Most of the food for our burros and horses comes from hay we have to purchase. In the last 12 months the hay price went up from $10.00 to $17.00 per bale. That means an increase from $5,000.00 to $8,500.00 per month, since we need to buy 500 bales per month. This increase of $3,500.00 ate up all the money we had allocated to finish our irrigation system. The irrigation system is essential to cut down the purchase of hay because the burros would be able to eat native vegetation. We are also offering an additional way to help your wild burros. You can adopt or support a specific burro of your choice. For more information please visit our website. And...Please come and visit us, we promise you will have a great time! If you are unable to visit us in person, please visit our website at WBRPP.org. Please help us with whatever you can afford. All of us at Wild Burro Rescue Preservation Project Thank You.
For the Wild Burros, Always & Forever.
Our sanctuary could not exist without your support. Your help has made progress possible and your continued support now is needed more than ever.
Looking at the political situation, the roundups of the wild burros and wild horses from their mandated rangelands are continuing.
The captured burros and horses that do not perish at the roundups are transported to holding facilities. Thousands are kept there and waiting for the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to find a solution as to what to do with all of them. A Congressional conference committee will determine whether or not horse and burro slaughter houses will be a
Presently, we have to feed hay to our burros and horses; the price of hay continues to rise. Our monthly hay bill is around $6,500.00 for 460 bales of hay. Our donations are down and we have no financial reserves.
Our sanctuary has 130 acres, a large piece of land for our burros and horses to graze on native vegetation. The only thing we have to do is fence our sanctuary and irrigate the land. Then our burros can roam freely. This will cut our hay bill in half. Unfortunately, our irrigation system is not fully completed. We received several estimates to fence our sanctuary. The price range was from $50,000 to $80,000.
Wild Burro Rescue (WBR) needs your help and financial support. Please help us to the best of your ability. In our photos you see cute baby burros who have been born in our sanctuary. Their mothers were pregnant at the time of their arrival. Jennies are pregnant for one full year and usually give birth to one foal. Twins are very rare. WBR practices birth control. Male and female burros are kept separate, as this is the most economic way to prevent having baby burros.
For the wild burros, always and forever,
First let me thank you for all your support and help.
I am glad to be able to report that we even have helpers from Europe.
Marco Sprung is volunteering for a few weeks at our sanctuary, and I am very happy about that.
Still - and I am very aware of it - our Sanctuary’s existence and survival depends solely on your donations. So, please keep helping to the best of your ability. Wild Burro Rescue is a 501(c) (3) non-profit charitable organization and your donations are tax deductible. Without your support this unique Sanctuary for the last wild burros in California will not be able to exist.
Currently, the cold winds from the Olancha Mountains are still blowing mercilessly over our burro sanctuary. Every month, our cost of hay is almost $5,000, and prices continue to increase. A situation that is depleting our funds fast, with the declining economy not improving on our incoming funds. We are continuing our work on building a sustainable Habitat for all of us here at the WBRPP, including our Burros, Horses, Dogs, Cats and all our Wildlife. Our aim is to promote sustainable living practices everywhere, and in all we do in order to transform the future of our land into the healthy, happy and fun place it is supposed to be. We are trying to achieve this goal using the universal ethics of permaculture and utilizing farming practices that build soil and support healthy ecosystems. We are starting to grow organic vegetables for our kitchen.
Our irrigation system is in the final stages of completion. It is going slower than we planned, due to the increased prices for material and the dwindling amount of donations. In spite of all the challenges we face, we know we will accomplish our goals with the help of our supporters and friends. After the completion of our irrigation system, we have to build several large fenced grazing areas for our burros and horses. We are located in the high desert and there is not enough natural moisture for the native grasses to grow in large amounts. In the wild, the burros are grazing over a large terrain, and they are not restricted to a fenced grazing area. This project will help us to reduce the amount of hay we have to purchase. The grazing area will be fenced with a solar electric fence, which is safe and economic. We have already purchased 1,100 fence posts for this project, and we are hoping to have some Volunteers help us with the installation.
Our main building needs a new roof, as well as other repairs, a project for the near future.
Other new projects include a composting toilet for visitors and volunteers, and we would like to install more solar panels to eventually have sufficient electricity for all our projects and needs.
