Burros in Big Bend State Park—a Dissenting View
By Pauline Singleton, GHHC Director
Burros are cute—there is no doubt about it. Their widespread appeal is understandable.
Nevertheless, their place in not running wild on our public lands. Our state parks should not be used to support herds of feral burros. In particular, the Big Bend area is too arid—too fragile--to bear this burden.
Many (and I am one of them) feel that state and national parks should be refuges for our native flora and fauna. If the burro population reaches a certain point, populations of some other species will almost ghhc.com.ebozavr.com certainly decline. Burros are not unique in that regard. Let white-tailed deer become too numerous, and songbird species go into decline. The white-tailed deer is a native species, of course, but we have removed the predators that keep its population in check.
I know what some will say.
There were equids on the North American continent during the Pleistocene Epoch.
Well, there also were camels and mastodons. No rational person would suggest that we bring camels and elephants to our parks and turn them loose to multiply, just because their remote ancestors roamed North America. They have been gone too long. Their return only disrupts ecosystems that have evolved without them over many millennia.
Does no one consider the disease aspect of this situation? Some of the burros in the Big Bend region no doubt come across the Rio Grande from Mexico.
Some of them could easily be infected with piroplasmosis or equine infectious anemia. No livestock should be allowed to wander across the border untested and freely roam about.
The alternative to killing the burros would be to capture and remove them. Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. will allow you to do that, if you want to save the animals. In my opinion, people should either go out there and remove the burros, or allow TPWD to do whatever it has to do to properly manage our natural resources. As everyone knows, our parks are short on cash these days. Their options are somewhat limited.
Our organization would have done well to invite someone from TPWD to come and present its side of this matter before taking a position. That was not done. This is disappointing.