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BLM Plans Fertility Controls For Mohave County Wild Burro Herd


The Bureau of Land Management has proposed reducing the wild burro population in Mohave County through fertility controls. They say the animal’s numbers are four times the sustainable amount, creating ecological and other hazards. KNAU’s Ryan Heinsius reports.

The BLM will accept public comments through April 1st on its plan to use contraceptives on the animals, along with sex-ratio adjustments and periodic removal of burros over 10 years.

The BLMestimates the burro population in the Black Mountain Herd Management Area is nearly 2,200. The animals trample habitat and native vegetation and cause other damage to public and private property. Officials also say burros suffer from thirst and starvation because of overpopulation and create hazards on roads and highways.

Wild burros received federal protection in 1971, but their numbers have since exploded. The BLM estimates as of last year there are nearly 7,000 wild burros in Arizona and 16,000 nationwide.

Burro fertility control is backed by the Humane Society and American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Ryan Heinsius joined the KNAU newsroom as executive producer in 2013 and was named news director and managing editor in 2024. As a reporter, he has covered a broad range of stories from local, state and tribal politics to education, economy, energy and public lands issues, and frequently interviews internationally known and regional musicians. Ryan is an Edward R. Murrow Award winner and a Public Media Journalists Association Award winner, and a frequent contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered and national newscast.
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