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Burros Slaughtered On California/Nevada Border Puzzle Investigators

(U.S. Bureau of Land Management via AP)

This undated photo provided by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management shows two feral burros in the Mojave Desert within the BLM's Needles, Calif., Field Office. Someone has been killing the wild burros of California's Mojave Desert, and the BLM is offering up to $10,000 to anyone who can help catch the culprit.

Someone or some people are shooting and killing burros along the Nevada-California border.

More than 40 wild burros, which are protected, have been killed since May. Many of the animals, the BLM says, have been shot from a distance as they were drinking water.

“Many of the burros were, unfortunately, found around their water sources, watering holes and springs, we also have evidence that they are being shot at from the highway but the investigation is ongoing,” Jason Lutterman, a spokesperson for the BLM, told KNPR's State of Nevada.

Lutterman said the burros, which are not native but were abandoned when cars became the main mode of transportation during the 1920s, are not as afraid of humans as other wildlife. 

He said people could approach them a little more easily than other animals. They do share the land with native species and livestock.

But Lutterman is at a loss as to who would kill the animals.

“I don’t know why somebody would do this. It’s definitely a heinous act,” he said.

The BLM initially offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction of whoever has been killing the docile animals. That reward has grown to $58,000 with money from donors.

Anyone with information about this investigation is asked to call the WeTip hotline at 800-78CRIME (800-782-7463) or visit

Burros are protected under federal law. Anyone caught killing the animals could be fined up to $2,000 and face up to a year in jail - per animal.


Jason Lutterman, BLM spokesman, Wild Horse And Burros Program

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Joe Schoenmann joined Nevada Public Radio in 2014. He works with a talented team of producers at State of Nevada who explore the casino industry, sports, politics, public health and everything in between.