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Press Release: Game and Fish Department Enlarges Trapping Across New Mexico

WildEarth Guardians-No Mitigations for Endangered Mexican Wolves, Special Lands now Open Season, and Groups’ Trap Ban Request Tossed Aside. July 18, 2011 (posted July 19, 2011)

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Contacts:
Wendy Keefover | WildEarth Guardians | 505.988.9126, Ext. 1162

Santa Fe, NM. After years of waiting for the Game Commission to address trapping regulations, and a request to consider a ban on traps on public lands, the Game Commission will hold its public meeting on trapping regulations on Thursday, July 21st in remotely-situated Clayton, New Mexico.  

The Game and Fish Department only reluctantly added a citizen's alternative to prohibit traps on public land for the Commission to consider.  It came in response to several thousand public comments in support of the ban.  The Department signaled, however, to both the Commission and the public that it opposes the trapping-ban alternative.

“The Department of Game and Fish has monkey-wrenched the public’s process every step of the way,” stated Wendy Keefover of WildEarth Guardians. “First, it placed the public hearing on a weekday in a remote corner of the State so that it could reduce public attendance. Then the Agency encouraged the Commission to allow even more trapping with even less oversight.”

In June, WildEarth Guardians, the Sierra Club, and Animal Protection of New Mexico requested that the Game Commission consider a trapping ban on New Mexico’s public lands.  Instead of heeding the growing support for the ban, the wildlife agency recommended that:

1. The trapping ban in the Mexican gray wolf recovery area be lifted despite the fact that 14 highly-endangered Mexican Wolves have been trapped since 2002. Two wolves required full-leg amputations, while others lost digits.

2. Trapping be expanded year-round on other special lands, which previously enjoyed trapping prohibitions. Those areas include portions of the Wild Rivers Recreation Area of the Rio Grande, the Valle Vidal, a portion of the Vermejo Ranch, and the Valles Caldera National Preserve. 

3. That Wildlife Management Areas be opened to trapping at the discretion of the Director of the Game and Fish Department.

In an effort to expand public support for a trap ban, the groups have formed a coalition called “TrapFreeNM.org.” With its network of petition gatherers and using social and electronic media, the coalition has generated well over 7,000 signatures, emails, and letters to the Game Commission in support of the trap ban.

“Despite all of our work, we anticipate a detrimental outcome by the Game Commission on Thursday for the wildlife, people, and pets of New Mexico. Game and Fish has stymied the public' process, and the Game Commission, appointees of the Governor, ignore the will of the people.  It's an ugly thing to witness,” she added.  

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View the Groups’ Request to Ban Traps  
 
Gov. Richardson Issues Executive Order: Traps Banned in Lobo Country 
 
NM Game and Fish Defied Gov. Richardson & Game Commission’s Unanimous Order

WildEarth Guardians et al. Request that USFS and USFWS Issue Emergency Trap Bans in Lobo Country
 
View Groups’ 2009 Request to the Game Commission to Open Rules Re: Trapped Animals

Photo credit: leg trap courtesy of Mary Katherine Ray