Wild donkeys, also known as burros, are wandering into Texas from Mexico. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department considers about 300 burros in Big Bend to be destructive intruders that hog food and water needed by the park's native species.
“We’re managing for indigenous native plant and animal communities, and that not being a part of it, we do know that the burros have a negative impact and effect on native wildlife and plants,” Leisure said.
Opponents say the state is more concerned about a few dozen bighorn sheep living in the 316,000 acre park. Hunting licenses for bighorn sheep sell for upwards of $100,000, and skeptics say the state is catering to wealthy and well-connected hunters.
However, the hunting of Big Horn Sheep has not been permitted in Big Bend Park.
In an effort to save the burros, the Wild Burro Protection League has a petition with more than 94,000 signatures asking that the killing be stopped. The organization will attempt to create legislation to protect the beasts in 2013.