Marietta Wild Burro Range (Nevada)

Marietta Wild Burro Range (Nevada)

In Western Nevada there’s apparently a BLM-sponsored burro sanctuary? The sign posted here gives directions, and the sign is just off of Highway 360 about a mile west of its junction with US 95, half way between Hawthorne and Tonopah. I didn’t follow the dirt roads described in the sign but in Sept 2013 did have a family group of burros adjacent to the paved road 360, west of the ghost towns of Belleville and Candelaira, well before 360 joins the Bishop road, which is Highway 6. I note the location simply as a factual matter, and do not endorse (nor condemn) the presence of feral equines on public range land. In a previous crossing I did have some pronghorn on the CA side of Highway 6, but not this trip. / Charles Hood, Palmdale, CA


  • PandaSmith

    I wonder what sort of species displacement occurs with burros in a habitat?

    • charleswhood

      The usual named victims of burros and feral horses are similarly sized mammals, eg deer, bighorn, and antelope. (Where the image was taken, deer are rare and bighorn do not occur.) As a guess, I would think that soil compaction around waterholes, straight out forage competition, and, probably, habitat alteration, all would impact ground-level mammals too, as well as sage grouse and sage thrashers. Humans are not-so-native introduced species too, and I suppose burros might do some hypothetical good, such as providing carrion for ravens when the do finally die or perhaps opening up paths in snowy terrain. Yet as a very general guess, one feral burro would eat 120 TONS of forage in a lifetime, all of which also has to come back out the other end (the ass’s ass, if I may be crude). They do have an impact, and their presence seems to me more an example of public sentimentality and Marlboro cigarette fantasy than good range management. That said, if feral camels had lasted into the present days, I probably would tick those on my list too. Charles Hood, Palmdale CA

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