The first donkeys came to the Americas on supply ships with the Second Voyage of Christopher Columbus, and were landed at Hispaniola in 1495. The first to reach North America may have been two animals taken to Mexico by Juan de Zumárraga, the first Bishop of Mexico, in 1528, and who, in 1529, requested that more be sent in order to assist the native people, who had been branded and enslaved by the Conquistadores.

The first donkeys to reach what is now the United States may have crossed the Rio Grande with Juan de Oñate in April 1598. From that time on, they spread northward, finding use in missions and mines. Donkeys were documented as present in what today is Arizona in 1679. By the Gold Rush years of the 19th century, the burro was the beast of burden of choice of early prospectors in the western United States. With the end of the placer mining boom, many of them escaped or were abandoned, and a feral population established itself.

Unlike wild horses, wild burros in dry areas are solitary and do not form harems. Each adult burro establishes a home range; breeding over a large area may be dominated by one jack. The loud call or bray of the donkey, which typically lasts for twenty seconds and can be heard for over three kilometres, may help keep in contact with other donkeys over the wide spaces of the desert. Burros have a notorious reputation for stubbornness, but this has been attributed to a much stronger sense of “self-preservation” than exhibited by horses. Likely based on a stronger prey instinct and a weaker connection with humans, it is considerably more difficult to force or frighten a burro into doing something it perceives to be dangerous for whatever reason. Once a person has earned their confidence, they can be willing and companionable partners and very dependable in work.

SPONSORSHIP BENEFITS

Friend Sponsor
$50

With your $50 monthly donation you’ll receive:

  • Digital welcome packet
  • Subscription to RTF enewsletters
  • Webinar invites
  • Biannual updates on sponsored horse(s) or burro(s)
  • Invitation to special events
  • 1 complimentary sanctuary tour ticket annually

Hay Sponsor
$100

With your $100 monthly donation you’ll receive:

  • Digital welcome packet
  • Subscription to RTF enewsletters
  • Webinar invites
  • Biannual updates on sponsored horse(s) or burro(s)
  • Invitation to special events
  • 2 Complimentary sanctuary tours annually

Sanctuary Sponsor
$250

With your $250 monthly donation you’ll receive:

  • Digital welcome packet
  • Subscription to RTF enewsletters
  • Webinar invites
  • Biannual updates on sponsored horse(s) or burro(s)
  • Invitation to special events
  • 4 complimentary sanctuary tour tickets annually

Freedom Sponsor
$500

With your $500 monthly donation you’ll receive:

  • Digital welcome packet
  • Subscription to RTF enewsletters
  • Webinar invites
  • Biannual updates on sponsored horse(s) or burro(s)
  • Invitation to special events
  • 4 complimentary sanctuary tour tickets annually

Herd Sponsor
$15,000

Sponsoring a Herd Family of Five with your annual donation of $15,000 or more you’ll receive:

  • Digital welcome packet
  • Subscription to RTF enewsletters
  • Webinar invites
  • Biannual updates on sponsored horse(s) or burro(s)
  • Invitation to special events
  • Frameable certificate
  • Frameable photo of horse, burro, or family band
  • 4 complimentary safari tour tickets with picnic lunch annually
Did you know?We have Return to Freedom masks!

Peekaboo Masks is donating 35% of its sales from limited-edition masks that feature the wild horses and burros at our American Wild Horse Sanctuary.