The time is ripe to speak for our burros

Cross-posted from The PPJ Gazette ™ PPJ Gazette™ PPJG ™ PPJ including copyright

June 3, 2012 by ppjg

Louie Crocroft/PPJ Contributor


The Interior Board of Land Appeals (IBLA) complaint decision has not been given by the judge yet but the “stay” has been denied and BLM will start capturing about 350 wild burros from the Cibalo-Trigo HMA (south-western Arizona) on MONDAY, June 4th.

According to a recent article by videographer Carl Mrozek and based on his personal observations of the burros, there were no foals to be seen and only jacks (male burros) to be found in this area.

Link to Carl Mrozek video of burros – believe near Cibalo-Trigo area of AZ 2010 capture.

Please read the information below about the Wild Ass (burro, donkey) which is listed as an endangered species “where found” and then contact the BLM and request they refrain from capturing these burros until the IBLA judge has digested the scientific data and made a legal decision.

BLM contact information:

Colorado River District
Roxie Trost, District Manager
Yuma Field Office
John MacDonald, Field Manager
2555 East Gila Ridge Road
Yuma, AZ 85365
Phone: 928-317-3200
Fax 928-317-3250

And Contact the :

Interior Board of Land Appeals
801 North Quincy Street, Suite 300

Arlington, Virginia 22203

And refer to IBLA 2012-143

And POLITELY ask the judge to take a hard look at the two scientific documents (#1 and #2 in this article) before making his/her decision on this very important issue.

Below are three pieces of legal documentation.  The first two are scientific and the third was written by the acting director of the Fish and Wildlife Service in 1977 as a “notice” which was obvously a politically driven decision and not science. Although the first two scientific documents state that the wild burro is on the endangered species list, it is the notice (#3) that the BLM is using to persuade the IBLA judge that the wild burros are not included in the endangered species listing.

The notice (#3 below) was written by F. Eugene Hester who, in a seperate document/speech had this comment, “Political influences will shape our future responsibilities and alter our priorities” This statement and attitude explains that his decision was based on “political influences” and not science as the first two documents are. [Ref. Eastern Wildlife Damage Control Conference, 9-22-1985, F. Eugene Hester, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service]

The Honorable U.S. District Judge Beryl A. Howell stated in her 23-page opinion that the agency [BLM] “may not simply remain studiously ignorant of material scientific evidence …” and yet we see numerous examples that the BLM decisions are not science based.


Species Profile

African Wild ass (Equus asinus)

Kingdom: Animalia

Class: Mammalia

Order: Perissodactyla

Family: Equidae

Listing Status:  Endangered


Equus asinus species is endangered and clearly listed as endangered WHERE FOUNDand the Endangered Species Act does not make any reference to exclude species that may or may not be found on other than a historical country or area – thus this includes the United States of America and all states and all American lands.  The following link was published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service species profile.

The U.S. Interagency published document by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is a partnership designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species. ITIS was originally formed in 1996 as an interagency group within the U.S. federal government, involving several US Federal agencies and has now become an international body, with Canadian and Mexican government agencies participating. The database draws from a large community of taxonomic experts. Primary content staff are housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and ITIS services are provided by a US Geological Survey facility in Denver.

Equus asinus  Linnaeus, 1758
Taxonomic Serial No.: 180690
Top of Form
Taxonomy and Nomenclature Kingdom: Animalia                                                                                          Taxonomic Rank: Species
Synonym(s):   Common Name(s):African wild ass [English]   ass [English]   burro [English]burro (feral) [English]
Taxonomic Status:  Current Standing: valid
Data Quality Indicators:    Record Credibility Rating:  verified – standards met

Taxonomic Hierarchy

Kingdom Animalia– Animal, animals, animaux
PhylumChordata  – chordates, cordado, cordés
SubphylumVertebrata  – vertebrado, vertebrates, vertébrés
ClassMammalia Linnaeus, 1758 – mamífero, mammals, mammifères
Subclass Theria Parker and Haswell, 1897
InfraclassEutheria Gill, 1872
Order Perissodactyla Owen, 1848 – antas, odd-toed ungulates
Family Equidae Gray, 1821 – asses, horses, zebras
Genus Equus Linnaeus, 1758 – horses
Species Equus asinus Linnaeus, 1758 – African wild ass, ass, burro, burro (feral)

