A Heaven for Animals
Created by Dianna with Love
By USA News Group (Originally in English)
The Wild Burro Rescue Sanctuary is nestled into the desert foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Olancha, California, close to the Death Valley National Park. Although the sanctuary is very crude and simple, with almost no greenery around because of the dry weather and the serious shortage of water, it is heaven for the two hundred wild burros taking refuge here.
These wild burros were originally imported from Africa about four hundred years ago as pack animals. Following the development of modern transportation, the burros lost their commercial value and were abandoned in the Death Valley desert to perish or to survive on their own. As the burros have very strong survival ability and can procreate very fast, the management of the Death Valley National Park thought they would rob the water resource of other animals and humans, and derange the ecological balance, so they decided to exterminate the wild burros. From 1987 through 1994, park rangers exterminated over 400 wild burros at Death Valley National Park.
In 1991, Diana Chontos knew about what happened and could not tolerate the slaughtering of these lovely and innocent animals, so she acted alone to raise funds, recruit volunteers, hire professionals, and establish The Wild Burro Rescue, to launch a massive endeavor to save the wild burros. In late 1994, after several months of difficult negotiations, the Death Valley National Park Service agreed to suspend the shooting of wild burros on the condition that Diana Chontos would carry on a live capture rescue of the wild burros in the Death Valley National Park.
So far, Diana has rescued over five hundred burros in the Park, most of which have been adopted by members of The Wild Burro Rescue and the public. The remaining two hundred burros are mostly very old and weak, needing special care. Six years ago, when Diana came to Olancha with about a hundred burros, she took a loan to buy a ranch near Death Valley and several other areas that the burros live, making it more convenient to rescue them. From there she could also keep an eye on the Park Management nearby, making sure that they would not start the slaughter again. Apart from burros, out of compassion, Diana also extended her love to adopt old and weak donkeys and horses from other ranches and individuals that were about to be slaughtered or sent to factories to make cat or dog food. She also adopted many cats and dogs that were abandoned.
The financial condition of the Wild Burro Rescue Sanctuary has always been in red figures; the work load is heavy. Even then, Diana's love and concern towards the animals has never wavered.
The principal caretakers in the Sanctuary are Diana, Becky and Chris. Diana remembers each burro by their name and can tell the story of each one. She even personally helped with the birth of two of the burros. Poppy, an old burro with grey patches, is almost forty years old, equal to at least eighty in human age. Before nightfall each day, the volunteer workers would put a warm coat especially designed for burros on Poppy, because old burros are also afraid of cold. A volunteer said that this place is really a paradise where different kinds of animals can live together in harmony, with humans as their best friends. He said, “Each time I go into the wild burros’ ring, they flock around me silently and lean on my body. I can deeply feel their unconditional trust in humans.” In addition to that, both Diana and Becky are vegetarians, so the other volunteers also follow them to eat vegetarian meals. Diana is a very good cook who can turn basic ingredients, such as beans and vegetables, into a wide variety of delicious dishes.
With her fearless spirit and unconditional love, Diana has saved hundreds of wild burros and kept the Sanctuary running despite the extremely difficult conditions. She really is an admirable paragon of nobility.