Wild Burros Are Wreaking Havoc On This Small Southern Nevada Town

Nevada burros
8 News Now

You may have heard about the Great Australian Emu war back in 1932, but there’s a battle brewing in Nevada between humans and a very stubborn foe that may become the US’ flagship animal war.

Less than 1,000 people call Beatty, Nevada home and the small town has found itself overrun by a population of burros, or donkeys, that is wreaking havoc on local infrastructure and landscaping while causing all sorts of problems on US Highway 95 which runs through the town.

This first got my attention when a post started getting attraction on Twitter/X, showing a number of burros blocking access to Tesla Superchargers.

An article from the Pahrump Valley Times back in July outlined the problem.

The free ranging burros have long called the area home and have become something of a tourist attraction, but the population has grown to an unmanageable size since the last time the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) removed some in 2018. A letter written by the town’s advisory board stated that “the estimated population was 811% of the high Appropriate Management Level of 91 burros”, meaning some 738 donkeys call Beatty home.

These burros have caused numerous problems for local residents. Nevada State Police said 53 were struck by vehicles within Nye County (where Beatty sits) in 2022 alone and reports of crashes in and near the city are frequent.

Other incidents were described by residents in an advisory board meeting, including one breaking the windshield of a senior citizen’s car when it climbed on top and a station wagon getting its windows smashed by two sprinting burros who collided with it.

That meeting and letter were drafted months ago, but it seems no progress has been made to curb the population.

An article posted just yesterday by 8NewsNow details what Erika Gerling, chair of the town’s advisory board, has personally experienced from the out of control burro population.

The animals destroyed a wall that her husband built with his own hands and completed just before he passed away. She is still pushing for BLM to come and remove many, but not all of the burros.

Despite the problems, not all people are onboard with the idea of the government coming in to do something about it.

Patricia and Fred Summers, owners of Happy Burro Chili & Beer Bar, spoke on the benefits of having the burros around.

“They keep the coyotes out of town, they control the rattlesnakes.”

This disagreement opens another front in this battle: Trying to find consensus on what to do about it.

“Some want them here, some want them left alone. Some want them completely gone. I don’t want them completely gone. I do want to town to have enough so they’re noticeable.” 

I’m not going to sit here and preach on which steps should be taken here, but it does kind of seem like a problem worth fixing to me. They removed around 400 burros back in 2018 and the population is already back at untenable levels for some residents, so a long term solution of some variety is obviously needed.

I also won’t pretend that living in a place with wild burros doesn’t sound unbelievably cool, but hey, I’m sitting in Virginia typing this. I may have a different opinion if they were eating my shrubs and ruining my fences…

Regardless, I think we can all enjoy the idea that there’s still places in America where wild donkeys roam free.

A beer bottle on a dock



A beer bottle on a dock