A disturbing incident unfolded in Death Valley National Park, California, as rangers discovered the bodies of five burros shot and killed by an unidentified perpetrator. The slain burros were found together in the Lower Wildrose Canyon area of the park, prompting an investigation by park rangers.
While burros are considered an invasive species in the park, it remains illegal for visitors to harm or kill them. The incident not only poses a threat to public safety but also endangers native wildlife and damages sensitive ecosystems.
Details of the Incident
According to a news release issued on July 13, rangers reported the discovery of five burros that had been shot and killed in Death Valley National Park. Ranger Nichole Andler confirmed that the burros were targeted with a low-caliber firearm, which is not typically used for hunting big game.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Burros are an invasive species in the national park, but it’s still against the law for visitors to kill them, officials in California say. https://t.co/3cvKwajLsl
— The Sacramento Bee (@sacbee_news) July 16, 2023
The animals were found together in the Lower Wildrose Canyon area, raising concerns about the motive behind the killings.
Illegal and Harmful Consequences
While burros are considered an invasive species in the park, the act of killing them remains illegal for visitors. Discharging firearms within a national park is strictly prohibited due to public safety concerns.
The abandoned carcasses of the burros also pose a threat to native wildlife, as they can inadvertently ingest toxic lead shot while feeding on the dead animals. Park officials emphasized the negative impact of burros on the park’s ecosystem, including damage to sensitive hot springs, competition for resources with native wildlife, and harm to important cultural sites.
Investigation and Call for Information
Rangers are actively investigating the incident and have urged anyone with information to come forward. The National Park Service Tip Line at 888-653-0009 has been set up to receive calls or texts related to the case. The responsible party could face legal consequences for violating park regulations and endangering wildlife.
Protecting Death Valley National Park
Covering an expansive 5,346 square miles, Death Valley National Park attracts over 1.1 million visitors each year. Park officials are committed to preserving its unique ecosystem and maintaining a safe environment for visitors. Efforts are underway to remove approximately 4,000 wild burros from the park, ensuring the protection of native wildlife, cultural sites, and the delicate balance of the desert environment.
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