Burros up for grabs, taking a piece of Custer State Park home

Burros at Custer State Park for sale.
Burros at Custer State Park for sale.(Jeffrey Lindblom)
Published: Mar. 15, 2022 at 5:53 PM MDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - Custer State Park is known for a wide variety of animal life, even burros.

They’re better known as donkeys, and the park is selling a half a dozen of them.

Whether they’re licking your tires, or out about, you can find all kinds of animals at Custer State Park.

“We have a pretty wide range of animals here at the park,” says Kobee Stalder, Visitor Services Manager at Custer State Park. Animals spread across 71-thousand acres.

He says, for example “obviously, we have our bison herd.” Hard to miss the 1,400 of them during the summer months. Plus, “big horn sheep, white-tail deer, and praire dogs. If you’ve seen it in South Dakota, it more than likely lives here in the park.”

However, the current focus is on the burro herd, which are “basically donkeys.”

They’re auctioning off six of them “that were born this past summer.” Two of them jacks, and four jennies.

“Jacks would be the males,” explains Stalder, “jennies would be the females.”

Because of how much land there is in the park, and the various types of wildlife that need resources, they limit the number of burros to about 11, “and that’s where the park feels comfortable with managing that number.”

Whatever money is made from the burros will go towards the land, the environment and whatever else right here at Custer State Park, “plenty of visibility for visitors and everything in between.”

The burros will head off to a home that’s well equipped for them with “lots of land for them to roam.”

They’re function historically, however, was for farming. But, these ones just kind of hang out, and “eat grass. They’re really popular, because it’s actually one of the few animals in the park that our visitors interact with.”

An interaction that’s been going on for a long time, because “they date back to the 1920s, where they used to take burro rides up to Black Elk Peak.”

That’s where this line of burros hails. So, now it’s kind of written in their blood to be friendly, because “they dropped them off in the park and they’ve been here ever since.”

They’ve been around the area almost as long as the park itself, founded in 1919, and “they’re a very sentimental piece of the park. They have a long standing tradition here.”

Those who bid can take that tradition with them.

“So,” says Stalder, “they’re very interested in bringing a piece of Custer State Park back to their home.”

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