After the lode mining boom ended in the early 1900s, nearly everything was abandoned in the remote mining camps, including the working animals. Burros performed labor intensive tasks at the old mines, but because of the sheer abundance of bloodstock and the advent of mechanized agricultural equipment, most of these animals were cut loose instead of being repurposed on farms. Because their genetics developed in harsh arid African conditions, the burros with newly found freedom had no problem adapting to the desert environment of the southwest. In modern times the wild burros can now be spotted near just about any water resource in the desert and some have even taken a more urban approach for survival.
Beatty, Nevada is a small city that once was a central hub for mining supplies during the gold rush years. Several old west mining sites are located near Beatty and the mother lode strike at Tonopah was in the same region, so there were plenty of working burros in this area back in he old days. After being cut loose, many burros took up residence where food could easily be found and because of their bottomless appetite, seeking human handouts became a way of life. Fortunately many locals appreciated these animals hanging around and through the years the wild burros in Beatty have become a tourist attraction. On just about any given day a few wild burros can be spotted while cruising slow on Highway 95 through Beatty, so be sure to keep a camera handy to capture a one of a kind memory!
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