Please supply us with your e-mail address. We are starting an e-mail newsletter to keep you informed with a higher frequency and possibly monthly updates. We will still continue our regular newsletter, but you can sign up for the electronic version on our Website www.WBRPP.org.
The German-American bilingual magazine German World (www.German-World.com) will publish an article about the Wild Burro Rescue this month, June 2011. Marco Sprung (photo left), one of our recent volunteers, hails from Germany and joined our group in order to help us with our burros for a few weeks. The magazine heard about it and wrote an article about us. We hope that it gives us more exposure to new, additional supporters like you, who want to help us save the last wild burros in California. On our updated Website you can donate via PayPal or just send us a check if you reside in the US.
We are looking forward to your visit! Please call me in advance, so I can make sure that I will be there for you!
Your support for our sanctuary is greatly appreciated!
I am sitting by the window with a hot cup of coffee writing you this letter. Snow is falling and it is cold, our animals are fed and it is peaceful at the Sanctuary. Another year is coming soon to an end.
Times are hard, and we are struggling financially to make ends meet. Our existence and survival depends on your donations. We need your help to provide a safe sanctuary for all our animals. Therefore we ask you to help us to the best of your ability. Wild Burro Rescue is a 501(c) (3) non-profit charitable organization and your donations are tax deductible. Without your support there will be no Wild Burro Rescue.
We are still working hard on our Irrigation system. The construction of this system is very expensive, but we have no choice. Without water we are unable to create pastures for the burros and vegetables for us. We invite you to visit our new website. We are still working on it to implement all ideas and suggestions we have received and will hopefully receive from you as well.
To be able to get the word out to more people who might be interested to help, we have a page on facebook – just look for “Wild Burro Rescue” and two video documentaries out of a series of six have been completed and are online on Youtube. Links to facebook and our Youtube videos are on our Website.
If you should visit our sanctuary and take photos, feel free to publish them on facebook and tag us, so your pictures will be shared with all our friends.
The story of Braveheart is something that you should watch – a link to the article and video is on our website – to understand why we need to help the wild burros, why their lives are in danger and how they are being killed if we don’t help.
Please remember that our income solely comes from donations. We receive no government funding and unfortunately, we do not have any financial reserves. We are depending and counting on our friends and supporters to help us succeed with our mission. Often, we are struggling financially.
Your tax deductible contribution will help us to continue to maintain and eventually grow our wonderful sanctuary for all our rescued burros, mules, horses, dogs and cats. Your help and financial support is essential for the burros’ survival. Wild Burro Rescue does not employ professional fund raising companies, so all your donations go directly to our rescued animals.
We are looking forward to your visit! Please call me in advance, so I can make sure that I will be there for you! Your support for our sanctuary is greatly appreciated!
Newsletter Fall, 2010
Greetings to all of you,
This is an update for our activities here at the Wild Burro Rescue. The fall is now upon us and we couldn't be more excited! This heat wave has been hard on us and we are truly looking forward to this much needed seasonal change.
This summer, a film crew came out to the sanctuary to document the lives of burros, and all the hard work it entails to care for them. Episode 1 of 6 is now available on our video page and and also on our www.facebook.compage, filed under Wild Burro Rescue. Expect to see lots of photos and the latest news on our facebook page where you will learn about things like our first crop of homegrown vegetables (corn, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers,etc.) to the fruit trees we have planted. If you have a green thumb or simply like to photograph nature and animals, we urge you to come and visit us. Send us your captured memories and we will gladly place them on our facebook and website www.wbrpp.org
Our irrigation system is still under construction. As we work toward our future goal of creating pastures, irrigating native food crops and food sources, we need additional irrigation supplies and financial assistance for the labor force to complete this tremendous effort. Once this goal is accomplished, we will have the supplemental food to feed or animals. Our sanctuary is 130 acres and the cost for the material, such as water pipes, water storage tanks, fencing (to keep the burros on the property), and labor is very high. We struggle along and do the best we can. However, this water situation is of utmost importance. This would allow our burros to graze and stop depending on hay as their only source of food. This would cut our costs dramatically. Presently, we purchase around 500 bales of hay per month, which costs $4,500.00. Unfortunately, we have no financial reserves. At times, we are so financially depleted that we are unable to pay for the hay and we have to ask the feed store to give us hay on credit.
Wild Burro Rescue is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Without your support, our dreams, goals and project for the burros would be nonexistent, as they do not have anywhere else to go. Thank you for all your past, present and future donations.
