Wild Burros


Wild burros, also known as wild donkeys, can be found in various desert regions around the world. In North America, one notable population of wild burros resides in the deserts of the southwestern United States, particularly in states like Arizona, California, Nevada, and Utah. These burros are descendants of domesticated animals brought to the region by early European settlers and prospectors.

Here are some key points about wild burros in the desert:

  1. Origins: Wild burros in the American Southwest are often descendants of animals brought by Spanish explorers and settlers in the 1500s. Over the centuries, these domesticated animals escaped or were released, adapting to the arid desert environment.
  2. Adaptations: Wild burros have evolved to thrive in harsh desert conditions. They are well-adapted to arid environments, with efficient water retention capabilities and the ability to consume a variety of desert vegetation.
  3. Habitat: Wild burros are typically found in semi-arid and arid regions, where water sources may be scarce. Deserts provide them with open spaces, rocky terrain, and sparse vegetation that suits their browsing and grazing habits.
  4. Behavior: Wild burros are social animals and often form small herds led by a jack, a dominant male. They have a hierarchical social structure and communicate through vocalizations and body language.
  5. Conservation Concerns: While wild burros have adapted well to desert life, their populations sometimes face challenges. Overgrazing, competition for limited water sources, and conflicts with human activities can impact their well-being. As a result, ongoing efforts are to manage and conserve wild burro populations in some areas.
  6. Management and Control: In some regions, wild burro populations are managed to prevent overgrazing and habitat degradation. This may involve relocation, adoption programs, or fertility control measures to balance the burro population and the available resources.
  7. Tourism and Observation: Wild burros in the desert can be a point of interest for tourists and nature enthusiasts. Observing these animals in their natural habitat can be a unique experience. Still, visitors need to respect their space and adhere to any regulations in place for their protection.

Understanding the ecology and behavior of wild burros is crucial for their conservation and coexistence with human activities in desert environments. Conservation efforts aim to balance preserving these iconic animals and maintaining the health of the ecosystems they inhabit.

El Burro

Oatman, Arizona


This article was written circa 1904

The cultivation of alfalfa has become an important industry in this
state and throughout the West. As San Bernardino County can claim the
first successful culture of this plant in the United States, a brief outline of
its history may not be out of place.

Lucerne Valley, Ca.

Alfalfa is the oldest grass known, having been introduced into Greece
from Media, 500 years before Christ. The Romans, finding its qualities good, cultivated it extensively and carried it into France when Caesar reduced Gaul. It has always been extensively cultivated in Europe under the name of lucerne, supposed to be derived from the province of Lucerne in Switzerland. The name alfalfa was given to the plant in Chili, where it grows spontaneously in the Andes as well as on the pampas of that country and of the Argentine Republic.

Oro Grande, Ca.

It was introduced into the United States as early as 1835—and probably
earlier—and attempts at cultivation in New York and other Eastern states
were unsuccessful.

In the United States Agricultural Report for 1872, Mr. N. Wyckoff, of
Yolo, Napa County, Cal, reports: “In the winter of 1854. I sowed four acres
with alfalfa, or lucerne, as it was then called, seed brought from Chili. As
far as I know, it was a part of the first parcel of seed brought into this
country. My sowing proved so foul with weeds that I plowed it up and
did not re-sow until 1864.” The United States Agricultural Report of
1878, a considerable production of alfalfa is reported from some of the
northern counties of the state.

In the winter of 1852-3, a party of Mormons arrived in San Bernardino from Australia. At least one of the party, Mr. John Metcalf, brought with him some alfalfa seed. This was sown on his place, now the Metcalf place on Mount Vernon Avenue, near First street. It was irrigated from Lytle Creek and did well, and the plant was soon cultivated by others. The seed was at first sold for $1.00 per pound and was distributed from San Bernardino to other points in Southern California. The early supply of seeds for Los Angeles was obtained from San Bernardino and the seed was taken from here to Salt Lake thus the alfalfa industry, one of the most important in Utah, was started. The alfalfa crop is now one of the most important of the county and San Bernardino County had, in 1900, more than six thousand acres seeded to this plant.

San Bernardino County
1769 to 1904 (201)