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Cooperative animals bring quick end to Pahrump burro roundup

Updated January 2, 2018 - 5:51 pm

You probably won’t see it in any tourism campaigns, but Pahrump has dramatically reduced its population of jackasses.

The Bureau of Land Management quickly and easily conducted a burro roundup at the north end of Nye County’s largest town last week, thanks to cooperative group of mostly male captives.

The operation began Dec. 19 and was slated to last several weeks with a goal of collecting 75 nuisance burros. Instead, it took just five days of trapping over a 10-day period to collect 117 burros from the area about 70 miles west of Las Vegas. Thirty-nine burros were collected on the first night alone.

“It went really well,” said Tabitha Romero, wild horse and burro specialist for the BLM in Southern Nevada. “The nuisance problem I think we’ve got a handle on now.”

The BLM conducted the roundup to remove burros from the Johnnie herd management area north of Pahrump that had been roaming into town, damaging fences, water lines and vegetation on private property and causing a safety hazard on state Route 160.

Residents at one home in the area were providing water to the animals, which rewarded their generosity with increasingly aggressive behavior. “They said they’ve had jacks charge them,” Romero said.

It’s a good lesson for people living in areas frequented by wild animals: “If you want them to stay wild, you need to let them be wild,” Romero said. “People think they’re helping by dropping off a bale of hay, but what happens is (the animals) stop looking for food on their own.”

The burros were lured into corrals set up on private land and baited with food and water. The final tally included 74 adult males, 31 adult females and 12 foals.

All but one of the burros were safely transported to Ridgecrest Regional Wild Horse and Burro Corrals in California to be checked by a veterinarian and readied for adoption.

Romero said an approximately 30-year-old jenny — or female burro — in “really poor body condition” was euthanized after being trapped. She said the animal probably would not have survived the trip to Ridgecrest.

“She was pretty much at the end of it,” Romero said. “The poor thing, she was just a bag of bones.”

This was the first burro gather in the Johnnie herd area since December 2014.

Bureau officials estimate the area can sustainably support 108 burros, but more than 200 burros remain there after the roundup.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

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