Arizona Game and Fish says the increasing number of wild burros in the state is damaging native habitats. The agency wants the federal government to control them before the problems gets worse.

Arizona Game and Fish said wild burro population is growing at such an alarming rate that they are damaging natural habitats and crowding out native species. There are more than 1,600 wild burros in the Black Mountains near Bullhead City. That’s almost four times the federal limit. Game and Fish’s Bill Andres said that’s just in one area of the state.

“Not only are the burros in areas where they have historically been, but the population of burros is growing so much that they are outside of the herd management areas,” Andres said. “We’re getting reports from other partners like the National Forest Service that they’re seeing burros in places where they’ve never been seen before.”

The Bureau of Land Management said it’s conducting an assessment of Arizona’s burro population. BLM’s Dennis Godfrey said solving the problem is not as easy as it seems.

“We’re dependent on funding,” Godfrey said. “We’re dependent on authority from our Washington office on the number of gathers we can conduct and how many animals we can gather. There are those that would prefer that we gather no burros, that they remain to be in place in where they are and let nature take its course.”

Godfrey said the assessment is expected to be completed in late October, with a potential new burro gathering in 2016.