Your support for our sanctuary is greatly appreciated!
Newsletter Spring 2010
Greetings to all of you,
Spring has finally arrived, after a long and cold winter. Our sanctuary had lots of snow and it was the first winter in which all of our burros were able to use their new metal barns, protecting them from the strong winds, snow and rain. The burros thank you for your donations, without your support there would be no barns.
Our sanctuary is located on 130 acres in the High Sierras. We are happy to have such a large place for our burros, horses, dogs, cats and for all our wildlife.
At this time, we continue to work on our irrigation system. Constructing this system on a terrain which is full of rocks and boulders is a challenge, as 130 acres is a large placed to irrigate, not to mention the financial depletion this system has cost us. We had no choice but to hire outside help to be able to complete the project thus far.
Our last hay delivery we received on credit from our hay supplier, and soon we will need more. Our monthly hay bill is around $4500, but with a functioning irrigation system we would be able to reduce our cost. We would be able to grow native vegetation for our burros and horses to graze on, as they love to eat fresh plants. They know fresh food is healthy!
This is now our official SPRING FUND DRIVE. Please support us. We depend on your generosity, without your help we are unable to exist. Presently, the only safe place for our animals is this sanctuary. There is no other place for them to live. We have hope that one day our wild burros and horses can go back and live on the land, which is rightfully theirs but until this day's upon us, we have to take care of them.
In spite of all our challenges, our sanctuary is a place of peace and tranquility. Come and visit us, you will have a great time. Bring your camera and a big sack of carrots and feed the burros and horses. You will go home with tons of great pictures and memories.
While you are in our neighborhood there are lots of interesting things to do and places to visit. Go to our "favorite links" page for lots of ideas.
Your support for our sanctuary is greatly appreciated!
Newsletter March 2009
This is an overview of our improvements here at the Wild Burro Rescue. Many projects continue as we work towards our self-sustainability. Your help has made progress possible and your continued support now is needed more than ever.
Our solar pump house is currently under construction, and our next step is to lay down 2000 feet of pipes to irrigate the land. This process includes placing and burying the pipes at least a foot deep in the soil to keep them from getting too hot in the summer time, and to keep them from freezing in the winter time. It is quite challenging to dig that deep due to the abundance of stones in our ground and the fact that they must be removed by hand. Our goal is to clear up the land to begin cultivating a garden of carrots and other vegetables and well as native grasses for our animals. The price of hay has tripled in the past year and it continues to be our greatest expense. Growing our own native grass and vegetables would reduce our cost of hay dramatically, besides being more nutritious for our animals. However, in order to complete this project, we need two water storage tanks with an 8,000 gallon capacity. This is an additional expense we are struggling financially with and we truly need your financial support.
We are also working on our own shelter to protect our animals from wildfires. This consists of a designated area on our property surrounded by two divisions. The first area has a depth of a 100 foot clearance of combustible brush. The area within it consists of irrigated land. At this time, the shelter in place is awaiting the completion of our irrigation system, which we plan to have completed and running by April this year in order to plant our crops. Water is also a key element of the fire shelter.
Another project in the making is the completion of our installation of metal barns. In the wild, the burros can move to places that are protected from the elements. In our sanctuary they cannot leave the corrals to find such a place. This is why the shelters are so important to have. The temperature fluctuates quite a bit, in the summer is between 50 and 110 degrees. In the winter it can go down to 10 and up to 80 degrees and the wind gusts can each up to 100 miles per hour. The metal barns protect them from the wind, rain, snow and sun.
In the pamphlet** you will see pictures of our beautiful baby burros and you may wonder why we have babies here. We would like to make it clear that we rescue pregnant burros and that NO breeding ever takes place at our sanctuary. We practice birth control by separating both males and females and keeping them apart. This method makes the most sense to us financially. Veterinary care is just too costly.
As for our budget, our income solely comes from donations. We receive no government funding and unfortunately, we do not have any financial reserves. We are depending and counting on our friends and supporters to help us succeed with our mission. Often, we are struggling financially. You tax deductible contribution will help us to continue to create a wonderful sanctuary for all our rescued burros, mules, horses, dogs and cats. You help and financial support is crucial and essential. Wild Burro Rescue does not employ professional fund raising companies. They are expensive. We do the fund raising ourselves with the help of volunteers. Therefore, every dollar you donate goes directly to our sanctuary helping the animals.
