Reno, NV, March 24, 2015 --(PR.com
)-- The State of Nevada has signed a landmark Cooperative Agreement with wild horse advocates to implement the humane management of the historic wild horses of the Virginia Range. The signing of the Cooperative Agreement is the second phase in the development of the largest public-private endeavor to humanely manage the largest, contiguous wild horse population in the United States. The Virginia Range, home to an estimated herd population of 1,500 or more horses, covers almost 300,000 acres of primarily privately owned land. The management agreement was signed into effect by Return to Freedom, the founding organization for the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, the State of Nevada’s Governor Brian Sandoval, and the Nevada Department of Agriculture (NDoA).
“As a participating advocacy group in this historic management agreement, we are excited to finally see some protections come to these historic and treasured horses,” said Shannon Windle, President of Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund. “Countless numbers of people have worked for many decades to see this opportunity come to fruition for these graceful and iconic creatures.”
The historic horses of the Virginia Range are the same herd population that sent Velma Bronn Johnston, also known as “Wild Horse Annie”, on her life long quest to save the American wild horse. Her respect for and dedication to these horses led to the passage of the federal 1971 Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act. Unfortunately, because the Virginia Range is primarily privately owned property, these same horses fall under the jurisdiction of the State of Nevada Department of Agriculture and have been excluded from any protections afforded wild horse and burro populations inhabiting federal public lands.
“The focal point of this management agreement is to increase public safety by keeping the horses on the range, wild and free, the way they should be,” said Ellen Holcomb, Director of Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund. “We are delighted to see our local and state governments wanting to make a difference in our communities. By keeping the horses on the range, we will also be keeping them out of our congested streets and highways – a win-win-win for all involved.”
This agreement is a culmination of over 2 years of hard work between wild horse advocates, the NDoA, and Nevada Governor Sandoval’s office. “It would not have been possible without the dedication and strong support from a passionate local and national public that demands our American wild horses be protected and not disappear from our western horizons,” said Phil Caterino, Director of Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund. “Over 90% of the American public expects the American wild horse to be protected. We want to ensure they are also humanely managed.”
Wild horse advocacy groups anticipate many volunteer opportunities will be created because of this management agreement and they want to enlist the help of the general public. “We’re looking for volunteers. This is a wonderful opportunity for the people of the Reno/Sparks area to get involved and share in the way our wild ones are managed and protected,” said Sylvia Coburn, Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund Treasurer. “If people want to help, get involved, and make a difference in their community, join us at our next membership meeting and sign up for a project. We can use the help and enthusiasm from the general public.” The next Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 26, 2015 at 6:00pm at the South Valley Library located at 15650 Wedge Pkwy, Reno.
Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund (HVWHPF) is an all-volunteer registered 501(c)3 non-profit Nevada corporation, officially founded in 2008. Our federal tax ID# is 80-0208865. For over 30 years, volunteers from the Hidden Valley community have led a grass roots effort to ensure public safety as well as the preservation and protection of the historic wild horses that graze the Virginia Range east of Reno, Nevada. Volunteers have monitored herd health, grazing availability, provided attention to sick and injured horses and foals, aided in state run adoption processes, and installed and mended fencing and cattle guards. Other volunteers are involved in ensuring federal and state departments are working within the statues that provide protection and care for the wild horses. Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund has rescued 168 Virginia Range wild horses and currently has 150 horses in its care. For more information about Hidden Valley Wild Horse Protection Fund, please visit www.hiddenvalleyhorses.com