In defiance of the both NM Governor Bill Richardson and the New Mexico Game Commission, the Department of Game and Fish unilaterally declared that coyote trapping in the Mexican wolf recovery area would continue.
On July 28, Governor Bill Richardson issued an executive order that prohibits leghold and body-crushing traps within the Mexican wolf recovery area in New Mexico to protect imperiled wolves. The order bans commercial and recreational trapping in this area by private persons for a six-month period beginning on November 1, 2010; requires the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish to undertake a study to see if traps harm wolves; and directs the Department of Tourism to undertake a study on potential economic benefits of lobo-related ecotourism.
On October 28, the Game Commission unanimously adopted the Governor’s Executive Order as part of its regulations. But the NM Game and Fish has taken the position that coyote trapping will not be banned, because the agency has “no authority” to regulate coyotes.
This is absurd. While the NMDGF and the Commission have chosen not to set bag limits or seasons on coyotes, it does not follow that the state lacks “authority” to do so—in fact, state law give the agency and commission broad discretion over wildlife management.
What you can do
Please take a moment to contact Tod Stevenson, Director, NM Dept. of Game and Fish at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell him you are disappointed in the Department’s position on this matter, and urge him to include a ban on coyote trapping as part of the temporary trap ban in the Gila National Forest to protect highly endangered Mexican wolves. (And please let us know you did it by sending a quick email to email@example.com. Thanks!)
Thanks to the Southwest Environmental Center for this action alert!
Photo credit: Mexican gray wolf courtesy of Trisha Shears