Our approach follows the life mantra of Buckminster Fuller: "you see what needs to be done and you just do it. Do more with less." We welcome you to visit us. Olancha has many tourist attractions in the surrounding area with beautiful scenery that will leave you breathless and happy!
President / founder Wild Burro Rescue
Newsletter December 2008
Another winter is upon us. This will be our 9th winter in the High Sierras where the sagebrush meets the pine. Many projects continue as we work towards our self-sustainability. Your help has made progress possible and your continued support now is needed more than ever.
Here at Wild Burro Rescue we preserve America’s heritage through saving and caring for the burros that helped open up this frontier, so man could build a future in the west. In the 21st century, man has abandoned the burro for his machines. The era of industrialization pushed man in the direction of rapidly consuming natural resources to build his empire. Now we are faced with the decision of continuing in a manner that would deplete vital elements that are needed to keep the earth in balance. In our quest to become the model green sanctuary, using appropriate technologies, we can turn the tables while using man’s machines that conserve earth resources.
Our solar pump house is under construction. This system will deliver 5,000-7,000 gallons of water per day from the sun’s energy to be moved through recycled pipes using gravity on our alluvial slope to pressurize our irrigation sites. On our 130 acres of alternative crop site, burros will forage freely yet contained by means of a solar electrified fence. We have to go in this direction in order to feed our animals. The price of hay and other feed went up three times in the last 12 months. We are always struggling to come up with the funds to pay our bills. Without your financial support we would be unable to exist.
The other great project is to get a bio-diesel processing system. We need diesel to power our tractor, truck and our generator. The used vegetable oils used to produce this bio-diesel will be provided to us free of charge by the numerous restaurants that cater to the many tourists who maintain the economic backbone of the Eastern Sierra. The only problem is the price of this equipment. The cost of the bio-diesel converter is around $8,000 and the cost of the solar pumping system will be around $12,000. We have to raise funds for our green sanctuary. Please help us to the best of your ability.
We do not employ professional fundraising companies. They are too expensive. We do the fundraising ourselves, every dollar you donate goes directly to help the burros, mules, horses, dogs and cats.
I know we can count on you. We need your help and financial support. We depend on you.
For the wild burros, always and forever,
Newsletter August 2008
Hello friends of the burros, we are so thankful for your help!
Thanks to caring people like you we now have water flowing through our pipes. Since the addition of our newly drilled well, getting water to our burros takes a fraction of the time, not to mention all the fuel saved not driving the old water truck. The well that is so vital to this sanctuary was the first step in creating a self sustainable system on this land.
As land stewards, our responsibilities to create an ecologically balanced habitat lie in our ability to become self sufficient. By utilizing our natural resources, we can limit the use of petroleum fuels and commercially grown hay.
Here in the southern Sierra, agricultural land is becoming scarce. Feeds locally produced meet the supply demands of dairy and beef ranchers. Getting food for the burros has become an ever increasing hardship. As foragers, burros prefer a particular diet. Here at Wild Burro Rescue (WBR) supplying a natural food plan for the animals is an important priority, our vision for the future of the sanctuary will be a place where burros can freely forage on native plantings.
Various sages, desert holly, bunch and burro grasses are indigenous, drought tolerant and require low maintenance, they thrive in this arid terrain. They also supply the necessary elements for the burros’ dietary needs. These nutritious properties are not found in commercial hay. By cultivating these wild plants, we can begin to build a renewable resource on the land.
There are important tools required to achieve this independence from resources we cannot produce. By replacing our old diesel generator with a solar powered water pumping system providing water for the burros and crops will be fueled by our abundance of sunshine. Placing a new 5000 gallon poly tank adjacent to the well, water can be moved with ease to flow down to our gravity pressurized irrigation system. A flexible potable grade poly pipe will be trenched to carry water to our 80+ acres of fertile soil.
This will produce supplemental grazing, as well as various rows of alternative food crops such as sorghum, dry corns, orchard and Sudan grass, in addition to grain and seed plantings.
In designing a self sustainable refuge, we will apply our knowledge of permaculture (sustainable agriculture) as we continue to practice our life’s work in holistic land stewardship, to create a green path for the future, providing teaching through example, offering this sanctuary as a model, to educate and inspire all.