Expert: Alfred L. Gardner
Notes:Curator of North American mammals and Chief of Mammal Section, National Biological Service, Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC, USA

Reference for: Equus asinus
Expert: Peter Grubb
Notes:35 Downhills Park Road, London N17 6PE, England   Reference for: Equus asinus

Other Source(s):
Source: Mammal Species of the World, website (version undefined) Acquired:1998

Reference for: Equus asinus
Source: NODC Taxonomic Code, database (version 8.0)
Acquired:1996   Notes: Reference for :Equus asinus
Source:U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Endangered Species Program-05/01, website (version undefined)
Acquired: 2001

Reference for: Equus asinus

Author(s)/Editor(s):Banks, R. C., R. W. McDiarmid, A. L. Gardner, and W. C. Starnes
Publication Date:2003
Article/Chapter Title: Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.:Checklist of Vertebrates of the United States, the U.S. Territories, and Canada   Page(s):
Publisher:   Publication Place: ISBN/ISSN:
Notes:As-yet (2003) unpublished manuscript from 1998
Reference for: Equus asinus

Author(s)/Editor(s):Banks, R. C., R. W. McDiarmid, and A. L. Gardner
Publication Date: 1987
Article/Chapter Title: Checklist of Vertebrates of the United States, the U.S. Territories, and Canada   Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.:Resource Publication, no. 166   Page(s):79

Publisher:United States Department of the Interior Fish and Wildlife Service
Publication Place:Washington, D.C., USA   ISBN/ISSN:
Notes:   Reference for:Equus asinus
Author(s)/Editor(s): Wilson, Don E., and DeeAnn M. Reeder, eds.
Publication Date:1993   Article/Chapter Title: Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.:Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference, 2nd ed., 3rd printing   Page(s):xviii + 1207


Smithsonian Institution Press  Publication Place: Washington, DC, USA   ISBN/ISSN:1-56098-217-9
Notes: Corrections were made to text at 3rd printing
Reference for: Equus asinus                                                                                                                                               Author(s)/Editor(s):Wilson, Don E., and F. Russell Cole
Publication Date: 2000
Article/Chapter Title: Journal/Book Name, Vol. No.:Common Names of Mammals of the World  Page(s):xiv + 204

Smithsonian Institution Press
Publication Place: Washington, DC, USA   ISBN/ISSN:1-56098-383-3
Notes:With contributions by Bernadette N. Graham, Adam P. Potter, and Mariana M. Upmeyer
Reference for:Equus asinus , ass[English]

This online publication includes the following statement: “(e) The historic range indicates the known general distribution of the species or subspecies as reported in the current scientific literature. The present distribution may be greatly reduced from this historic range. This [column] does not imply any limitation on the application of the prohibitions in the Act or implementing rules. Such prohibitions apply to all individuals of the species, wherever found.”


Fish and Wildlife Service

Notice of Clarification of Status of Wild Burros
(emphasis added)

This notice is issued by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service in order to clarify the status of the wild burro under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. (16 U.S.C. 00 1531-43) tSupp V)

(hereinafter the 1973 Act). It has recently been determined that confusion exists concerning the relationship between the burros in this country and the African wild ass (Equus asinus), an endangered species. For the reasons set forth below, it is the conclusion of the Service that the American population of burros has never been listed under the 1973 Act or any of its predecessors.
The problem recently arose when taxonomic similarities were noted between the African wild ass and the wild burro, an exotic species introduced out west during the earlier development of our country. Further taxonomic investigation indicated that the burro and the African wild ass were in fact the same species. This conclusion does not support the inference, however, that the western wild burro is presently listed as an endangered species.
The first endangered species act was passed in 1966 and was limited in scope to “native” or resident species of fish or wildlife threatened with extinction. (Public Law 89-669,80 Stat 926) (hereinafter the 1966 Act). Section l(c) of the 1966 Act stated that native species of fish or wildlife could be regarded as endangered if the Secretary of the Interior found after consultation with the affected States, that their existence was threatened because of certain enumerated factors. The Secretary was directed to publish in the Federal Register a list of those native species determined by the Secretary to be endangered. Such a list was published on March 8.1969 at 34 FR 5034 without a reference to either the wild burro or Equus asinus. Nor were any of the “affected” western States ever consulted over the possible listing of the wild burro as an endangered species.
The Endangered Species Conservation Act of 1969. (Public Law 91-135, 83 Stat.2’75) (hereinafter the 1969 Act); expanded the 1966 Act by authorizing the listing of foreign species of fish or wildlife which were threatened with worldwide extinction. A proposed rulemaking on April [illegible] … 5 FR 6060, the Secretary set forth the original list of endangered foreign species. Appendix A, entitled “Secretary of the Interior’s List of Species and Subspecies Threatened With Extinction in Other Countries”, contained the following entries:

