Comments Due November 8, 2011
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) is seeking public input for the revision of its Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) ("the Plan") that will set policy in the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge Complex for the next 15 years. The plan calls for total elimination of the wild horse and burro populations living in the refuge, which are estimated to be 800 horses and 90 burros.
Mustangs and burros have called these lands home for centuries, but the USFWS holds the outdated and unscientific position that these animals are non-native species that need to be eliminated. Meanwhile the agency operates Sheldon more like a game preserve than a refuge, and eliminating wild horses and burros will allow the USFWS to increase big game species, such as Pronghorn and Bighorn sheep, for hunters to shoot.
Unfortunately, because the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act protects only mustangs and burros residing on BLM and U.S. Forest Service lands, wild horses are out of luck when it comes to federal protection on Sheldon refuge lands.
In previous requests for comments, the FWS received more input about wild horses and burros than on any other management aspect of the refuge. But instead of seeking an alternative that would allow for the maintenance of wild horses on the refuge (similar to the way the National Park Service manages several wild horse herds), Sheldon has made removal of the wild horses and burros the top priority of its new management strategy. Not surprisingly, the plan is supported by pro-hunting organizations.
This public comment period is the time to let the USFWS know that the public demands that this Refuge protect its culturally and historically significant wild horse and burro herds and manages them according to science, not special hunting interests. Please take easy action below to personalize and send your letter. When you click send, your suggestions will be faxed to the USFWS.