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Wild burros found shot to death in Nevada, feds investigating

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The Bureau of Land Management is investigating the killings of wild burros in Nevada. Killing wild horses or burros on public land is illegal under federal law. Photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

By Ray Downs, UPI

The Bureau of Land Management has opened an investigation into the killing of wild burros in Nevada.

At least 13 wild burros have been shot dead on public land outside of Beatty, Nev., the agency said. Killing wild horses and burros on public land is illegal under federal law except as an act of mercy, the agency said Monday.

BLM is working with the Nye County Sheriff's Office to find the suspect or suspects, who face up to one year in prison if convicted.

The wild burro killings come as the BLM is working to solve its problem of a skyrocketing wild horse and burro population on public lands in the American West.

There are an estimated 83,000 wild horses and burros roaming on 27 million acres of public land, which is nearly three times the BLM's appropriate management level, the agency said in a report released in April.

The agency is considering several methods to reduce the population, including aggressive sterilization and contraceptive programs and providing monetary incentives for adoption.

Wild horses and burros habe no natural predators and their populations can double every four years. This has proven to be problematic for the animals, who are find food and water to be scarcer as their herds increase.

Earlier this month, nearly 200 wild horses were found dead in Arizona after a herd came to a depleted watering hole and got stuck in the mud.

Environmental problems have also arisen because of the growing herds.

"The current overpopulation of wild horses and burros threatens the overall health of the western rangelands, degrading ecosystem functions and limiting the forage and water available for domestic and wildlife species, including game and nongame species," BLM said. "Overpopulated herds have displaced native species including pronghorn, deer, elk, and bighorn sheep. Across the Great Basin, areas with wild horses have less plant cover, fewer native plants, and more unpalatable and invasive plant species, including cheatgrass, compared to areas without wild horses."

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Wild burros found shot to death in Nevada, feds investigating
Wild burros found shot to death in Nevada, feds investigating
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