Only with dedicated people like you, can we make this change. The future of WBR depends on your continued support.
We love you!
Diana Chontos, WBR
Recap of Conference call
) with your mailing address.
Also discussed was the idea that we should try and get press releases to all the local newspapers to try and publicize the need for help. If anyone in the group knows how to write press releases, we could really use your help. Another outlet for information on the WBR is craigslist.com. We decided to make sure that we get something posted about the WBR every few days to get people interested. Another area that we need help in is formal grantwriting to find money from foundations and charitable organizations. Any ideas or suggestions are welcome!
We also talked about how it takes more than one meeting to get a group going, so don't feel bad if you couldn't make it last night. However, please continue to stay in touch with the group and we would love to have you join us for the next meeting--whether it be via a conference call or in person. Our country is struggling with many problems right now including a sagging economy and it may be harder to get financial support for our Burros BUT we have to keep on trying. Just hearing the sound of those sweet creatures last night and knowing how they only have Diana Chontos and us to help them makes a little (or big) effort very, very worthwhile.
Stay tuned for more ways to help and feel free to make any suggestions or submit any ideas. For example: Does anybody know anybody at Dreamworks who worked on Shrek? Maybe since Donkey was such a big part of the movie, they could find it in their hearts to help 200+ donkeys!!!
Okay, that's it for now. Have a wonderful and safe weekend and think BURRO!
Newsletter July 9, 2008
The Clover wildfire came dangerously close to our Sanctuary. It was a fast moving wildfire fanned by erratic winds. We could see the fire on the mountain ridge to the south west of us and we could smell the fire and we knew it was only a few miles away from us.
We did not know how quick it would move in our direction and at what point we actually have to start our evacuation plan.
Our evacuation plan consists of opening the corals of our burros, mules and horses and chase them in the direction away from the fire. The old animals that are unable to run and our dogs and cats have to be moved by horse trailers. Our local friends were ready to come with an extra horse trailer. Some would come on motorcycles and on horseback in order to make the burros move away from the approaching fire. We were hoping that if we had to evacuate it would be without any disasters, and that the evacuation would be during daylight not at night.
We have been lucky so far, this time there was no need to evacuate. The question is how can we protect our Sanctuary from future fires? We consulted the experts in this field, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management in Bishop. Both of these agencies have departments that specialize in fire prevention and protection. The experts who are familiar with our territory recommended the creation of a “SHELTER IN PLACE”. With a shelter in place we never have to worry about any future fires. In this shelter all of us will be safe.
What is a Shelter in Place? It is a designated area on our property surrounded by two circles. The first circle has a depth of a 100 feet clearance of combustible brush. The next circle is inside the outer circle, again 100 feet consisting of irrigated land. In this shelter area, all of us will be safe from any approaching fire.
The irrigated area of the protective circle will also produce native grass for our burros to eat, this will save us lots of money. The price of hay went up almost three times.
We are lucky that our new well has the ability to produce the much-needed water. The challenge we face is to raise the funds we need for this important project. The solar pumping system that is required will cost $12,000. The cost for the plumbing material PVC pipes and fittings will be around $7,000 and a pump house to protect the well with its equipment will cost around $3,000.
If we are unable to recruit volunteer labor for this project we will encounter additional expenses.
We have to raise funds for our sanctuary, please help us to the best of your ability.
We do not employ professional fundraising companies. They are expensive. We do the fundraising ourselves. Therefore every dollar you donate goes directly to help the burros, mules, horses, dogs and cats.
Please come and visit our sanctuary in person or visit us at our website www.wildburrorescue.org
I know we can count on you. We need your help and financial support. We all depend on you.
For the Wild Burros, Always & Forever
Diana Chontos President / Founder
Newsletter March 2008
It may have come as a surprise to you that we have snow. Yes, we are in Southern California and we have very cold weather. The temperature can drop to 10 degrees and the wind gusts can reach up to100 miles per hour. It’s cold! We are asking you to help us purchase shelters for our burros. We need at least seven 24 by 24 foot shelters. They are made of metal to make them fireproof, termite-proof and burro-proof (burros do not like to chew on metal!) Without shelters, snow falls on the burros. The sun melts the snow and their fur gets really wet. Their fur will freeze and make them shiver. There is no way for the burros to dry. We would like to give each burro a blanket but the problem is many do not like to wear a blanket and they work hard to remove it. The older and weak ones suffer the most and most of our burros here are old. In the wild, the burros can move to places that are protected from the cold wind and snow. In our Sanctuary they cannot leave the corrals to find such a place. This is why the shelters are so important to have. Shelters protect them from the snow, rain, and wind and in the summer it provides shade. Each shelter costs around $5,000.00. This includes the grading and the digging and cementing of the foundation.
