By Rene Romo
LAS CRUCES — Two conservation organizations are crying foul over the state Game and Fish Department’s decision to allow coyote trapping in the Gila and Apache national forests in southwest New Mexico during a six-month ban on trapping the governor ordered in those areas.
Representatives of WildEarth Guardians and the Sierra Club, in a prepared statement issued Tuesday, said the Game and Fish Department is defying Gov. Bill Richardson’s executive order issued in July to halt trapping in New Mexico’s portion of federal forests where endangered Mexican gray wolves roam.
The Game Commission adopted Richardson’s executive order on Oct. 28, but in a press release this week the Game and Fish Department said trapping of coyotes could continue.
“The Game and Fish crew are running totally amok,” said Wendy Keefover-Ring of WildEarth Guardians. “The state’s laws clearly give Game and Fish regulatory authority of coyotes and over trapping regulations. Their actions are defiant and subordinate the governor, the Game Commission and the people.”
Game and Fish Department staff did not respond to requests for comment about the apparent conflict.
In a brief statement, Richardson spokesman Gilbert Gallegos said, “The governor’s intent was clear: He wanted to ban all trapping in the affected public areas.”
Richardson’s office did not respond to a question asking whether the governor would respond to the coyote-trapping exemption.
Richardson’s executive order noted that “traps and snares do not discriminate between Mexican gray wolves and the game animals intended to be taken.” In the last eight years, there have been as many as nine cases in which Mexican gray wolves were trapped in the New Mexico portion of the wolf recovery area. Five lobos suffered injuries, including two wolves that each had to have a leg amputated.
Read the full article, published in the Albuquerque Journal on November 12, 2010, and post a comment here (non-subscribers can scroll down and use the free trial button).
Please submit a letter to the editor calling on the NM Game and Fish Department to enact the full ban, including on coyote trapping, and supporting a permanent ban on trapping in the Mexican gray wolf recovery area: firstname.lastname@example.org
Letters can also be submitted to the Santa Fe New Mexican, which ran a similar story on November 12, 2010.
Additional information can be found here.
Photo credit: Mexican gray wolf Interagency Field Team