Common name Scientific name Where found
Somali wild ass. Equus asinus mmalinu. Ethiopia, Somalia
Nubian wild ass Equus asinus africanus Ethiopia

When the final rulemaking for the foreign list was published on June 2, 1970, 35 FR 8491, Appendix A was retitled to read “United States List of Endangered Foreign Fish and Wildlife.”

The above entries were condensed into one:

Common name: Scientific name: Where found
African wild ass Equus asinus Ethiopia, Somalia, Sedan

It is interesting to note that for those Appendix A species which included resident populations in the United States, the “where found” entry included a specific reference to the United States. Thus the entry for the whooping crane read as follows:

Common name Scientific name Where found
Whooping crane Grus americanus Canada, United States

The entry for the African wild ass contained no such reference to the United States, and hence is additional evidence that the native population of wild burros was never considered for listing under the 1969 Act.
This conclusion is further supported by the first list of native endangered species developed under the 1969 Act. Published as a proposed rulemaking on August 25. 1970.35 FR 13519, and a final rulemaking on October 13, 1970. 35 FR 16047, the native list was again devoid of any mention of the wild burro or Equus asinus.
Except in very limited circumstances, the 1973 Act retained the lists published under the 1969 Act. The new Act also abandoned the distinction between native and foreign lists and a combined list was eventually published on September 26, 1975 at 49 FR 44412.

The present listing for the African Wild ass is as follows :
Common name

Scientific name

Known distribution Portion of range where endangered
Ass, African wild ass Epuus asinus. Ethiopia, Somafia, Sudan Entire

The existing confusion over the status of the wild burro stems from the fact that the present listing for Equus asinus covers its entire range and is not specifically limited to the African population in Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. Thus, the “population” column for the African wild ass entry contains the notation “N/A” for “not applicable.” This was quite logical when the list was published in September of 1975 because the African population was the only known one in existence, as evidenced by the reference to Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan under the “known distribution” column There was no need, therefore, to be specifically selective in the listing process since the African population was synonymous with the entire known range of the African wild ass. The Service only utilizes the population concept in listing when it deems it necessary to discriminate between two or more known populations of a particular species. This was simply not the case with the African wild ass in September of 1975.

In summary. it has been clearly shown that throughout the entire listing and relisting process under three endangered species acts, the western wild burro has never been considered for
designation as an endangered species. Equus asinus has always been treated administratively as a foreign species and was never included on a native list of endangered species. Furthermore, the procedural requirements for consultation with affected States during the listing of a native species were never complied with. An undesignated native populationof a listed foreign species cannot be bootstrapped into coverage under the 1973 Act because of a clerical ambiguity with the list.

Congress, itself, has implicitly recognized the unlisted status of the wild burro with the passage in 1971 of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act (16 U.S.C. 89 1331-40) (Supp. V).

Throughout the entire legislative history of the Act, there is not a single reference to the wild burro’s classification as an endangered species. Congressional silence on this matter would have been highly unlikely if the wild burro had been actually listed under the 1969 Act.
The Service intends to correct the technical deficiency of the present entry for the African wild ass when it republishes the updated list of endangered and threatened species in the fall. The
word “Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan” will be inserted under the “population” column in place of the present letters “N/A”. This will be a purely clerical modification and in no way should be interpreted as evidence that the burro is presently listed under the 19??(illegible) Act.

Dated: March 11,1977.
Acting Director, United States Fish and Wildlife Service
(FR Doc.77-8741 Filed 3-23-77;8:45 am)

My personal research has made it obvious to me and as you can see for yourself from the above scientific documentation, BLM’s decisions are heavily influenced by unscientific political considerations and failure to take a “hard look” at the science as is required by law. This must be stopped!


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