The Story of Arizona’s Burro

Burros were first seen in southern Arizona in 1679. When gold was discovered at Gila City in 1858, prospectors from California and Sonora, Mexico came with burros to use as pack animals.

Burros became the legendary symbol of the old west for their important role in prospecting. They worked in the mines hauling ore, carried supplies, water, and even machinery into desolate mining camps.

By 1880 most all the mines were shut down and the mining camps were abandoned. Leaving the burros to fend for themselves on the barren and near waterless hills. Yet they flourished in Arizona’s harsh arid environment just as their free roaming ancestors did in the deserts of North Africa.

By the 1920’s the large number of burros roaming regions of Arizona were becoming a concern. Programs were soon created to contain the burro population. Practices that included destroying the animals, selling them as pets, or pet food.  Today, I pleased to say, these disturbing practices are illegal.

After the passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act in 1971, the BLM [Bureau of Land Management] became the managing agency responsible for protecting the wild burros and their habitat. The goal is to maintain the burro population at about 1,600 animals, a level that the desert habitat can support. Excess burros are offered to the public through the BLM’s Adopt a Horse or Burro Program.

A BLM Burro Round-Up

Our Beamer was a free-roaming 18 month old burro captured by the BLM. We adopted him soon after. Here he is the day we brought him home.

Beamer 18 months old

This is Beamer today… all 450 lbs of him! He’s happy here at the ranch, where he’ll  never have to look for food or fresh water again.

Beamer, 5 years old

amy elizabeth, TBN Ranch


About tbnranch

amy elizabeth, writer, author, antique dealer. Lives in the northeastern reaches of the Sonoran Desert on a small hobby farm.
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6 Responses to The Story of Arizona’s Burro

  1. tbnranch says:

    I’m in the city limits, so that would be a no go.

  2. Love that little guy! You ever think of doin’ a non profit burro rescue? It would allow you to seek funds first then add burro’s as the funds could afford them. 501c3’s allow for financial support to be divided between care, staff pay (you), vets, feed, future expenses and stall use cost. Just an Idea. The barn did one and it pays for everything including a yearly salary.

  3. bulldogsturf says:

    And Beamer sure looks happy in his home… is nature not wonderful that these abandoned animals still where able to survive … would we be able to..? some maybe, but certainly not all…

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