Since May, 42 burro carcasses have been found with gunshot wounds along Interstate 15 in California’s Mojave Desert, according to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
A burro is simply a wild donkey. They are considered to be an enduring symbol of the American Southwest, according to the Associated Press.
The animal is also protected under federal law by the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971.
Anyone found guilty of harassing, branding or killing one can face a fine of up to $2,000 and a year in jail.
BLM is leading an investigation into the killings, along with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife
“Wild horses and burros are an iconic part of the American West, and part of our national heritage. We will pursue every lead until we’ve arrested and prosecuted those responsible for these cruel, savage deaths, and we welcome the public’s help to bring the perpetrator or perpetrators to justice,” William Perry Pendley, the BLM’s Deputy Director for Policy and Programs said in a statement.