As the recipient of a five-year $760,000 grant from an anonymous donor, The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has launched “The Platero Project,” designed to promote the protection of wild burros managed by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

The aim of the project is to develop partnerships and programs to research the effectiveness of contraceptive vaccine on wild burro herds and to reduce the number of wild burros currently living in BLM holding areas, by increasing adoptions and relocating difficult to place burros to sanctuaries. The project was financed by a donor who cares deeply about the humane treatment of burros, and it is named for the Spanish Nobel Laureate Juan Ramon Jimenez’s book about a donkey named Platero.

Heidi Hopkins, The Platero Project manager for the HSUS, said, “There are many challenges to the management of wild burro herds, and through innovation we can find a way forward that saves burros from suffering and saves tax dollars and agency resources. We are grateful for this generous donation that allows us to step up our work to protect and celebrate these animals.”

More than 1,300 burros remain in federal holding facilities in the western United States. The HSUS hopes to develop a training program for wild burros that aims to increase the number of burros adopted annually.

The immunocontraception vaccine commonly known as porcine zona pellucida (PZP) was registered by the Environmental Protection Agency to manage wild horse populations on the range last year, but