By Julie Giyer
Kern Valley Sun
Wild burros are being slaughtered in California’s Mojave Desert. A $58,500 reward has been offered for information leading to the identity and whereabouts of the shooter. Since May, 42 creatures have been gunned down near the Nevada border just off Interstate 15 in the Clark Mountain Herd Area that’s managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). There are roughly 120 animals within this area. For 50 years, wild donkeys have been federally protected under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, signed into law by Richard Nixon. Any person who harms or kills a wild horse or burro could be punished with up to a $2,000 fine or one year in prison. With 42 kills under his/her belt, the Mojave killer could face up to 42 years in prison and an $84,000 fine.
This is deemed an attack on the very spirit of the American West by The Washington Post. The events compromise the “largest massacre of its kind on public land managed by the U.S Bureau of Land Management in California.”
The authorities are uncertain of the killer(s) identity. One event included multiple adults and foals being cut down at a watering hole near Halloran Springs as they quenched their thirst. According to William Perry Pendley, Deputy Director for Policy and Programs at the BLM, “We will pursue every lead until we’ve arrested and prosecuted those responsible for these cruel, savage deaths.” “It’s a travesty that these animals would be gunned down. There’ve been isolated incidents before over the years, but nothing on this scale in memory.”
The BLM and a coalition of environmental groups have come together to offer the reward and bring the culprit(s) to justice. The groups committed to the reward so far include:
- The Platero Project: $32,000
- The Human Society of the United States: $2,500
- Lifesavers Wild Horse Rescue: $2,500
- Peaceful Valley Donkey Rescue: $2,500
- Bureau of Land Management: $10,000
- American Wild Horse Campaign: $2,500
- Return To Freedom: $5,000
- The Cloud Foundation; $1,000
Persons with information about this incident are urged to call the WeTip hotline at (800) 782-7463 or visit http://wetip.com.