The feral-estray Virginia Range horses are now being helped by a local nonprofit. Wild Horse Connection signed an agreement with the Nevada Department of Agriculture last week to help with the management of the horses.
Under the deal, the nonprofit now has responsibility for the horses that includes “the management, control, placement, or disposition of the livestock…”
The absence of natural predators means the range’s horse population often exceeds a healthy capacity. Increased development has contributed to population pressures, such as collisions with vehicles.
The ag. department has had a hands-off approach to the horses for years, except when there are public safety issues or citizen complaints.
“Wild Horse Connection is honored to have the added privilege of working with the Nevada Department of Agriculture to manage the Virginia Range horses, along with aiding community concerns, public education and working actively to limit public safety issues,” said Corenna Vance, the group’s president.
The department previously had a management agreement with the American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign, but that fell apart in 2017 when NDA unilaterally severed the arrangement.
At the time, a number of horses had been killed in roadway collisions, prompting the City of Reno to take action by warning motorists of the horses.
NDA will still address public safety concerns as needed, including horse removal, adoptions, diversionary feeding, and fencing, according to the department’s press release issued last week.
The Virginia Range horses are considered estray livestock because the Bureau of Land Management proclaimed the area free of wild horses in 1986.
Bob Conrad is publisher, editor and co-founder of This Is Reno. He has served in communications positions for various state agencies and earned a doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2011. In addition to managing This Is Reno, he holds a part-time appointment for the Mineral County University of Nevada Extension office.