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U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Burro Wild Burro Territory

Picture of five burros.

The Burro Wild Burro Territory (WBT) is administered by the Austin/Tonopah Ranger District, Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest.


The Burro territory is located in Nevada approximately 20 miles east of Austin. The territory consists of 23,700 acres of National Forest land and 64,300 acres of Bureau of Land Management land (Hickson Summit Herd Management Area). The territory is on the northwestern portion of the Toquima Mountain Range.

The wild burros rarely venture into the mountainous areas. Topography primarily consists of alluvial fans broken occasionally by ridges or foothills. Climate is generally of the Dry Steppe type. Elevation ranges from 6000 to 7000 feet. Average annual precipitation is 6-10 inches. Average winter temperatures range from 20 to 40° F, and summer temperatures range from 65 to 80° F.

Small hot springs are found within the territory, and water is scarce.

Vegetation primarily consists of a desert shrub association. Common species include sagebrush, horsebrush, hopsage, kochia, saltbrush, greasewood, and various forbs and grasses.

Deer are found within the territory.

Livestock grazing is permitted within the territory.


The first burros to enter the United States probably belonged to the Spanish colonizer Juan DeOnate, who crossed the border from Mexico in about 1599. From here burros quickly spread to other parts of the west playing a diversified role in the mining economy. The present burro populations stem primarily from domestic stock used in past mining and ranching operations. The Toquima burros are thought to have appeared in the 1940’s through escape and abandonment.

Herd Description

The burros in the Toquimas are all black or dark brown in color. The underside, the muzzle, and the area encircling the eyes appear white or oyster. Yearlings or foals have less pronounced white areas. The average burro stands 44 inches tall.

For More Information

Contact the Austin Ranger District at 775-964-2671.