After years of threatening to eliminate all the wild horses on the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge, operated by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, the range will see the last of its 120, give or take, wild horses left on the range next week. The Refuge was established in 1931 to preserve Pronghorn Antelope. Although wild horses roamed on the lands since 1800, they do not fall under the 1971 Act which protects wild horses/burros on public lands (Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management lands).
The remaining wild horses on Sheldon will be going to five adoption centers in the U.S. Many are non-reproducing due to previous captures where stallions were castrated and mares were sterilized.
In recognition that this day would eventually come, in 2004, ISPMB took an entire herd of 82 Sheldon horses located in the Catnip Mountains. Thus we named them the Catnips. These animals have the most diverse colors of all of our herds. Since that time to this day, our herd has grown to 145 animals.
A BEAUTIFUL STORY
But Sad for the Kidnapper
As the Sheldon herds are wiped out this week, we are pleased to announce the birth of Scarlet, a beautiful Sheldon filly. The sun was beginning to set as we entered the herd’s domain. She was found on Saturday, one of our hottest September days, dehydrated and trying to nurse. The weather was about to change and the rains were coming. Walking up to the filly, it was obvious what had happened to her. The “Kidnapper” was at it again. We have noted that mares who have had foals before and no longer conceive will go at any length to have another foal even if they have to steal them. All of our older mares received the birth control, PZP. Knowing that the possibility that mares could be permanently sterile in five years, we stopped the birth control, PZP, in 2012. Unlike the older mares, Scarlet’s mom had contraception only one year prior to quitting the program. Being a new mother, she was the perfect candidate for having her baby stolen by the Kidnapper. This was the Kidnapper’s fourth attempt this year and the only successful one in which we had to rescue the foal. All other foals were returned to their mothers. We hope that next year the “Kidnapper” will have her own foal as she will be an excellent mother and I can assure you that no one will ever bother her foal!
Scarlet came into our ranch house and received colostrum from our neighbor Courtney’s lifesaving cow. Scarlet looks just like her mother and has a great “survival at any cost” attitude like most wild horses.