WildEarth Guardians

A Force for Nature

Select Page

Current work in wildlife, rivers, public lands, and climate

Press Releases

Conservation Groups Ask New Mexico Game Commission to Oppose Cougar Trapping Proposal

Date
May 1, 2015
Contact
Bethany Cotton (503) 327-4923
In This Release
Climate + Energy

Friday, May 1, 2015
Conservation Groups Ask New Mexico Game Commission to Oppose Cougar Trapping Proposal

Trapping Plan Would Increase Cruelty, Put Other Wildlife, Pets at Risk
Contact: Bethany Cotton (503) 327-4923

Additional Contacts:
Contacts: Mary Katherine Ray, (575) 772-5655, mkrscrim@gmail.com
Phil Carter, (505) 967-5297,phil@apnm.org
Michael Robinson, (575) 313-7017, michaelr@biologicaldiversity.org
Kevin Bixby, (575) 649-7260,kevin@wildmesquite.org
Judy Paulsen, (505) 899-3245,jpaulsen@projectcoyote.org


SILVER CITY, N.M.—Eight conservation organizations in the TrapFree New Mexico coalition sent a letter today urgingstate game commissioners to reject the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish’sproposed cougar trapping season. The coalition letter highlights the dangerstraps pose to outdoor enthusiasts, nontarget animals and pets like the dogcaught in a trap lastmonth in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.

Owners of accidentally trapped pets can face extensiveveterinary expenses and risk injury rescuing their own dogs. Dogs that aid withsearch and rescue, livestock protection, hunting and herding are all vulnerableto being trapped by these archaic and painful devices.

“Allowing traps for cougars in addition to all thetraps that are now allowed to be scattered across public land for other specieswould be irresponsible,” said Mary Katherine Ray, wildlife chair for the RioGrande Chapter of the Sierra Club, who has direct experience encountering trapson public land. “Not only would recreationists face the danger of even moretraps, but cougar traps would be larger and more damaging to non-target animalsincluding hiker’s dogs.”

Last year the New Mexico Game Commission increasedthe cougar bag limit to two, and cougars can now be hunted year round, yet theDepartment of Game and Fish wants to increase cougar killing even further. Theagency is set to review its cougar policies in the coming months, a review that’srequired for all big-game species management practices every four years. Theproposal to allow cougar trapping in addition to the generous hunting alreadyin place is especially irresponsible since New Mexico does not scientificallyknow the state of its cougar population.

“Trapping is an incredibly cruel, archaic practiceposing unreasonable risk to imperiled wildlife, people and companion animalsbecause traps do not discriminate among species,” said Bethany Cotton, wildlifeprogram director for WildEarth Guardians. “New Mexico already bears the shameof being amongst the worst states in allowing cruelty on our public lands;expanding trapping further would be unconscionable.”

Phil Carter, wildlife campaign manager for AnimalProtection of New Mexico, said: “Moreover, trapping is not like hunting. It isnot possible to identify the target before the trap slams shut — the trapperisn’t even present. Trapping isn’t fair chase and traps are undeniably cruel inthe injury and stress they inflict on wildlife.”

“Cougars will regulate their own numbers,” saidMichael Robinson, a conservation advocate at the Center for BiologicalDiversity. “Adult cougars keep their own populations in check by defendingterritory and keeping out other cougars who try to trespass.”

“Killing too many cougars casts their socialstructure into disarray, which can lead to an influx of juvenile males lookingto establish territories and potentially result in more conflict with peopleand livestock,” added Kevin Bixby, executive director of the SouthwestEnvironmental Center.

Judy Paulsen, New Mexico representative for ProjectCoyote, said, “Killing even more cougars especially using brutal andindiscriminate traps would turn New Mexico in the wrong direction.” Texas is currentlythe only state in the nation that allows recreational cougar trapping.

Trapping is very unpopular with the public atlarge. A 2005 poll found that New Mexican voters oppose traps on public land bya 3:1 margin. A bill to prohibit both traps and poisons on public land was preventedfrom progressing by legislators protecting livestock and hunting interests inthe most recent legislative session.

The State Game Commission will begin consideringthe cougar trapping proposal at the May 7 meeting in Farmington at the civiccenter, which begins at 9 a.m.

The Department of Game and Fish will host fivepublic meetings on the proposal:

  • Las Cruces: 6 p.m. May 4, New Mexico Department of Game andFish, Southwest Area Office, 2715 Northrise Drive, Las Cruces.
  • Albuquerque: 6 p.m. May 5, New Mexico Department of Game and Fish,Northwest Area Office, 3841 Midway Place NE, Albuquerque.
  • Ruidoso: 6 p.m. May 27, U.S. Forest Service FireControl Bldg., 901 Mechem Drive, Ruidoso.
  • Silver City: 6.p.m. May 28, Grant County Administration Center, CountyCommissioner Meeting Room, 1400 Highway 180 East, Silver City.
  • Raton: 6 p.m. June 1, New Mexico Department of Game andFish, Northeast Area Office, 215 York Canyon Road, Raton.

The public is urged to attend these meetings andspeak against cougar trapping.

Other Contact
SILVER CITY, N.M.— Eight conservation organizations in the TrapFree New Mexico coalition sent a letter today urging state game commissioners to reject the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish's proposed cougar trapping season. The coalition letter highlights the dangers traps pose to outdoor enthusiasts, nontarget animals and pets like the dog caught in a trap last month in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains.
Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the site!