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Press Release: WildEarth Guardians Files Suit to End Trapping in Lobo Country

New Mexico Trapping Regulations Violate the Endangered Species Act, February 7, 2012 (posted 02/08/12)

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Contact: Wendy Keefover (505) 988-9162 x1162

Santa Fe, NM. WildEarth Guardians filed a lawsuit today against the State of New Mexico for killing and injuring wolves listed as “threatened” under the Endangered Species Act. The state permits trapping in the Mexican gray wolf recovery area, but the Act prohibits trapping of protected species. Yet, cruel, indiscriminate traps set in the Mexican gray wolf recovery area have harmed over a dozen wolves.

“The State of New Mexico has repeatedly failed to safeguard lobos from trapping,” stated John Horning, Executive Director of WildEarth Guardians. He added, “The majority of New Mexicans polled want to both see wolves conserved and cruel trapping abolished.”

Traps have injured or killed 14 Mexican gray wolves (in 15 separate incidents) since 2002. Two wolves died. Two had entire limbs amputated. One endured a partial foot amputation. Traps may have harmed even more wolves. Some of the dozens of illegally-dispatched lobos have simply vanished.

New Mexico allows both regulated trapping of “furbearers” during set seasons (details included below) as well as unregulated, year-round trapping of coyotes and skunks. WildEarth Guardians lawsuit alleges that both types of trapping are illegal because the State of New Mexico has not exercised “due care” to prevent harm wolves as required by the Endangered Species Act.

Wolves captured in body-gripping traps endure physiological and psychological trauma, dehydration, and exposure. Trapped wolves sustain tissue damage and other injuries that reduce their fitness and chance for continued existence. Further, adult wolves provision their pups for months after birth. Those harmed or killed by traps and snares cannot adequately feed and nurture their pups.

“Wolves kill swift-moving, wild prey after giving prolonged chase. Wolves require mobility for their very survival,” stated Horning. “They can’t survive or provision for their young if their bodies are damaged.”
“Mexican wolves need room to roam in their native habitat without the danger of indiscriminant traps and snares,” declared Horning. “New Mexico must safeguard lobos, and eliminating traps is the first step.”

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Read more about trapping in Lobo country here.