42 Wild Burros Shot Dead in Mojave Desert, $58,000 Reward Posted for Identifying Killer

September 3, 2019 at 3:18 pm

Animal rights groups unite to find killer behind “senseless slaughter” of federally protected burros

A mysterious gunman has killed 42 of the Mojave Desert’s iconic burros in what is being called an “attack on the spirit of the American West.”

The US Bureau of Land Management, along with several animal rights groups, has posted a $58,000 reward for anyone who gives them information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer, the Washington Post reports.

The shooting spree began in May, and the death toll was up to 42 as of the end of August.

They were part of a group of about 120 wild burros that roamed the Clark Mountain Herd Area in San Bernardino County, California, near the Nevada border.

It’s believed to be the largest massacre of its kind on public land managed by the Bureau of Land Management in California, the agency said.

The penalty for harassing or killing the small donkeys is 1 year of jail time per animal, meaning the killer could spend 42 years in jail.

Burros have been the target of frustrated farmers and ranchers since the 1950s.

Mass shootings of the animals were common back then as the animals were competing with cows for grass.

But in 1971,the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act put an end to that, allowing the wild burro population of the Southwest to grow to about 16,000.

We will pursue every lead until we’ve arrested and prosecuted those responsible for these cruel, savage deaths,” William Perry Pendley, the bureau’s deputy director for policy and programs, said in a statement. He called the animals “an iconic part of the American West, and part of our national heritage.”