Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Wild Burros of the West

"Wild Burros, San Timoteo Canyon 7-12" by Don Graham

The Human-Animal Studies Lecture series will end next Monday, November 17th, with a talk from Craig Downer titled "The Natural Healers: Why Wild Horses Belong" at 7:00 p.m. in the Orton Center. Downer, a wildlife ecologist and author of The Wild Horse Conspiracy, will speak on the function of wild burros and horses in an ecosystem, as well as why these hoofed creatures should be designated as a native species.

The history of wild horse and burro protection is quite interesting. Velma Bronn Johnston, aka "Wild Horse Annie," lobbied for a law which would make the culling of horses and burros on federal land from aircraft and motorized vehicles illegal. This led to the Hunting Wild Horses and Burros on Public Land Act in 1959. Horse advocates continued to fight for more protection, which led to the passing of the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, which states that "wild free-roaming horses and burros are living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West..." 

Actually, nearby San Timoteo and Reche Canyons are home to bands of wild burros which roam the hills in the twilight and dark hours, nibbling on shrubs, grasses and the occasional citrus fruit. The burros have been a topic of discussion over the years in local presses (Press Enterprise, San Bernardino Sun, Redlands Daily Facts, etc.), since the canyons are used by motorists. Currently the speed limit is 50 mph and collisions with burros, sometimes fatal, have occurred due to poor lighting and unsafe driving speeds.

In preparation for the lecture this Monday, read up on wild horses and burros! Here are some gems from the Armacost Library collection:

Adopt a Wild Horse or Burro
Caring for America's Wild Horses and Burros: Fundamental Reforms, an Overview
Using Science to Improve the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program
Wild Horse Annie: Velma Johnston and Her Fight to Save the Mustang


Lua Gregory
First Year Experience Librarian
University of Redlands, Armacost Library

No comments :