Marjorie Farabee ~ Director of Wild Burro Affairs
Marjorie Farabee became a true advocate for wild burros when she read a post about wild burros being gunned down in Big Bend Ranch State Park in 2007. She reached out for help not realizing that she had embarked on a journey that will not end for her until wild burros are protected from harm and allowed to live as nature intended.
She made phone calls to everyone she could find asking someone to help. So, despite the odds, and completely lacking in any kind of a network, she realized that if the wild burros of Big Bend Ranch State Park were to be saved she would have to be that someone. So, with the help of friends she formed Wild Burro Protection League and campaigned to save the BBRSP burros from wholesale slaughter at the hands of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. For years the campaign continued. She attended Parks meetings and made comments, and met with TPWD officials pleading the case for leaving the wild burros alone. This was not all she did. She organized several marches on the capital of Austin. She traveled to SW TX and organized town hall meetings to feel the pulse of the people who see the wild burros and appreciate their presence. The years long effort finally paid off when on the eve of her March for Mercy on Easter Sunday 2011, a moratorium was called on shooting anymore of the wild burros.
Marjorie is the equine manager of Todd Mission Ranch which is home to 398 donkeys, mules and horses. Although the responsibilities of caring for so many lives are huge, this does not stop her from taking on the agencies in charge of our wild burros. She believes she can make a difference and hopes that her efforts will allow her grandchildren the opportunity to see wild burros living naturally in the future.
Since those first days of advocacy so many years ago, Marjorie has avidly sought out information about the environment, the history, the science and the politics of why our wild burros are targeted for removal. The more she learns the more she is stunned by the hubris expressed by agencies that are clearly ridding our wild lands of wild burros and wildlife in general because of greed. The science does not support the removal of our wild burros, nor does the public want them removed. Yet, these agencies create policy that flies in the face of Congressional law.
When Marjorie was asked to join Wild Horse Freedom Federation, she jumped at the chance to join a team that seeks remedy through science and law. She found the members of WHFF to dance to the same tune of honesty, integrity, and science. With these people Marjorie knew she was in like company. WHFF has given Marjorie wings to seek justice for her beloved wild burros. They have provided her voice with amplification so that more people can learn the truth of what our government is doing to our wild herds.
WHFF has provided a platform for speaking to crowds in Washington DC, to advocates in Arlington, to policy makers in Wellington FL and the public through our Wild Horse Wednesday blog talk radio. One voice is now a thousand voices thanks to the collaboration of working with a team of people passionate about saving the last of our wild herds. Knowing that WHFF’s mission statement is “Putting people between wild equine and extinction:” Marjorie knew that when she learned of the elimination plans for a 500 year old herd of wild donkeys on a Caribbean Island called Bonaire, she could go to her team members and gain support to save them, and she did.
Marjorie’s current projects include saving the Black Mountain wild burros in AZ from being reduced to a non-viable herd, keeping TPWD from restarting their lethal reduction of wild burros in the Chihuahua biosphere, stopping the eradication program currently underway in Bonaire and working with the Bahamian government to stop the poaching of wild donkeys on Inagua.
TMR Rescue has adopted the concept that people need to learn about donkeys. They need to learn about their nature, touch them and meet them to find out how incredibly intelligent they are. TMR believes that education, promotion, protection and preservation need to be taught to those who are interested in the rescues at the ranch. As they come face to face with these sweet animals, visitors come to love them and appreciate them for the remarkable animals that they are. With each touch our wild burros gain an ally. With each photograph we are sharing their value. People are learning, and curious about the donkey. Once they learn of our wild burros through the wild burros protected at Todd Mission Ranch, the herds gain new allies. The tours at TMR Rescue always include a visit to the wild burro pastures so their story can be told. Knowledge is power and we provide that power to each person who shows an interest by visiting our ranch.
For years it was widely believed that the burros had no allies, yet when Marjorie’s organization, The Wild Burro Protection League put up a petition to save the burros of BBRSP, it gathered 138,000 signatures. Truly, the burros have a great deal more support from the public than these agencies expected. Marjorie’s goal is to provide people with information about the character and contribution of donkeys through history. Sharing the stories of our donkeys and providing information about the plight of our wild burros helps the public to understand why WHFF is fighting so hard to save them. Marjorie knows that public support coupled with a legal strategy is the only way we will save these beautiful animals for future generations.