wild horses and burros, go to http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/wild_horse_and_burro.html or call 1-866-4mustangs.

US Forest Service plans to relocate Wild Burros

Rick2403October 14, 2009 02:47PM

Re: US Forest Service plans to relocate Wild Burros

Rick1095October 14, 2009 02:50PM

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