We are counting on our friends and supporters to help the burros to live in a safe place.
We do not have any financial reserves. Many times we are so financially broke that we are unable to pay for the hay and we have to ask the feed store to give us hay on credit until we get some donations from our friends. The same goes for the Veterinary Hospital.
The two things, of which we have a lot of at the Wild Burro Rescue are love and compassion. Please come and visit us, you can spend your vacation with us hugging and kissing burros. We promise, you will have a great time.
Your donation will help the burros. We are a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. Without your help we will be unable to continue, but we have to continue. Our burros have no other place to go. Who likes to take care of wild burros, besides Wild Burro Rescue?
You may be wondering about the progress of our well. We drilled and found water on our property. We still have to use our truck to move the water from the well to all our animals. The round trip to the well used to be 12 miles on a bumpy desert road, now it is much shorter and it takes much less time. This gives us more time to spend with the animals. Now we have to raise funds to build a pipe system to pump the water to all the corrals and to our house. We are happy that we’ve come this far. We know we can count on you to reach our essential goals.
There is one more way you can help. We need to spread the word that Wild Burro Rescue is in existence and let the world know about the great work we are doing. Send your friends an e-mail urging them to visit us at www.wildburrorescue.org. If you have a website you can put our website as a link. If your workplace has a website, try to get our website as a link. You can select and print literature from our website and hand them to friends. We do not have funds to purchase mailing lists and we do not have funds to hire professional fundraisers. Together we can spread the word that Wild Burro Rescue is a great place to visit in person or on the web.
For the Wild Burros, Always & Forever
President / Founder
Newsletter August 2007
As you remember, our most pressing problem is: we do not have a water well. We have to haul all our water supply with a pick up truck.
Things got worse with regard to water since our last newsletter. Our 1972 model water truck still desperately needs repair. The mechanic is unable to locate parts to make it work. No wonder: the truck is over 30 years old! Our 425-gallon fiberglass water tank is leaking: the one we use to haul water on top of our large pickup truck. By the time we return with the water, we have already lost around 100 gallons of water on the road. When you think it can’t get worse, it will. Our large pick up truck broke down and was two days at the repair shop, so we had to use our small pickup truck. We place two 50-gallon barrels on the truck; it hardly was able to carry the load.
It is very hot here in august. Temperatures easily can climb to the low 120’s. It is hard work to haul the water in this heat over a bumpy desert road. One round trip is close to 8 miles. We had to fill the water drinking pots again and again. You will see the attached photos of our happy burros drinking this most precious commodity. We do not waste water. We know the value of it.
The estimate we have for the well is around $40,000. We do not have this amount of funds. We saved some money for the well, but then emergencies came up like car repair bills and veterinary bills. Even the regular day-to-day expenses have to be paid. Our feed bill is close to $7,000 per month. And so it goes. Well, we need the well and we will get the well! We will get the well in segments and I will explain it to you. We will cut the solar sub pump package, a saving close to $9,000. We have to use instead our old diesel generator. Then we will get a small, possibly a used water storage tank. A saving of around $3,000. Then we could possibly save around $1000 on installation. Now the price of the well is down to around $26,500. We still need the irrigation system. It is essential to grow native vegetation to feed the burros. The irrigation system has to be constructed so that it can also be used as a fire barrier in case of a wild fire. And we have to purchase barns for our burros that will be made of steel.
Recently, we had a wild fire that came close to our sanctuary. Our worries cannot be described. No water, no sprinkler system to protect the animals. Route 395 was closed for several days and we were petrified. This experience showed us again the importance of a well.
You may wonder why we are here in Olancha; a place where there is no water and not in a greener place. I’ll tell you why. Our sanctuary is close to the Death Valley National Park and close to other places the last wild burros call their home. We are here looking over the shoulders of the Park Service and the BLM (Bureau of Land Management). These are the agencies that in the past killed the burros or rounded them up to transport them to be killed. We remember the trucks full of burros on their way to the slaughterhouse. If we are not vigilant, the killing can start again. Trust me, we have to stay right here and we have to work hard to create a safe place for the burros to save their lives. They need lots of fresh water and lots of native plants to eat, barns for protection from the coming winter and shelter from the hot summer sun. The well is the first step, followed by many more steps to create a wonderful sanctuary for all our burros, mules, horses, dogs and cats. Together we can do it.
