Monday, Sept. 3, 2012 | 2 a.m.
RENO — Federal officials have approved a management plan for the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northwestern Nevada that calls for the removal of all wild horses and burros from it within five years.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials say the move is being made because the animals have a negative effect on habitat, and the refuge was created for pronghorn antelope and other native wildlife.
Horse advocates sharply criticize the refuge's comprehensive conservation plan, which will guide its management over the next 15 years.
They say horses and burros lived in the area long before the refuge was created in 1931.
Sheldon officials say an aerial survey in July showed the 575,000-acre refuge along the Oregon border is home to at least 2,508 antelope, 973 mustangs and 182 wild burros.