Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

West Texas Burros Get Reprieve

Photo by Jeff Heimsath for KUT News

Marjorie Farabee was stopped from bringing her wagon to the steps of the capitol. But she did deliver around 100,000 signatures collected online to protest the burro killings.

Donkeys in West Texas can bray a little easier today: the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has announced that they will “not likely” conduct killings of wild burros in the region “until it has been determined whether any non-lethal methods are feasible.”

In a release today, the department says that they are working with the Human Society “to conduct an aerial survey to determine the numbers and locations of burros at the park, an essential first step to assess costs and feasibility of control options. TPWD has agreed to cost-share up to $10,000 to help pay for the survey, which should occur this spring.”

As StateImpact Texas reported in January, Parks and Wildlife sees the wild donkeys as an invasive species, responsible for habitat destruction and the fouling of West Texas water sources. (TPWD even has a webpage devoted to burro droppings found near water wells.) The burros were introduced to Texas by early Spanish colonists in the 1600s.

But some West Texas residents and advocacy groups felt differently, and led a donkey-powered protest on the state capitol in January asking for Parks and Wildlife to change its policy. They collected 100,000 signatures in an online petition protesting the donkey killings. With today’s news, it appears that stubbornness has paid off for the wild donkeys.


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