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CPW turns to burros to help stop wolf depredation on Jackson County rancher's property

CPW donates burros
Posted at 10:08 AM, Mar 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-18 12:08:29-04

WALDEN, Colo. — Colorado Parks and Wildlife gave six burros to a Jackson County rancher in an attempt to decrease wolf depredations on his property, the division announced Thursday.

Don Gittleson in Waldon experienced three wolf depredation events in December and January, according to CPW. After the last event, Gittleson and CPW Wildlife Officer Zach Weaver met with the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to come up with a plan.

“APHIS told us that burros were effective at stopping predation in Oregon,” Weaver told CPW. “We learned that wild burros are more effective because they’ve been in the wild where they’ve had to defend themselves and their herd from predation from animals like mountain lions and coyotes.”

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Gittleson received two gelded jacks and four jennies. The burros, which range in age from 5 to 11 years old, were from the high country in Nevada and adopted in Utah. They will be introduced to Gittleson's herd of cattle once they become acclimated to the climate and altitude, according to CPW.

“The idea is to make the burros become a part of the cattle herd to where they will start to protect or consider the cattle as a member of its family,” Weaver told CPW. “Don will start to introduce the burros to certain members of the herd in small increments."

CPW said while it will not be able to offer burros to every Colorado rancher, important information could be gathered from this pilot program.

“A lot of our monitoring will be based on feedback from Don for this pilot program,” Weaver told CPW. “He’ll tell us if he’s seeing as many wolves as he has in the past, or if they’re still coming through his property at as high a frequency as they were.”