But today, America's burros are facing a crisis.
Nationally, fewer than 8,500 burros are estimated to remain on public lands managed by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Forest Service in five western states. Historically, these agencies have managed burros through cruel helicopter roundups that have removed thousands of these animals from the range.
Once healthy and thriving burro populations are now facing a genetic breaking point. The populations have been reduced to tiny, fragmented herds, causing inbreeding. Many burro populations have only a 20 percent genetic variability factor compared to a healthy genetic variability of 70 percent.
In order to uphold the letter and the spirit of the Wild Free Roaming Burros Act of 1971 and protect wild burros as "natural components" of the lands on which they are found, the BLM must increase Allowable Management Levels (the arbitrary number that the BLM assigns to how many wild horses or burros can live in an area) for wild burro populations.