Monday, December 26, 2011

Taos A to Z Excerpt: Burro (or Donkey)

A domesticated member of the horse family, the donkey’s wild ancestor is the African Wild Ass. Males are called jacks and females jennies. Offspring have the same names as horses (i.e., foal for either sex under one year, and colt and filly for males and females who are over one year old). Different species within the Equidae, or horse family can interbreed, however, their offspring are almost always sterile. A mule is the offspring of a jack, or male donkey, and a mare, or female horse. Though rarely successful, the offspring of a stallion (male horse) and a jenny (female donkey) is a hinny.

The Spanish brought burros to North America where they quickly became the chosen beast of burden of early prospectors, due to their sure-footedness. While many use the terms donkey and burro interchangeably, others call the smaller Mexican descendants burros, and their larger cousins, imported directly from Europe, donkeys.

Burros which were abandoned or ran away gave rise to feral burros in the Western range lands. Fortunately, these animals are now protected in New Mexico, where they are considered to be a living legacy. During drought conditions, herds are at risk, and are routinely thinned to preserve grazing. Roundups remove a percentage of the feral burros which are then auctioned to the public. Wild burros are clever and curious, making excellent pets when treated well and trained properly. Once trust has been established, they greatly enjoy the company of humans. ~Aimee

Read more about Taos, Santa Fe, and Northern New Mexico on Taos A to Z

1 comment:

  1. Check out the new burro sculpture at 304 Paseo del Pueblo Norte in Taos. I hear its name is Jack.