Four weeks after a social media campaign was launched to block a government effort to ship 100 wild American burros to Guatemala, some 75 people have stepped forward to purchase the adorable equines, thus keeping them on US soil, says Elaine Nash, founder of Keep America’s Wild Equines in America.
“We launched the campaign on Aug. 25 after a BLM (Bureau of Land Management) advisory meeting in Wyoming (announced) a plan to ship 100 wild burros to Guatemala to be beasts of burden,” Nash says. “We started to do some research on how burros are treated in Guatemala, and could hardly come up with one picture that didn’t show them suffering; they were pitiful looking, worn down, starving, and so overloaded by their loads of bricks or produce that they could hardly stand.”
The longtime horse advocate years ago launched the successful and growing equine transportation network Fleet of Angels, which connects endangered horses who need a ride to a shipper who can drive them to safety. Though the burro project was a little different, at its heart was the same goal; to help American equines of all varieties to safety.
“We’ve never not done burros. There just hasn’t been much opportunity to help them in the past,” she says. “But we have always treated all equines equally, whether they’re a burro, mule, or horse.”
The newest grassroots campaign asks prospective burro buyers to pay $25 for one burro, but strongly suggests purchasing in pairs—for a very good reason. “Burros bond very tightly with each other and they have buddies now in the Utah (BLM lot) where they’re waiting,” Nash says. “We’re happy to report that almost everyone who is buying a burro has agreed to buy two or four.”
So successful is the burro sale project that the BLM has joined forces, offering to transport the fuzzy creatures to a holding facility in Oklahoma where they’ll await transport.
And to help defray fuel costs to ship the animals, Nash and her team has raised half of the $10,000 goal. “We’re asking for $10,000 because that’s what it’s going to take to ship the burros across the country,” she says. Those wishing to purchase a burro are invited to contact Nash directly via email HoldYourHorses@aol.com. Those interested in donating to the fuel fund may do so via FleetOfAngels.org. Or for further information on the burro effort, please visit the Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/Keep.Americas.Wild.Equines.In.America.
Although the burro effort is off to a great start, time is of the essence, Nash says. The BLM, she notes, is trying to quickly move the animals, well known to be lovable and dependable beyond all measure.
“Burros are wonderful animals. They’re very friendly, curious … and they make wonderful guard dogs. If anything foreign enters their environment, they yell like a siren going off.”
Keep America’s Wild Equines in America would not have been possible without the valuable assistance of friends Marjorie Farabee, Joanne Pfeiffer, Barbara Sunblade and Christy Lee, Nash says, noting that they have helped her with the 20-hour-per-day project to find the burros a home before they are airlifted to Guatemala.