Sheldon NWR

Sheldon, again in secrecy

Bone trail, Sheldon 2010 (Leslie Peeples)

Established in 1931 the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), is located in Washoe and Humboldt Counties, Nevada and Lake County, Oregon.The Refuge contains one of the last intact examples of a sagebrush-steppe ecosystem in the Great Basin.

Yet even though America’s wild horsesinhabited the area before the Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act (WH&B Act) was passed, unanimously by both houses of Congress, the refuge escaped the restrictions imposed by the Act. USFWS exists under the jurisdiction of the Department of Interior(DOI), as does the agency most recognized for managing wild horses and burros the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), yet they are still not bound by the Act of Congress intended to protect wild horses.

Instead the refuge manages these animals under the designation of “feral,” and deems them an invasive species and manages them as such.

However in 2009 the Refuge joined in the “Tri-state Calico Complex.” This was to be a joint management strategy between USFWS and the BLM, managed with Gene Seidlitz of BLM’s Winnemucca district as a key figure. Yet there have been no changes in the manner in which Sheldon horses are captured and removed from the range. The animals still leave the Refuge unbranded, untraceable and the contractors that transport the animals from the range are still paid a considerable sum for the service.

Empty pens pre-roundup (Leigh)

roundup just occurred at Sheldon and the horses are awaiting transport. That roundup has been carried out under an Environmental Assessment (EA) from 2008, according to the Refuge website noted as updated July 26, 2012.