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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- The Navajo Nation and a group founded by former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and actor Robert Redford have agreed on a plan to manage thousands of wild horses on the reservation.

Richardson said the agreement is a first step in trying to find a long-term, humane alternative to sending horses to slaughter houses.

The agreement announced Thursday calls for adoptions, triages, veterinarian services and sanctuaries. A formal signing is planned later this year.

Navajo officials said wild horses have been drinking wells dry and causing ecological damage to the drought-stricken range.

Tribal President Ben Shelly has said the land and the animals must be managed responsibly.

Richardson and Redford created the Foundation to Protect New Mexico Wildlife last year to fight efforts by a Roswell, N.M., company and others to slaughter horses.

Associated Press,

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