News Release

Illegal burro killings discovered in Death Valley National Park

Eleven burros surrounded by shrubs standing the desert with a mountain in the background.
Burros have a negative impact on the natural and cultural desert environment and compete with bighorn sheep and other wildlife for the scarce desert resources like water and vegetation.


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News Release Date: July 13, 2023

Contact: Nichole Andler, 760-786-3279

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – National Park Service officials are investigating the death of five burros that were discovered shot and killed earlier this week in the Lower Wildrose area of Death Valley National Park.

Burros are not native to the California desert and public land managers are engaged in work to remove the animals from the sensitive desert environment by working with partners. The five burros were not part of any internal removal efforts.

It is illegal to discharge a firearm in a national park and it poses a threat to public safety. The abandoned carcasses also endanger native wildlife who inadvertently ingest toxic lead shot when feeding on the dead animals.

Burros are known to damage sensitive desert springs through trampling, overgrazing of vegetation, and fouling of water. They also compete with bighorn sheep and other native wildlife for scarce desert resources such as food and water. They often damage important cultural sites, including historic cabins and archaeological sites.

While these animals have a negative impact on the natural and cultural desert environment, park officials say these irresponsible actions are not warranted.

 Information from park visitors could be very helpful for this investigation. If you have information that could help the park, please submit a tip. Those who submit a tip may do so anonymously.

Call or text the National Park Service Tip Line: 888-653-0009

Submit online: Or email at:

Death Valley National Park is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone and preserves natural resources, cultural resources, exceptional wilderness, scenery, and learning experiences within the nation’s largest conserved desert landscape and some of the most extreme climate and topographic conditions on the planet. Learn more at

Last updated: July 17, 2023

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P.O. Box 579
Death Valley, CA 92328


760 786-3200

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