Oh look what I will be doing with all of my friends on Wednesday! I am so excited that I finally get to work and help my cousins! I wanted to cry when my friends told me how many humans had signed a petition showing their love. Truly, tears creased the fur on my face. I keep whispering to my friends that there are lots of jobs we donkeys can do, and do better than any horse in the desert! Sorry Windy, but it is true. I still love my ear-challenged horse friends, but when it comes to rough, deserts we rule. Period.

Dear Wild Burro Supporters:

The Wild Burro Protection League Ride For Life is taking place on January 18th in Austin TX, at the Capitol. We are delivering the 103,000 signatures and comments to Governor Rick Perry and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst at 1:00 PM. At noon we will head out with the petition signatures and comments loaded on the back of a small buckboard wagon which will be pulled by a donkey named Miss Abby (thats me!). Our staging area is at the Day Care Center (Rosewood Oaks, 1507 Lavaca Street, Austin, TX 78701-1610 which is next to the Capitol Grounds Complex. We will travel up Lavaca Street turn left on 16th and right on Congress. We will then go to the South side of the Capitol bldg. At that time, Marjorie Farabee will disembark from our buckboard, and go to the north entrance up to the offices and make the delivery.

In the meantime, our members and supporters will be speaking to those interested about what is happening to the last herd of wild burros in Texas, as well as other wildlife located in Big Bend Ranch State Park. In an effort to restore bighorn sheep who are not threatened globally, TPWD is killing all the aoudad (who are threatened globally), elk (native) wild burro (native) and any bobcat or cougar found near bighorn habitat. It is a recipe for a complete ecosystem collapse. What is equally alarming, this important region is a globally recognized precious biosphere, and uniquely blessed with water in a desert region. In fact, there are over 250 springs, and the Rio Grande river blessing this desert region with water. Also of interest is the role played by Mexico and the International Peace Park which is visited by our wild burros who migrate to their locations across the Rio Grande River.

We will be accompanied on our Ride For Life by several other people with equine, including Rod and Rachael Waller Rondeaux and their daughter Chey. They represent both Red Horse Nation and the local people who live where the burros are being shot. Rod, who is also a well known stunt horse rider, will be riding a mustang named Windy, and nine-year-old Chey will ride a mammoth donkey named Hannah. We also have the support of Christopher Gill who owns Circle Ranch which is 32,000 acres next to Sierra Diablo Wildlife Management Area near Van Horn, and also has a blog. www.circleranchtx.com. He says he will have an article coming out soon which talks only about the burro. We initially met because he was outraged that TPWD started shooting all the elk next door to his ranch on the WMA and on all state-managed property in far-West Texas.

He is a holistic rancher who believes the burros (and horses) fill an important niche in the ecosystem (in fact, a 10,050 year old horse tooth was found in a cave on his ranch in 2011 and is also documented on his blog) We feel very fortunate that he is supporting our cause. He has proven through his holistic methods that timed grazing HELPS the ecosystem, and he can prove it by comparing his ranch to all the holdings of TPWD. Not surprisingly, they refuse to share data with him, even though he shares all of his with them. This is because they know their method results are dismal compared to his. Look at their land and look at Mr. Gill's. None compare, and he has huge numbers grazing his land.

We made attempts to work with TPWD. We offered to help manage the burros live in the park, and offered to procure the grants needed to do the job correctly. We met with directors and attended and commented at Commissioners meetings. We have reached out to ASPCA and HSUS, hoping they would work with us to find a legal stop to the killing. We have worked on this full time for almost two years now, and have amassed an enormous amount of information during the process. We can define the burro as native, and we can prove their place in this globally recognized precious ecosystem to be an important one. In fact, we believe (and have the science to back our claims) that the burros (and horses) are helping to stave off the desertification which is rampant throughout the west. To rescue them is extremely short sighted as it does not serve the ecosystem well, nor does it address the burros who will refill the place of those rescued. Obviously, TPWD will simply start shooting them again. In addition, it is important to address the concerns of the people who live there. They want the burro to remain. The burro is a part of their cultural history, from mining, to taking the children to school to building the Pacific Southern Railroad, the burro is deeply woven into the fabric of who they are as a people. It is important to note that they have a history that goes back further than the established towns. It was the burro who was hardy enough to make the first journeys with exploration expeditions. In fact, it was burro trails that first led to roads and then later to towns. Without question, the people of these border towns respect the burro who is indeed a part of their history.

We are excited that so many reached out with love for the burros. At the town hall meeting in Alpine, it was clear the residents see them as part of their cultural history, an avenue for tourism, and want them to remain where they have been for 500 years. They have come home to the place of their origination 53 million years ago. They were only gone (and this complete die out is oft disputed) from our continent for a brief period of time 6,500 to 10,000 years ago. There are some who believe equus never really completely died out, others who believe they were reintroduced by the Asians and Vikings before the Spaniards. What is clear is that there is a gap in the history which is unfairly being used by TPWD to justify destroying all of these rightfully belonging native species who are wrongly tagged as "exotic".

Miss Abby feels the love from all the people who signed their petition.  She wants to thank all who care. 
Of interest too, is the fact that federal dollars are being used to kill this federally protected species. I wonder about the legality of these Draconian measures? It is clear that we need funding to mount a legal campaign to stop the killing of so many species at this park, and we need to prepare for legislation for the 2013 Texas Legislature to support. This is the first step toward that goal.