The Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) Arizona office is advising horse and burro owners near the Black Mountain Herd Management Area (HMA), in the northwest part of the state, that their animals could have been exposed to equine influenza (EI) by wild burros.
Roger Oyler, BLM Arizona spokesman, said veterinary testing determined that two burros from the HMA that had died were infected with EI in May. In all, six wild burros tested positive for the virus, Oyler said.
The BLM issued the warning because some of the wild burros from the HMA frequently wander into the nearby town of Oatman, a former mining community and a tourist destination, Oyler said. Owners of domestic horses and burros also ride their animals into or near Oatman, he said.
“The wild burros wander into the area because they get used to the tourists feeding them,” Oyler said. “Right now, we are telling owners of domestic horses that if they have ridden into the area, they should talk their veterinarians about EI.”
The BLM will continue to monitor the conditions at the Black Mountain HMA, which includes Oatman.
Meanwhile, the agency has notified the Arizona state veterinarian’s office about the confirmed influenza cases, Oyler said.