Colorado town finds missing burro, other recovering
CRIPPLE CREEK, Colorado – Cripple Creek residents hoping for the recovery of one of the town’s free-roaming donkeys that was shot have received good news about another donkey that was missing.
Tarzan the donkey was found Wednesday after a two-week absence from the historic mining town 115 miles southwest of Denver. A rancher about five miles from town called to say a burro was hanging out with some of his horses that had gotten out of their pasture.
Tarzan disappeared around the time that another donkey, Sweetpea, was shot in the left flank. Ray White, who runs a local heritage tourism program, said people feared that the person who shot Sweetpea also did something to Tarzan.
“The idea of one shot and one missing in action was bad,” White said.
The free-roaming herd of 11 donkeys is a living reminder of when the mountain community was a gold mining boom town. Donkeys were used to haul ore carts in the mine and were let loose when the boom went bust.
It’s not clear if any of the current burros are descended from the original herd. Tarzan came from a donkey rescue group.
The donkeys are a special part of the community, now one of three Colorado towns allowed to have gambling. The animals are protected by town ordinance and are tended to by a community group. Cripple Creek celebrates Donkey Derby Days every summer.
White said the donkeys stay around town, so he doesn’t believe Sweetpea was shot by a hunter who thought she was a deer or other animal.
“So many people love the donkeys, and it is terrible that someone is messing with them,” Jan Collins, who directs the Cripple Creek Museum, told The Denver Post. “It’s like slapping your grandma around.”