he Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue (PVDR) has entered into a 5-year agreement with the National Park Service (NPS) to relocate approximately 2,500 wild burros from Death Valley State Park and the Mojave National Preserve.
“Burros are not part of the natural California desert ecosystem,” said Mike Reynolds, superintendent of Death Valley National Park. “They damage springs and vegetation. They compete for food and water with native animals, such as desert bighorn sheep. In addition, they are a safety hazard to visitors on park roadways. With this partnership, we have created a win-win situation for the burros, the park, and taxpayers.”
For nearly two decades, PVDR, headquartered in San Angelo, Texas, has become the largest rescue of its kind. With our mission of providing safe and loving environments to all donkeys that have been abused, neglected, abandoned, as well as wild burros under the threat of destruction, PVDR has rescued nearly 9,000 donkeys and counting. At PVDR, we believe that every donkey matters and that includes the wild burros of the American Southwest.
In line with our mission, these wild burros will be captured in the least stressful, most humane ways and will either enter into our nation-wide, highly vetted adoption system or live out their lives on one of our many sanctuaries.
“Our main objective is to protect our Wild Burros,” says PVDR Executive Director, Mark Meyers, “If they must be removed, we want to ensure that it is done safely with as little stress possible.”
In addition to the relocation of burros from the national parks, PVDR has also been tasked with the management of wild burro herds in over 1.4 million acres of surrounding areas including the Mojave National Preserve, Fort Irwin US Army Training Center, China Lake Naval Weapons Center, NASA Goldstone Deep Space Communications, Parashant National Monument and many others where the burros have been deemed a nuisance by the land’s administrators. Herd management may include the use of sterilization, birth control, and removal of nuisance or unhealthy burros while also gathering important understanding and research so that the herds in these areas can remain wild and free while also remaining safe.
PVDR engages two research teams dedicated to the betterment of burro management. The Veterinary Team, headed by Eric Davis, DVM, will study the health issues faced by both wild burros and their transition to domestic life. The Environmental Team, headed by doctoral student Erick Lundgren, will study the positive and negative effects of burros on the desert ecosystem.
Wild burros have no natural predators in the U.S. except the threat of starvation when their herds are left to overpopulate. That, combined with the NPS’s zero wild horse and burro policy in the national parks, PVDR is in a unique position to help like no other organization or governmental entity. Not only are we experts in our field but we love all donkeys and will never stray from our mission to keep them safe, healthy, and happy. Additionally, our work will only be funded by private donors, grants, and foundations—no tax payer money will be used at any time on any of these projects.
We have a chance to save these beautiful and misunderstood creatures from destruction while also saving the lands in which they never asked to be brought in the first place. Wild burros built our country. It’s time to show them the gratitude they so deserve.