When I sit at night on the porch after a hard days’ work, I listen to the sounds of the night; I can feel your presence, your concern for the burros and their life. Your presence gives me strength and energy to continue fighting for the protection of these wonderful, intelligent and innocent creatures. Thank you for your continued help. Without you we are unable to accomplish our goals.
Diana Chontos, president / founder WBR
Newsletter June 2007
This is an assessment of our situation here at the Wild Burro Rescue. Our sanctuary is home to 178 burros (donkeys), 5 mules, 8 horses, 9 dogs and 6 cats. The sanctuary is located on 130 acres in Olancha, CA. It is located in the High Sierras where the sagebrush meets the pine. The temperature fluctuates quite a bit. In the summer it’s between 50 and 110 degrees, in winter it can go down to 10 and up to around 80 degrees. This is the terrain and climate in which the wild burro thrives in the California and Nevada territories.
This terrain is considered high desert. The high desert vegetation consists of native grasses, plants and sagebrush that grow with a small amount of water. In the wild, burros graze and exist on this kind of vegetation. The burros adapted over generations to this meager diet. In spite of this lean diet, the life expectancy of burros is between 40 and 50 years. However, when the burros come to our sanctuary we have to feed them hay. The hay has to be lean, low in protein; otherwise the burros get sick with colic and in spite of medication some of them will die. Just this month we had this problem and lost one of our burros. The hay we got was too rich and it took us over two weeks to locate lean hay. The lean hay is a combination native grass, orchard grass and Bermuda grass hay. (Alfalfa is too rich in protein). Equine senior feed is also a good alternative. It consists of grain, minced hay, vitamins, minerals, enzymes and beet pulp. It has to be supplemented with lean hay or native grass otherwise the burros can get constipation. However, equine senior feed is expensive and we can only afford to use it sparingly for the really old burros. Most of our burros are senior (above 15 years of age), but they still have many years to live. Our 130 acres hardly produces any native grass since there is not enough natural moisture. However, with irrigation we would have no problem producing the necessary native plants for our burros to graze on.
The solution in a nutshell: our sanctuary needs a functioning well.
Presently we have a well, which was hand-dug around 1890, it is 20 feet deep. When we first moved to the sanctuary we climbed down and cleaned out the well. It was full of decomposed dead animal and had a horrible smell. We dug the well several feet deeper, but were unable to increase its water production. The well is covered with a sheet of plywood since it is now unusable.
At the present time, we lease the use of a spring that is located not far from our house. This spring is on government land. It doesn’t produce enough water and it also runs completely dry around the month of June. As a result, we have to truck additional water to our sanctuary. The well we use belongs to a neighbor, and is located down by Route 395, a 3.8 mile trip (one way) over a bumpy desert road. Our water truck is a 1972 model and is presently NOT in working condition. We use a 425-gallon fiberglass tank sitting on our pickup truck. Even this tank is in poor condition and we have to repair it whenever it starts leaking. We have to drive to the neighbors' well 2 to 3 times per day to fill around 20 tubs(troughs), and these tubs need to be filled twice a day. We use a small gasoline pump to move the water. We all depend on our water using this antiquated, inefficient system.
Please help! We are a non-profit 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) organization. Please help us in any way you can to help us get water out of the ground. One more point, we have no electricity on our sanctuary and there is no way to get an electrical line to our property. We have to depend on solar and wind-generated power to provide our electric power.
The fire season is year round in Olancha and we worry a lot about fire. This is our situation. As you can see we need help. The estimate for the well is $41,097.00. This includes drilling the well, the water storage tank and solar power. We need helping hands from people who care about life.
The wild burro sanctuary is needed because the government land-management policy calls for totally eliminating the wild burros. The National Park Service has been killing them using helicopters and direct shooting in Death valley National Park and other places, disregarding the fact that the burros have been living peacefully where they are now for nearly 400 years. The only safe place for them is the sanctuary, our 130 acres in Olancha.
We desperately need your help!
President / founder WBR